Driving back from Almelo into a watery sun, I looked to my right at the flat green fields, at the country I now call my own. This is my land now, no hills, no valleys but then I’ve had all them. I’ve travelled the length and breadth of the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, the breathtaking Peak District and rolling Lincolnshire Wolds. The Netherlands has a different beauty, a different landscape where the sunset and sunrise can be seen almost wherever you are.
People here say hello to people they don’t even know, not just in our little village but in Almelo where we’ve been today. I’m not sure about Amsterdam because there are so many tourists and people who aren’t resident there, but in Rotterdam we found people to be friendly and not averse to smiling. That’s the key, smiling! Obviously in some cultures it’s not what you do. When you talk to people, the responses are courteous and friendly, smiling is normal and is contagious, much like it is in the north of England but since Brexit there seems to be less contentment and more aggression in the UK.
Even before 2016, while the Tories were unravelling all the good work Labour had done, I’d spoke to my wife about the possibility of moving to live in The Netherlands. When I heard the Brexit vote on the radio, I was aghast. I couldn’t believe the British people could be so gullible. It was the final nail in the coffin for the UK as far as I was concerned. Racism is unacceptable under any circumstances, but it became the norm amongst Brexit voters. Emboldened by the vote & by Farage & almost every Tory, the racists and bigots, poorly educated and ignorant people crawled out from under whatever stone they had been hiding under.
I began looking at properties in The Netherlands and Almelo in particular. In 2019 Boris Johnson was voted into power as Prime Minister. It is singularly the worst electoral event to happen to the United Kingdom. The £ crashed and has never recovered against either the € or the $. How badly their currency is performing against other currencies is a good indicator of how bad a government is doing. It has never recovered and until the UK revokes Brexit, it never will. Before Brexit in February 2016 the £ was around £1.36 and by 1st November 2016 after the Brexit vote, it had crashed down to £1.11. We had to start looking at houses in the €160,000 range instead of €200,000 range. It severely narrowed down our options. Forgive me for hating the Tories to their death and all the ill-educated, gullible morons who voted Brexit.
Unfortunately for the British or at least those whom opposed the folly of Brexit, the UK will never be allowed to rejoin the EU without committing to the €. The concessions and veto options the UK had whilst in the EU were far better than any other country had. To rejoin would mean entering under the same terms and conditions as Ukraine or Georgia. Basically, starting at the bottom and proving their worth. Presently, the EU have all the cards and Britain has none.
Here I am in the Netherlands, call us lucky because we have been. Lucky to escape, lucky to have a firm base to stay until we found our own property, lucky to have help from several people along the way but it wasn’t all luck. We worked incredibly hard to make emigration work. We may still have battles to fight but we are better prepared no to win them.