”We hope to see a Europe where men of every country will think of being a European as of belonging to their native land, and . . . wherever they go in this wide domain . . . will truly feel ‘Here I am at home.”’
Winston Churchill at the Congress of Europe, 1948
Being at home.
People ask me in daily basis about my situation. The majority with genuine concern, a few with a hint of UKIP aroma. But all of them come up with all kind of suggestions. The most common one is why don’t you apply for British passport? Always the same answer. I am Spanish. I am European. I won’t lose who I am just to sort out the situation I am in. Very close to being British is the suggestion that I should get married as soon as possible. Well, I am getting married but in our own timings. No hurry. Only for love and family, no for papers. A few are a lot more practical, why don’t you go home? They asked, but I am home I say. And then silence. Nothing gets me more than people assuming that this is not my home. I do live here. I have for the last 13 years. The problem is not immigration but the lack of integration. Well, I do not live in a little corner being all Spanish, only eating Spanish food, and only speaking Spanish. I do crave my homeland sometimes, it is who I am but I started my own family here and god I am proud of our little household where kids are growing up bilingual and where Bowie plays after Camarón and Marmite is as loved as a bocadillo de chorizo. Yes Sir Churchill ‘here I am at home’
With Article 50 bill ready to be triggered tomorrow I still wonder why no guarantees for the EU citizens living in this country were included. In one hand I can see why the PM doesn’t want to do it until all the UK citizens across the old continent receive the same treatment but in the other hand, and the more I think about it I starting to be convinced that a golden opportunity has been lost. An opportunity to show Europe that you are one step ahead of them. A chance to keep immigration out of the headlights so you can concentrate in separating yourselves from the EU. But most important to show us, me, that you care, that we have a place in this country. I know, it is only 3 millions of us but we did not have a voice in the election so why inflicting more uncertainty upon us?
Brexit has shaken up my life, our lives to a point is actually unacceptable Ms May position regarding our status. And yes I hear a lot you will be fine. You have British kids. This is not about me. It is about us being in nowhere land at the moment. The fate of EU nationals in the UK and UK nationals in the EU is subject to the negotiations. Negotiations can be nasty, deals can be broken. We are people. With jobs, family, lives to live, roots in this land. Not only we did not voted in the referendum but we were accused by the Leavers campaign of the majority of problems in the country (oh Mr Farage…). All we asked to stay the same, nothing more, to retain the same legal status we enjoy now as EU citizens.
Even Michael Gove and other Tory Brexiters have asked Theresa May to unilaterally guarantee the rights of 3.2 million EU citizens to remain in the UK! And still nothing! It is ever so frustrating and I am growing suspicious. I am not talking deportation as such. I do believe we are going to be used as bargains chips. Great. That is what politicians do. They lie, they use and abuse their power. I do not like being used but there is nothing I can do. My concern is about numbers. During the campaign it was repeated constantly that we were far too many of us. I do not see how they are going to bring down numbers in the scale some sectors of the public want. An easy solution will be some cuts from inside, papers for everyone? Or a picked selection? I know. I see a black future. I do not trust no any politicians whose ultimate goal is to remain in power. And they will do whatever it takes. We are only numbers.
So what now? We wait. And wait and wait. Wish Ms May try to walk in our shoes…
I leave you now with wise words from a hero of my teenager years, Albert Camus “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” Hasta la próxima, amigos.