Friday, January 6, 2017

Brexit and EU citizens

6 months ago, in the EU Referendum, 27% of the British population voted to leave the EU (that's a clear democratic mandate, don't you know?!). Following the events I blogged this.
How have things changed now?

The answer is, they haven't.
The nation is still divided. People are still angry. The government and Prime Minister still have not come up with any, I mean ANY, Brexit plan.

And for us EU citizens, who are already settled in Britain?
We have not been given any guarantees for our future here. On the contrary, we now have to jump through hoops to prove that we have the legal right to permanent residence, which includes meeting criteria which nobody ever knew existed. I read daily stories from people with British spouses and British children, who suddenly (sometimes after decades of living here) find that they don't have the right to permanent residence. Not that it matters, really, because the right to permanent residence (even if we have it) can be taken away from us anyway.

If I have learned anything, it's that it doesn't matter who you are, what you do, or how well you fit into society - the government can do with you what they like! It breaks my heart.

As for myself, I applied for my permanent residence card in October and I am still waiting. Having worked continually for the same employer for 25 years, I am quietly hopeful, but we shall see...
In the meantime (for an estimated 4-6 months) I am without my passport and unable to visit my family in Germany.

My new year's plan was to lay off Twitter in order to try and gain some equilibrium and peace. I have done that, and it helps not to be shouting my anger into the void every minute of the day.
But my anger is still there. It has not lessened.
Every day I hear from the media and the politicians that I am an outsider, a minority, and part of the problem - a problem they have yet to decide how to deal with.

The truth is, I have never seen myself as a minority. I always thought of myself as simply a member of British society. So I am learning to understand the sense of insecurity, anxiety and defensiveness that comes with being a minority. I am learning that well-meant platitudes by friends are not reassuring, but patronising. I am learning that - after months of having been told so - I am starting to feel that I don't belong and that I am not part of the British people at all.
It hurts and it worries me for my future here with my husband and grown-up children, but Britain no longer feels like home.

I am holding on to my daily routines as much as possible. I value friends, family and colleagues. I focus on the practical. I focus on my interests and hobbies - singing, running, knitting and reading.
But increasingly the thought creeps into my head what it would be like to move back to Germany. And if Germany could become home again, now Britain no longer is...

For any knitting Europhiles out there, here is the link to my FREE EU beanie pattern.

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