Everybody’s Free


One of the things that the whole Referendum Debacle has brought home to me is how much I value the European side of my life (and how maybe other people don’t share quite the same enthusiasm). When I was a kid, our family did do one holiday in Spain, but it wasn’t easy. Flights were expensive and you didn’t have the Internet to make bookings. The Euro didn’t exist and there was no free movement of people either. You couldn’t just go and live or work somewhere else in those days like you can now, or at least like you can until someone hits the Brexit Nuclear Button (if they ever do). To their credit, my parents managed to take us on a road tour of Europe, in a VW Campervan, but goodness only knows how they managed it. There weren’t many motorways in Europe in those days, either. By the time I was in my twenties, a lot of our friends lived and worked in Europe. So did me and my partner, twice. We spent a few great years driving between Belgium, Luxembourg and France to party with people. We’ve got family in Portugal, so every summer is an epic journey across the continent. The kids are on their third passport and they barely shrug at the idea of fifteen hours in a car.

In our village in Somerset, there are some kids who’ve never really left the local area. Obviously it depends partly on whether or not you can afford to travel and whether your lifestyle allows it. But if you can afford a holiday, it’s probably as cheap these days to go to Europe as it is to holiday at home, once you take the cost of living into account. So I’m puzzled about why people don’t, unless they like being cold and wet in August. A lot of older voters have enjoyed the benefits of European travel during their lives. One of the reasons why I’m finding Brexit so stressful is because I don’t understand an attitude that closes off access to free movement, in return for sovereignty. Why in heaven’s name would you make that trade? My advice would be that if you have ever thought about travelling or working overseas, now is the time to seriously consider doing it. Stage a mini Brexit of your own (especially if you are young and you feel like all the old people just sold you up the river). In the strangest political circumstances of my life, I’ve actually been having fun over the last week, writing Road School and reliving the journey that we made. Everybody’s free; at least they are at the moment. Get out there and enjoy it while you can.

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3 Responses to Everybody’s Free

  1. Believe it or not, I went abroad for the first time in my life last year and loved it. Really want to explore the rest of Europe and the world and let our kids have the freedom to do so. Very worried we won’t be able to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is my biggest gripe! My family didn’t have a lot of money yet I managed to live and work in Greece and Spain, and had a brilliant time. I came home a different person- eyes opened, aspirational and open to opportunities. My children (and too many more) won’t have that freedom-they will be constrained by money (either in their bank or by the qualifications they can afford to study for). I am now trying to work out how to earn enough money just so they can have the same opportunities as I had. (That includes rising costs in further education and money in the bank for each child if they want to work abroad, on top of the extra money we must find as our economy dips!) How can we regress so and not be bothered. Freedom? I just don’t understand what freedom we think we have gained.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @cazzwebbo says:

    *they* are parochial. In the true sense of the word.

    Liked by 1 person

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