to the Brexpat Blog, where I write about my thoughts on Brexit with the unique insight of a British expat living at the heart of the EU, in Berlin. A lot has been written about us but not so much by us, so in the posts below I’ll explain what Brexit means to me as it unfolds – both with a look back to developments in the UK, and at its consequences abroad.
Don’t expect technical essays on the intricacies of UK or EU policy and the like. Do expect informed opinion from myself and other contributors across a variety of Brexit (and Brexpat!)-related themes. Whatever your point of view, I hope you enjoy reading the Brexpat Blog.
I’ve got an unorthodox opinion for a Remainer… or a Remoaner. I think Theresa May deserves more credit than she gets, and now is the time to give it to her. She has taken on a prospect, full of ‘hard facts’ as she put it, that few others were prepared to face: but now she needs to both demonstrate and be afforded the strength and stability to find and achieve the best possible Brexit for all parties – including, but not limited to, her own.
Having lived here for six years, one thing I’ve noticed is that your average German – or at least your average Berliner – is unlikely to hold back from giving you their opinion, especially if it’s different from yours. So now that a lot of them have started paying an unexpected interest in Brexit again and coming out with surprising statements like “I don’t think it will happen”, I thought it was worth a look at what lies behind this typically confident assertion. Continue reading “I told EU so…”
As Brexit drags on, I was pleased to see young people from across Europe gather in Berlin to take a more proactive approach to getting the EU back on track. And at the same time, the new #KeepFOM campaign by British in Germany is exploiting the lack of decision to continue pressing for a better deal. Continue reading “Nothing is fixed, so let’s fix Europe”
Not for the first time, there’s talk of a second referendum. But now it’s not just idle gossip about whether we should have one – polls show there’s been such a net shift that the UK would probably now vote to stay in the EU. How does that reflect on the progress of Brexit so far? Badly. Should we hold a rerun of the referendum? No, and here’s why.
A week after Easter seems like it could just still be in time for a resurrection, so the Brexpat Blog is back. It’s been a busy few months during which house moves, job changes, and no working keyboard have all taken their toll on my ability to keep these posts coming. So with a new job, a new base, and a new computer (Oooh, what’s an ’Apple key’?) – why not throw a new nationality into the mix?
Winter is very grey in Berlin, when leaden skies blend almost seamlessly through sleet, snow, and concrete tower blocks into asphalt and flagstones – and frequently into people’s moods. The unusual prospect of a bit Caribbean colour livened up a lot of conversations for a while through October and November– but even that exotic prospect has now disappeared into the gloom that envelopes the city in the early evening at this time of year.
Being a Brexpat at the moment seems to share similarities with one of my other questionable life choices – being a Newcastle United fan. You go up, you go down, you go round and round and round, you rely heavily on a lot of Europeans far more than your limited domestic assets, and it’s all very exciting but ultimately disappointing. It’s been a funny old week for Brexit, but the announcement of a deal last Friday creates a great opportunity for me to address the next issue I wanted to. Continue reading “The Newcastle fans of Europe”
……and the barman says ‘Why did you do a silly thing like that?’ Not very funny? I didn’t think so either at the time, but everyone around us certainly did. Of course, it was a bar in Germany so stereotypes about a poor sense of humour could explain why I didn’t see the funny side of it – or of course it could be that this all happened on 24 June and I generally wasn’t feeling jokey, whereas bemused chuckling seemed to be the initial reaction from most Germans I know. Continue reading “A Brexpat walks into a bar”
I have a confession to make: I genuinely believed that those campaigning for Brexit did so because they thought it was in the country’s best interests, and that Brexit was so big that whoever won the referendum would ultimately do their best for all the people they are supposed to represent – not just insult voters’ intelligence. I was wrong. Whether you live in the UK, the EU or elsewhere, one thing remains true – Boris Johnson doesn’t have your back. Continue reading “Popular pain, personal gain”
Soundbites and slogans remain as ubiquitous in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum as they were before it. Most bear the worst hallmarks of a cliché – overworn, inaccurate, or lazy. That makes it all the more annoying to have to admit that one or two immediately summed up some of my thoughts on the state of Brexit. Yes, the UK government approached Brexit with a strategy drawn up on the back of a fag packet, then ended up fiddling while Rome burnt.
The government at times seems willing to sacrifice much of the population’s interests by design or simply by neglect, depending on who you look at. The disarray not only betrays UK citizens wherever they live, but also leaves a void where there should be leadership. The posturing, paralysis and constant infighting have taken the UK well down the road towards a calamitous Brexit, and prospects of a better outcome only just seem to be taking shape.