I ‘umm’ed for ages about hitting publish on this, as I really didn’t want this blog to be about feelings OR politics, but I’ve decided that I’m going to make an exception with this one, as the consequences of Brexit are a biggie. Any moment now, with a bit of luck a decision may FINALLY be made on Brexit. It’s been a long couple of years and sadly it’s not final yet.
-[ Published 11th March 2019 ]-
Brexit Blogging on The Consequences of Brexit: How Brexit Has Affected Me
I really wanted to leave politics out of my blog and in general, I would say that it is a wise thing to do on the most part. However, you won’t stop hearing about Brexit just because I didn’t write about it, so it’s time to break some sort of silence. As time goes on, I realise that Brexit has been a massive part of my life over the past couple of years, as it has with thousands and thousands of other people.
With only weeks away from Brexit being a reality and still no-deal, I want to vent my upset as it’s honestly kept me awake for waaaay too many nights, I’ve already broken down in tears over literally everything also far too many times. I’ve lost count over the past 2 years.
One thing I want to get absolutely clear before I begin and the one thing that made me feel it was necessary to write this is this:
Don’t tell foreigners how they should feel about Brexit.
Please, just stop.
Whether you are a foreigner in the UK currently, about to move there, planned to move there or a UK citizen in a similar situation abroad, you have the right to be upset about Brexit. I am one of those people upset just like you and I’m going to tell you why from my perspective.
First things first:
What Is Brexit?
Brexit – meaning ‘British Exit’, refers to the process of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. A historic vote was held in June 2016 giving the British people the chance to decide to leave the EU. Both campaigns were controversial and in the end, the vote was: leave the EU = 51.9% and to remain in the EU 48.1%. As a result, the country was divided. We were due to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019 – but still, there is no solid leaving process in place, even though it’s only 19 days away, sparking panic.
The Consequences of Brexit: Why Is the UK Leaving the EU a Big Deal?
In short: For people who aren’t in Europe, or don’t know much about the EU, it’s basically a collective of countries within Europe. It means that citizens of all of these countries have the freedom to travel, move and work abroad. The countries have the freedom to trade with minimal issues and excessive customs. We all have collective EU laws and have a European Court of Human Rights. Many countries have the same currency. The countries come together in the EU parliaments to pass laws and try and agree on policy for global issues, such as climate change. The cracks have started to show in the EU though, as it’s far from perfect and many people are angry.
Leaving the EU is a huge historical decision as all citizens lose their rights. This makes things extremely complicated as many people have migrated to the UK and vice versa. Businesses were also heavily affected, especially smaller businesses would have to shut down due to extra tariffs and longer trading times. Bigger businesses also decided to pull the plug on the UK and moved to an EU country as it was much cheaper, which resulted in many job losses. In short, it’s a huge decision that the UK was not prepared for beforehand and there has been anger on both sides.
As a Brit in the Netherlands, what’re my thoughts on the consequences of Brexit?
People Were Not Allowed to Be Heard
Many people don’t know that once you leave the UK for 15 years or more you are NOT allowed to vote in your own country. For some things, you can say fair enough, but when it comes to voting on your rights to remain in your host country you absolutely SHOULD be allowed to do so. Over 60% of the estimated 4.9 million British people that were living abroad couldn’t vote in that EU referendum. 60!? And that’s just Brits alone – that’s not to mention the thousands and thousands of people who moved to the UK from EU countries and were not allowed to vote for their fate too.
The consequences of Brexit: Leaving the EU Is Not Going to Make Our Poorest Richer
After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? ALL that money going to the EU and ‘foreigners’ and not our own citizens. The fact of the matter is that it won’t happen. The government will control all the money and that doesn’t mean they will spend it the same. After all, why would (for example) Cornish and Welsh farmers need EU funding if the government gave it to them anyway? Why would small and forgotten towns in the depths of Cornwall or Wales EVER be given funding by our government? Would they put more funding into homelessness and the NHS? Because they don’t, they haven’t and they likely won’t match it once we leave.
If you can’t trust the government with Brexit, how on earth are you going to trust them with every single bit of our money? Serious question BTW.
The Consequences of Brexit: Stereotypes Have Taken over the Debate
So much hate and severe stereotyping has come out of all of this. All ‘Remainers’ are lefty snowflakes, who are rich and entitled. All ‘Brexiteers’ are racist, uneducated and overly-patriotic. The foreigners are leeching off the state and making us poorer. All expats are rich pensioners who live in Spain.
I have lost count of the number of times I have come across someone, whether that be a friend in a local pub at home, a family friend or even an actual family member who has run into me and suddenly realised, oh yeah, you live abroad. “Oh no, but it’s okay because people like you will be okay.” Excuse me? What? OPEN YOUR EYES – it affects us all. It’s almost like I’m completely exempt because I’m a ‘good foreigner’ in their eyes. How can you not see why that makes me angry? It doesn’t just make me angry because of me, it’s because nowadays most of my friends are foreign too. Normal, wonderful people, who should not be ostracised like this.
The Consequences of Brexit: People Are Upset and Let Them Be
There is literally nothing worse than someone completely unaffected by Brexit, telling you that ‘you have nothing to worry about’ and to ‘chill out, it will all blow over.’ It actually makes me seeth and get angry because it’s completely disregarding the fact that it will affect us, does affect us and we have lived for years with uncertainty.
You have the right to vote for whatever you want, you have the right to vote to leave the EU, I do not dispute that the EU is not perfect and has a lot of issues. However, do not tell foreigners how we should feel about Brexit when it directly affects us above all. I wish that some Brexit voters were more aware of this. I’m not going to call you out for voting Brexit, I’m not going to hate on you, I haven’t got the energy these days, but if I’m jumping down your throat then ask yourselves why I’m doing so (E.g. You’ve saying throw-away and ignorant comments about our lives that you know nothing about).
Please Understand for Almost 2 Years We Have Lived in Uncertainty… and It’s Horrible
I really don’t want to make it personal but literally just the other day I was on the phone to one of my closest family members (I don’t want to say who, I want to avoid the ultimate bitchiness). Anyway, I needed to talk about my worries. I said me and my partner were a bit lost, we didn’t know what to do about our driving licences and what to do about all our official documents (do we change them to Dutch ones, who knew!?), money was an issue, uncertainty was an issue. I was just upset in general and one of them replied:
“Oh well, that’s just life.”
Excuse me? I hung up because I knew I would fly off the handle or just cry. I just wanted a normal conversation and I’d had a bad day and was worrying. How can people be like that!? Like, I generally can’t believe Brexit has caused such a divide that you can’t be nice to people any more.
“Just life” is when you get ill unexpectedly, “just life” is when you fail a test you wanted to pass, “just life” is when a relationship just didn’t work out, “just life” is not ‘I voted and it’s likely going to affect your future for years.” Yes, life doesn’t go your way, yes politics bites you in the damn ass and bites over and over again (I have a lot to learn), but to say that to someone close to you who is upset and alone abroad is just cruel. Go ahead and vote Brexit, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon supporting me when I’m worried about it too. The conseqences of Brexit ARE damaging right now.
The consequences of Brexit: Brexit Is Going to Take Time to Heal
It feels like you’re not allowed to say to your friends and family that you feel sad and stressed, because ‘we’re all on 2 sides of the fence now.’ That’s honestly what it feels like. That’s when we start getting angry. Please realise that this is the exact reason that some of us do get angry when that was never the intention in the first place. Please actually realise that this is actually affecting our lives and this is why we are angry/upset.
And please, when and if things get heated just leave politics out of it for a second and hug your family or friend. Let us be sad, let us be angry and help us through this, it’s obviously going to be more of a touchy subject for us than it would be for you.
* I imagine at least someone would read this and think oh ‘what a snowflake *shudders* middle-class whiny millennial who wants everything’. If that’s you, I don’t have the patience to write anything on that as you couldn’t be more wrong. That’s all.
The consequences of Brexit in a nutshell: Brexit has been a monumental mess.