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Brexit - your vote and why?


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#796 dorfmouse

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 23:23

A heartfelt "Hear, hear!" Aquarelle. x
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#797 mel2

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 00:03

I have a problem reconciling your last paragraph with your first, Aquarelle, when you appear to speak directly to me. Had there been any way to voice a thought on a general point without it being construed as a personal attack, then despite my best efforts I did not manage it. (That's what 'it's not all about you' was about)

No, I have not tried living in a European country. It has never been a possibility because my life has not turned out that way, and I would have expected administrative and procedural hurdles, had I done so. (I'm not sure why suggesting that to live and work abroad is a choice, is being 'dismissive', but will accept that this is the new reality.) And despite the way it was expressed, it was interesting at last to have an explanation from tortellini about the actual problems encountered by UK citizens living abroad. This is not to say I don't have sympathy for those who find themselves in an uncertain position because of Brexit, but I don't expect to be believed, and so this is where I leave the discussion and follow current events elsewhere.
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#798 elemimele

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Posted 26 November 2019 - 23:00

Many years ago, I lived in Germany. I tried very hard to blend in, to learn to be German. I learnt the language, as best I could. I fell in love (unsuccessfully), I embedded myself in the place as best I could, and failed completely because I'm not German, and never will be. Then, one day, after the German love of my life had bogged off to New Zealand, and when I was particularly feeling my root-less-ness, I read a German children's book. I think half of me was trying to find out what I might have been had I had a German childhood to give me roots. It was a book about a family of printers around the early 18th C I'm guessing, a german family of printers. The book was mostly about the children, but there was a minor character, an Englishman who'd joined the family to bring a particular printing skill.

Suddenly I realised that there have been people living and working abroad for centuries. People who belong to the culture in which they now work, but also to the culture from which they came. They belong in Germany, while being English. It was a heart-turning moment for me, because I suddenly found my place and could be happy.

This is a music forum. Let's look at a couple of my favourite recorder composers. Galliard was born in Celle (Germany) of French parents; he learned his trade from Jean-Baptiste Farinel and Agostino Steffani (Italian), and his patron was the Duke of Brunswick, who married Eleonore, a woman of French Huguenot extraction, who brought French and Italian influences to the Duke's court. Galliard himself landed up in London, in the band of Queen Anne, which had been set up by her consort, Prince George of Denmark. In fact Galliard was part of a flood of talent into England at the time. Barsanti, another of my all-time favourites, was an Italian who spent nearly all his life in England, but toured as far as Scotland and Ireland, and the low-countries, and married a Scott. Barsanti never lost his Italian character, but he enriched the UK heartily, and is a stitch in the fabric of the world, a stitch linking Italy and Scotland in their common humanity.

The world has always needed people who travel and work abroad. They have brought skills, culture, and enriched where they've landed.

In fact it's true outside music too. My own city made its wealth from the textile industry, but was in decline by the mid 16th C. A far-sighted mayor sought permission to import families of "Strangers", Flemish weavers, to bring new skills and strengthen the industry. At one stage they're reckoned to have numbered somewhere between a quarter and a third of residents in the city. And yet they made the city one of the largest in England for some centuries, by their hard work and skill, and their culture is our culture to this day.

People in many lines of work (music, medical research, and many others) look at this perceived need to take back control of our borders with blank incomprehension; they work in businesses where it makes no sense whatsoever to think in terms of one country. Agricultural pests that threaten the Netherlands inevitably threaten the UK. Diseases that are creeping into Southern Europe will get here soon; these threats need concerted action and cooperation, and knowledge of what other countries are doing about them. We cannot understand why our Government has a problem with us learning skills in the US, or employing a very bright Italian. If a Chinese person wants to come here, pay taxes, and work through the Christmas holiday on a cure for a particularly nasty kidney disease, what conceivable benefit is there in making his life difficult?

Many of us already belong to a global world. It doesn't mean we don't care about the UK. But we see a need to work together, not peer with suspicion across the channel. We see, every day, the growing difficulties of recruiting from abroad (quite simply, skilled Europeans don't really want to come to the UK any more, because it's all a bit uncertain what they might have to do in the future; given the choice, they'll go somewhere where things are more clear). We see people who we've worked with for years, finally giving in and deciding it's too hard, or they're too uncertain about the future - clever people, friends, leaving. We see how often we have to buy resources from abroad, and how quickly we can get things - and we wonder how easy it's going to be in the future. Some of us are buying quite specialised items (every tried to buy radioisotopes?) and we're not even sure it will be possible. We know how hard it can be where there is no regulatory agreement - we've got friends in other countries who wait several months for simple things that we can get on an overnight delivery from Germany. We know European politicians are rubbish. We know the EU wastes cash. We also suspect half the Westminster politicians are about as useful as a bunch of rubber bananas, and we'd trust them with money rather less than we'd trust a dog with a sausage. But we know that our counterparts in Europe are actually very similar to us, and we need them. Europe, to us, is not about Junker and the rest; they're the sludge on the top, but it's what's going on underneath that makes the whole thing worthwhile.

For some of us, we look at our kids' friends at school; an African boy, a couple of Polish girls, a few English kids, a nice Portuguese family, and someone from the Philippines, and to be honest, we're downright embarrassed about Brexit. Because our kids' friends' parents are the people we see every day, who are working hard just as we are, paying taxes as we are, and who are actually decent people. And they're hurt by us. And we're hurt too.

So to go back to the start again: yes, I worked in Germany. I expected procedural hurdles. I had to go and register that I was working. I had to get my Polizeilichefuehrungszeugnis. I had to sort out how to register for tax and all that sort of stuff. At the time I'd only just got my first proper job, so I had barely a penny to my name, and I wasn't going to be paid a fortune for my job, either. I could do all this stuff because Germany hardly charged me a penny for doing it, and registering that I was working was only a matter of queuing 10 minutes at a counter. There was another counter for work-permits for those outside the EU. It was only open one morning per month, and the queue for that counter would take you many, many hours. If you want to see what it's like for people who come to the UK from outside Europe, pop along to Croydon at six in the morning, some day, and queue with them under Lunar house - don't drink too much tea before you start queuing, the toilets probably won't be working. It may have improved since I last did it...

There is more to Europe than a balance-sheet.


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#799 Arundodonuts

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 10:53

I completely agree elemimele. It's worth bearing in mind that borders are transitory things anyway.


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#800 ejw21

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 12:39

Elemimele, what an interesting post! Thank you for sharing.


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#801 Aquarelle

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 14:21

Thank you very much indeed elemimele for your post which encapsules exactly many of the things I have tried to say and which you have expressed so much better than I. You have gone straight  the heart of things with a great deal of careful explaining and real humanity. Yes, living and working together is what it is all about and yes, we must look under the sludge and find what really matters. Your last sentence sums it all up.  You have brought a real breath of fresh air into the thread, into my day - and I am sure that of others. 


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#802 Celloma

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 20:17

What a wonderful post Elemimele. It sums up my feelings exactly - although I would not have have been able to express them nearly as well. I also agree with Aquarelle that your words brought fresh air into the thread - and also to my day. Thank you. 


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#803 thara96

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 07:36

Thank you for this Elemimele! Spot on in my opinion. 


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#804 fsharpminor

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:01

It is utterly ridiculous to leave the EU. I hope it all falls apart and we stay in . 


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#805 Norway

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:13

Is anyone else planning on moving to Scotland if they become independent in order to stay in the EU, cos I am! And if there's a citzenship exam, I'll play the bagpipes for it!


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#806 Arundodonuts

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 14:57

Will the oboe do?


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#807 Norway

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 15:08

Not sure. Best ask Nicola Sturgeon! Or can you make a decent Dundee Cake?


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#808 Crock

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 17:30

Is anyone else planning on moving to Scotland if they become independent in order to stay in the EU, cos I am! And if there's a citzenship exam, I'll play the bagpipes for it!

 

Yes, my father was Scottish, I love the country and if I play my cards right with early retirement I'll be off North...


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