Stronger In or Vote Leave: The view from an expat

In the sixth in a series looking at the views of people from outside of the political bubble, on the EU referendum, Lucy Ashton gets an expat’s perspective

Retiring to a place in the sun is a dream for many people and former West Yorkshireman Brian Cartledge has never looked back since moving to rural France a decade ago.

Brian, who worked for the Probation Service for 30 years, says he was burnt-out and needed to find some “peace, far from the madding crowd” with his wife Brenda.

“France, particularly rural France, offered a tranquility that was becoming much harder to find in Britain,” explains Brian, 69. “South West France offered health benefits both physical and psychological.”

Having experienced the European Union as both a Brit and an ex-pat, he firmly believes Britain should remain a part of it.

“I did vote back in the 1970s and I was one of the 67 per cent that voted to stay in the Common Market as it then was.

“I actually went along to hear Ted Heath speak on the matter, and remember Len Murray and the TUC trying to persuade us to get out.”

Brian will be eligible to vote in June’s referendum and says he will give a “resounding yes” to remaining in the EU, which he compares to a big family.

“Personally, life will become scarily difficult for Brenda and I, particularly from a financial perspective. For Britain, marginalisation will undoubtedly follow.

“We need to compete, be in the game. If you ain’t at the table, you don’t get your share and you can’t argue for more. We need to stay at the table and perhaps realise that ‘family’ is important, even though we don’t always get on. No man is an island.”

If Britain did leave the EU, Brian and Brenda would remain in France. “Nothing would persuade a return to live in the UK. If Brexit comes, we will throw ourselves on the mercy of the French, and hope for a reciprocal agreement to cover the ex-pats here, and the 600, 000 French said to be living in the UK.

“We are UK work and State pension dependant, so there are big concerns for us there. With 10 years here now, we may need to look at future citizenship. Who knows? Bloody Brexit,” he laughs.

For this couple, however their fellow Brits vote, they won’t be tempted back.

“We made the decision to sell-up quite easily, based on factors such as seriously high longevity in the area we have settled in, extremely low population density, and a pro-social ‘can-do’ attitude that abounds in most rural areas here.

“The weather was a big plus and we can both swear the French health service is the best we will ever wish to find.”

Lucy Ashton is a journalist and former Political Editor

Tags: , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Stronger In or Vote Leave: The view from an expat”

  1. Tafia says:

    Bit of a bizarre article being as what polling has been done of concentrations of ex-pats down on the spanish Costas, shows them in favour of Leave.

    One of my daughters, who works for a bank in Germany is also voting Leave, couple of my mates who run hotels in Bulgaria are voting Leave, one who is a financier with a Russian bank in Greece is also voting leave, one who run a hotel in France and whose wife works as a nurse in France are both voting Leave and friends I have who live and work in Cyprus are voting Leave and all my of friends that work in the middle east with oil companies are also voting leave.

  2. Mike Homfray says:

    Turkeys voting for Christmas, in that case. Unless they are planning a return to the UK.

  3. Kevin says:

    Not ‘bizarre’ – counter-intuitive. A non Little Britain ex-pat.

  4. Tafia says:

    “Turkeys voting for Christmas, in that case. Unless they are planning a return to the UK.”

    The daughter that works for the German Bank in Luxembourg has already been told by the bank that Brexit will make no difference to her or the other european nationals they have working for them – they’ve already factored it in. Are you calling the German bank liars?

    The others own businesses etc. Now forgibve me fr pointing something ou, but we did have foreign nationals working in the UK before we were in the U and likewise there were Brits working o mainland Europe (including me).

    Ad then there’s Cameron – remember him? Prime Minister in case you forgot. He has already stated it won’t make any difference. So you calling him a liar as well?

  5. Tafia says:

    And then we have the problem of Greece (again). In the last few days unemployment hit 30%. No big deal – it’s Greece and they are a toally expendable country as far as the EUis concerned. But their next payment is due. And they can’t make it, not even close – not by a very very very long way and all talks will have to be suspended by the end of May because of our referendum – and the suspension of those talks in turn causing volatility in the euro and EU-wide bourses including the LSE. Chillingly, the IMF believe the only answer is to haircut every bank account in the EU (this is the same IMF Remain keep trumpeting) to raise funds to compensate Germany in the event of a write-off of Greek debt.

  6. Tafia says:

    Theresa May said two startling things this morning (Monday).

    1. We can control immigration in the EU – including EU immigration, but it’s difficult.
    Really? Well why didn’t you then.

    2. We should leave the ECHR even if we remain in the EU.
    How? Being as it’s a requirement for membership?

  7. Anon E Mouse says:

    I know several ex-pats living in Europe and not one is voting to stay in the EU. I used to be in support of remaining in until Cameron and his cronies started telling lies and trying to force TTIP onto us via the US but to a man everyone I have asked from four different countries is voting to leave.

    Seems they don’t buy the doom and gloom stuff and the ordinary French worker wants to get their country back as well I’m told.

    The concept of the EU is finished although even if vote to leave (which I think we will since nothing Cameron does is moving the polls and the outers are more likely to vote) I do not believe that will be the end of it and Cameron will cobble something together with his euro friends to stitch us up.

  8. Kevin says:

    Of all the kinds of scaremongering the Remain side is using, the idea that expats would be deported back to Britain is the most absurd. Literally no one has suggested deporting the millions of Europeans already legally in Britain, or making their lives more difficult. All of them who are here legally would be given visas to remain. It is only future migrants here who would be affected. Yes, there are many British in France and Spain, and also large and growing numbers of French and Spanish in Britain. London is the 6th biggest French city in terms of the numbers of French citizens living there. Spain, where most British expats in Europe live, has hundreds of thousands of young people here fleeing high unemployment rates back home, ,and let’s not forget the reason the British are in Spain is it operates a lucrative retirement industry. Brexit will change our relationship with these countryies but it will not hurt the lives of expats from either.

Leave a Reply