I'm publishing this article on 1st Feb 2020, the first day of Brexit, when the process that materialise the separation of United Kingdom from the European Union starts. Yeap, after hearing so much about it for so many months and being fed up with it so many times, the UK dreadnought-class submarine is finally sinking and submerging into deep waters, saying bye-bye to the coastal areas and getting itself into nobody knows what. And leading the submersion, in a cockpit full of hanging wires, commanding a nuclear reactor partially functioning and yet to be tested, there we have it: an eccentric captain with blonde hair, cheeky smile and hidden agendas, who has just turn on the lights of the submarine as we submerge into these unknown murky waters... and all he sees is shit
The dreadnought-class submarines are the new state of the art Continuous at-sea Deterrent (CASD) nuclear ballistic missiles toys of the Royal Navy, to be launched by 2028 with a life span of 30 years, on an ambition program of the United Kingdom to continue having a strong presence at sea, both because we are an island and partially because of a remanence of the great empire it once was. Incidentally, the agreement and budget for this project was authorised by the British Parliament in 2016, barely three months after the Brexit vote, and I can't stop thinking that both Brexit and the dreadnought-class submarine program share many things and might even have the same destiny: both are arrogant, pretending to show the big muscles of this country and moving in the opposite direction of what to my believe should be the path to mankind evolution: instead of promoting peace and pumping money into hospitals and schools, the dreadnoughts advocate a silence war with their presence, each of them will carry 6.4 megatons of nuclear firepower (4,000 times the Hiroshima bomb, meaning 4,000 cities of over 300,000 inhabitants each that can potentially be destroyed... why?), and instead of enhancing collaboration and brotherhood, Brexit encourages separation and focuses on what makes us different rather than on the common values that we share
Above: a prototype dreadnought-class submarine surfing the ocean
Below: a not-far-distance Great Britain battling Brexit-to-come waves
Will both dreadnought-class submarines and Brexit post-UK have the same fate? Sailing alone in the ocean, low and upset, ready to fart fire to whichever foreign ass country comes around? Only time will tell, and time if the first thing I'd like to talk about in this article. I arrived to the United Kingdom from Spain 23 years ago, lot of time has passed since then (something like...da...23 years haha), and I feel I can make my little contribution towards the Brexit controversy and discussions that rumbles the media nowadays, sharing my experience with you of what it is to live in the United Kingdom as an immigrant...
The death of a princess
no wait! ...immigrant? Who said that? I was never an immigrant. That word wasn't in my head at all when I arrived to England the very same week Lady Di passed away, back in September 1997. By that time, the semantic of "immigrant" was associated mostly to people from North Africa or the poorest sub Saharan countries, who had to flee their homes due to famine, drought or war, and were seeking a decent life elsewhere with their basic needs of food and sheltered covered. I already had a wonderful life in Spain, but decided to jump to other countries in the vicinity of Europe in search of adventures and to expand my horizons. Unlike "immigrants" (or that I thought, back then on my early 20s), I already had a car, and a television at home, and delicious food on my table every day, with desserts and alcohol, and all my physical needs covered in excess. I didn't need to emigrate to survive, like Spanish immigrants had to do back on the 1950s and 1960s when they emigrated to Germany or Switzerland, escaping from an underdeveloped country and the repression of a dictatorship that was to last for 40 years. Franco died when I was a toddler, and Spain had a democracy and a good life, I didn't consider myself an immigrant whatsoever, just someone who is living in a town and have decided to make a jump and live in a different town. Eventually, I was to discover that I was wrong: there is a class of citizens in this world... and then there is the scum of immigrants
Princess Diana, Lady Di, had tragically died a few days before I first landed in England, and there was a sense on condolence and indeed sympathy towards the country of the United Kingdom. My first 48 hours in this country where decisive to build a picture on my heart of Britain, that will last for many years. I started by working with an au-pair contract in a hotel, in the middle of the british countryside, on the outskirts of a village called 'London Colney' which was on the outskirts of a city called St Albans, just on the outskirts of north London, on the verge of the M25. Yeah, to UK standards you can label that pretty rural. Back in Spain, when I was a child in school, they taught us only French, and when I arrived to England I spoke absolutely zero English. In fact, a few days after my arrival, my boss put me apart in the corridor and very kindly spent quite a few minutes teaching me how to pronounce the word "Yes" correctly, because I was keep on saying "Jez", with my andalusian accent, like a broken-record. All this being very ironic when you consider that I am a yes-man. We simply don't have the sss sound in some areas of South Spain
Nevertheless, in spite of my zero conversational English and the strong hard accent that I had managing the handful of robotic sentences I knew back then, absolutely everyone was very kind and gentle to me. The hotel was full of English people, most of them on their 50s and upwards, and there was a sense of welcoming to all. I remember very well my very first day in England, one of the ladies in the kitchen, Maureen (who later on told me that her grandmother had died in the Titanic sinking), took me around the hotel, explaining everything to me, the landmarks, the history of the place, etc, for more than an hour without me understanding a single word! The concept of foreign invasion, one of the bullets of brexiteers, was nowhere to be seen.The british managers and staff of the hotel were part of a generation that had endured the post-second war world era, and they knew in their guts that collaboration was the key to success
I honestly felt that every English, Scottish and Welsh person I met was welcoming us from the bottom of their heart. There was a wide variety of nationalities on the hotel, I stayed working in there for just under a year and met people from Italy, Hungary, Check Republic, all the United Kingdom nations, Poland, France and even the small country of Malta. The feeling of seating on a table among all these nationalities and still understand what the conversation was all about is absolutely fulfilling and uplifting! Will Brexit limit the amount of nationalities that will come into this country? Will future generations be prevented from enjoying such great feeling of blending with people of totally different cultures and backgrounds, while still keeping your identity intact? Of course they will. The future looks bleak with Brexit
Mix of nationalities from left to right: Jirka from Czech Republic, me (Spanish), Jill and Fiona from St Albans, Cristina and Esther from Spain and Manny from Italian origins
Bleak and sad the country was indeed when Lady Di, princess Diana of Wales, was buried. I remember very well that day, seeing the event in the hotel, on TV, with the staff around me crying, not profusely, just a few but very deep tears, in that concealed way english people do, right from the spring of their hearts, and I became emotional too. Here they were, humble people crying for the sudden lost of a beautiful soul whose life we have all witnesses thorough the years. Will people of my country cried if the King of Spain were to died? I thought to myself. There was a sense of unity and fellowship of Europe as a whole towards England, and I did share and sympathised the pain of the loss, the pain people that I saw on this country were experiencing, people of the United Kingdom...
Power to the People
.. wait, said that again? United Kingdom? ... where the hell is that? Of course in Spain we know where the United Kingdom is, but that is the name of the country on paper, colloquially and even the media, in the news and in popular retransmissions, the country was simply known as "Inglaterra", meaning England. For many years I didn't say that I was "living in the United Kingdom", I always said I was "viviendo en Inglaterra", living in England. Even the people here didn't commonly used 'United Kingdom' to refer to their own country at all, they used to call it England too, but mostly "Britain" and on counted occasions "Great Britain", specially when Team GB became popular around the Olympics Games of 2012. What am I explaining all of this? Well, it is important to understand that the United Kingdom is a union on itself, a group of united nations, four in total as shown on the map below: Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, yet Brexit means Brexit, and the catchy combination of Brexit really means Britain + Exit.... not United Kingdom at all, otherwise.. why isn't it called ukexit? After all, leaving the European Union as the United Kingdom Union would be a valid proposal, a ukexit if you're not happy with the terms of the European Union, but instead a 'brexit' term is proposed. What does the "br" of Brexit really means? Britain or United Kingdom? Who really wants to leave?
Nah, Brexit means Brexit, and the process is called Brexit because the real meaning of Brexit is not Britain but British, the values that xenophobia hold on their rotten minds as to what Britain should be: British + Exit: we some of us superior british people are exiting this mumble jumple zoo of Europe, this club of nutters and losers, that is the real meaning behind the word 'Brexit'. Don't infest my mind, you brexiteer, saying that we are oppress by the laws and regulations made in Europe: every single bill and standard made in Europe has been previously approved and ratified by the UK, as part of its active membership of the union, so please don't tell me bullshit. Brexit is all about stopping people from coming into this country
People. Yes, I had a problem with people and big cities since my childhood. When I was about 5 years old or so I had an infection of some sort, and had to be taken to Seville for treatment, the biggest city near my hometown. I really hated Seville, the big avenues with lots of traffic, buses, street lights and beeps and beeps of cars and motorcycles, and people walking wherever you look. For at least a year, as pat of the treatment, I visited Seville on regular basis, and a deep repulse of big grey cities grew on me as a result. There is (still the year 2020) no street-lights on my hometown, not a single one, and unless special celebrations like Good Friday, almost no one in the streets, certainly not dozens of people like I found when I first stepped into St Albans... wow! St Peter's street, the main artery of St Albans, was full of people, people everywhere! I was absolutely shocked when I first visited London, so many humans beings!!! No wonder every business is flourishing, there are people for everything and for anything in this country!
The United Kingdom is so prosperous due to the amount of people that it has, I firmly believe, the more people here the better, more influx to the economy, more people using services (yes) but also more people paying taxes and spending money, oxygenating the economy. People are not coming here for holidays, that's for sure, there is no flipping sun here, people come here to learn the language and work. During my first 5 to 7 years in England I met many foreigners, mostly from Europe, and given the fact that I didn't needed a visa to work or live in the UK, in my naivety I never consider that a visa could be a problem to anyone. In these early years, I met a number of people whom had problems with visa:
- Tony, I never knew his real name, was from Poland, and back on the late 90s when I met him he was working as a chef in a pub, illegally, without any visa or papers of any kind. He was getting paid by cash, no taxes, and yet he lived in a house where he had to pay the rent, do the weekly shopping and pay for the dinner and drinks with his Spanish girl, a friend of mine he was going out with. Tony was, in summary, what a called a collateral-tax-payer: he was not paying taxes directly but indirectly by using the services in this country. He lived, however, with the constant fear of being deported or being asked for ID from the police force
- Mohamed was from Morocco, and spoke very fluent Spanish, perhaps the reason why he trusted me and shared his life adventures with my persona from the beginning. We worked in an elderly residence, and while he was cooking I was washing the pots and dishes, listening to his interesting life story and the deep wisdom that this man had. When I met him he was on his late 50s and had worked in different countries of Europe, always illegally, jumping in kitchens from restaurants to pubs to hotels. The visa, however, was never a problem to him, and he seemed to be well verse in the inner workings of the underground fibers that joins both legal and illegal societies. Months after I left the elderly residency, I started to work as a waiter for a busy restaurant called The Nichols, in Harpenden, and to my wide surprise I found Mohamed in the kitchen, cooking with other cooks. I was happy to see him, but he quickly pulled me apart, with a grave and serious face, and in confidence told me: "Please, don't call me Mohamed, here. Here they know me as Abdul, okay? Just call me Abdul". It makes you think... how many passports Mohamed (or Abdul) really had?
- Jack was a good looking guy from West Virginia, USA, who had a PhD in Egyptology... go and figure what are the odds of finding someone like that living under the same rented roof. He was working on some kind of shop, public facing, and had come to the UK as part of his PhD program, I remember very well him telling me that, but them decided to go rogue... and never step back to the USA. He owned something like 100 thousands dollars to his University as part of his PhD program... omg... Who really wants to live in the USA? I was thankful for living in Europe, a 'country' where study was almost free... yeah, that was before the uni cap was removed
In these examples, and others that I don't want to mention, people were paying collateral-taxes and contributing to the British society as a whole, either by providing services, consuming some or doing both. Okay, there were illegal, but what was wrong with that? Societies needs to evolve and adjust to the needs of people. There was a time when having a religion different from the one of the country you were living on was illegal, and penalised by burning on the stake. Why do we now penalised people with deportation when they don't have a stamp on a paper with their name on it? Modern societies like Europe and the United Kingdom should have no limitations about the number of people coming into their countries. Everybody is free to live and work wherever they want, these were my firmly believes back these early years
But then... everything changed
The invasion of Second Class Immigrants
I am not the kind of person who watches the news everyday, don't want my mood to be altered by what's happening in the world, so I had no idea that Poland, the Balkans Countries and other post-communist-era countries had entered Europe in the morning of 1st January 2004. By then I was living in Luton and was in the path of establishing a solid career in the IT industry. By the end of 2004, and specially during 2005, I noticed something really strange was happening: the influx of Polish people in Luton skyrocketed, and there were at least a dozen of "Polska Market" shops that opened in Luton, where they were selling to polish people the polish products that they have brought straight from Poland, completely bypassing any services provided by the UK market. On Sundays, in the Tesco parking lot, you used to find people queueing by the side of big vans full of Polish products that have come from Polska
Even in the house where I used to live, in Luton, there came to live too 3 polish people, plumbers and all of them related: two brothers and the brother-in-law of them two. Absolutely lovely people, very friendly and with a beautiful heart, each and every single one of them. Yet, they were all living cramped in the same tiny room, driving a minuscule red Opel Corsa from where they came from Poland, carrying with them ALL of the food they'll ever need in England. They had everything frozen, and the only consumption they'll do in the UK was to buy milk, bread and petrol... that was it, they were operating in survival mode, as when they were brought up during the austerity communism era: maximum production with minimum use of resources
Situations like that where happening all over the country, and this is how people began to be fed up with immigrants, having the feeling that they were abusing the system without making any contributions. Quite a few times, to my disbelieve, I've been called a "good immigrant" while they were referring to the newly joined countries citizens as "bad immigrants", as well as to other "bad immigrants" who came here with their families seeking benefits. It is sad to hear all of these things, inevitably fuel for xenophobia and food for brexiteers. The weeks before the Brexit vote, 23rd June 2016, posters like the picture below were very popular, clearly xenophobic, far away from the true and pro-nazi, but very effective to steer people with no critical thinking
More lies: An idiotic-lie, somebody posing with a picture of refugees being escorted while crossing Slovenia to Croatia, nothing to do with immigrants coming to the UK
I was here during the referendum, and as I mentioned before I'm not a person who watches the news often. Yet, I clearly noticed that the media was putting a lot more of weight on the Leave vote than on the Remain, what was going on? It was a roller-coaster of weeks, with the famous NHS bus and its message: "We send the EU £350 million a week, let's fund out NHS instead" going around. That later on proved to be a complete lie. How could they let this happened? The lied to everyone working on the NHS, who surely voted to Leave based on the advert of that bus. I can tell you a couple of things about the NHS: once I spend about 9 days at Northwick Park Hospital, North London, due to an infection on my elbow. During all these days I only saw... once! a mop, somebody cleaning the floor of the share room I was hospitalised in. In contrast, if you go to any hospital in Spain, they are constantly clearing the room, killing bacterias and sanitising everything. I am alive thanks to my girlfriend at that time, she first of all took to the hospital and, during those 9 days I was in bed, she spotted that the nurses had missed my critical medication... twice! I was too dull to say anything, but my girlfriend had a go at them: how could you forget the antibiotics doses of someone who can potentially have the arm amputated otherwise? How can the NHS run like this? And that was back in 2012, in the middle of the austerity promoted by the tories and to which we now blame Europe. How will the NHS look in the future? without those £350 millions what were a lie? and without any workforce coming from European countries to replacing the exhausted workers of hospitals and care centers? The future does indeed looks bleak with Brexit
|Media influence: Couple of weeks before the Referendum, you could only find on You Tube a 30 seconds clip pro-remains against a comprehensive over an hour debate pro-leave. Was the Remain campaign weak, lacked of arguments, or did the media promoted Brexit?
What is the real purpose of Brexit? It is clearly focused in stopping immigrants coming into the United Kingdom, and take our "country-back" (take it back? you never lost it, mate), at least that was said to the mob of lambs to get them to vote Leave. But could Brexit had been orchestrated with a much hidden and dark purpose? To protect Britain tax havens from European regulation, thus making the rich even richer? It makes you wonder what was behind David Cameron's intentions of setting the referendum, when you consider that he might had had an interest on keeping the British tax havens of Cayman Islands, Bermuda, New Jersey, Isle of Man, Wight, Gibraltar, etc, all of them alive, against the incoming directive of Europe that were demanding more transparency and regulations, especially after the financial crisis of 2008
And finally, why Brexit is a catastrophe for the United Kingdom
And to get to the point of this article, why Brexit will be a piece of shit for the United Kingdom? Well, quite simply... it will be.. First of all, the United Kingdom will stop existing in the near future, time will tell. Do me a favour, and try to teleport yourself 65 millions years ago minus 3 days, then have a look up the sky... see that asteroid that is about to hit the Earth, in 72 hours? Do you think it will cause the extinction of the Dinosaurs? Only time will tell, but it did. Another exercise: imagine yourself on boxing day 2004 in the beaches of Phuket, Thailand, feeling a powerful earthquake... do you think that earthquake will cause a devastated tsunami, that will tragically kill thousand and thousands of people? Only time will tell, but it did. Fortunately, Brexit won't be as catastrophic as a deadly tsunami (definitely it won't be, and thanks God for that) but it has the potential to split the country... and sure it will. The Good Friday Agreement, that stopped the conflict between Ireland (the republic) and Northern Ireland, states on its article 3.1 that Ireland shall become one single country if the Northern Ireland part ever decide to leave Great Britain and join the Republic of Ireland instead. And let's not talk about Scotland, who already yell for a second independent referendum, or Wales who soon will follow Catalonia's steps
Brexit started with the wrong motivation. If you want to change Europe you need to do it from within not by leaving it. Now, Britain has no influence whatsoever in future European decisions, and those decisions will after the UK as a whole. And what to say about the dreadnought submarine? Diving we are, on these dangerous waters. If the UK has no idea of how much it costs to fix its emblematic Elizabeth tower.... how can it managed to predict a good future for a Brexit that nobody knows where is it leading to?
The future looks indeed bleak and bleach with Brexit