Living in Europe through Brexit

There are several million Brits living in Europe right now who are probably having a similar experience to me on Brexit. This permanent state of indecision results in a steady stream of questions, jokes and discussions in which there are actually no right answers. Did I vote for Brexit? What is going to happen next? Am I worried about my residency? I have even had a few journalists phone me to talk and when I said that I am only mildly concerned about the direct impact on my situation I was asked by one German paper if I knew anyone else who is more worried as this would fit the angle of the article better… clearly I’m not dramatic enough!

To answer the question though, I didn’t get to vote for Brexit, like many Brits in europe my postal voting papers didn’t arrive. I probably wouldn’t have voted for Brexit though but in the end I didn’t have to make up my mind. And I have no idea what will happen next, but I am not too worried on a personal level.

It is certainly odd being in Frankfurt of all places. Germany is clearly the most economically healthy country in Europe and Frankfurt of all places most likely to benefit from Brexit. In fact, I feel just a tad guilty that I can already see the positive impact of Brexit on the city in terms of new jobs, development and opportunities.

Looking at the headlines this morning though is frustrating though. I was half hoping that the EU would reject the request for an extension on Brexit and insist on an in/out decision. Either cancel Brexit or take a no-deal Brexit. At least we would have had an end to the issue and can move forward. But no, not only is there an extension of two weeks, but at the end of two weeks all of the options are back on the table: Brexit with or without a deal, no Brexit, or a longer extension. It feels like this is going on forever!

And inside the UK there are still discussions about whether to vote again, let parliament revoke Brexit or renegotiate a deal that everyone will get behind. Truth is that there is probably no possibility of a deal that gets a majority support in the UK and is also acceptable to the rest Europe.

People can say what they like about Theresa May and her policies, but at least she is sticking to her job rather than giving up like many others have. She has also been pretty consistent (which is rare for a politician these days) about what she needs to do (execute Brexit) in the face of constant abuse. Generally though, British citizens have been let down by the entire political class in this process.

I don’t think anyone really knows whether Brexit could have worked well or not. Predicting the potential outcomes and consequences is so complex that no one can credibly say that they know what could have happened. Which is why a public vote was never really a good idea. Right now though what is needed is for parliament to show some bravery and make the difficult choice to cancel Brexit. It could be political suicide for whoever backs this and could also end up destroying their party but the careers of politicians shouldn’t be more important than the best result for country. If Brexit can’t be made to work well for Britain, then it should be stopped before it is too late. No one voted for Brexit at any cost.


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