111 – EuroRant

It’s been some time since I wrote something sensible on the blog. That’s mainly because I haven’t had anything too interesting to write about as I don’t suppose anyone cares all that much about how I am settling down in Madrid. In case someone does: so far, I am loving it. Living in a country with 320 sunny days per year on average means I am sporting a nice golden tan by mid-spring, which is very unusual for my normally somewhat bluish complexion. Mind you, come back in a couple of months and chances are I will be bitching about how hot it is in this bloody country. Which it is. Even the locals (who still venture out in winter boots and anoracs with fur collars with 20+ temperatures in April) say they roast in summer.

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The Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral from Casa de Campo

Alternatively, I could share my thoughts on Brexit with you. Don’t worry, I will not. It’s a british mess, they should own up to it and possibly deal with it. I think we are all exhausted by watching a once-admirable country behaving like two toddlers during a meltdown fit. It has come to “My grandfather did not fight for this!” versus “But you promised I could to go on Erasmus!” It is not even entertaining anymore. Allow me one thought on this utter farce though: without being gratuitously patronizing, I can totally understand why a working class bloke from West Midlands or thereabouts voted to leave as a protest against London establishment, even though I don’t get why would anyone, especially the bloke from West Midlands, be under the impression that a bunch of privileged posh twats, pardon my french, who advocated Brexit, could be trusted with acting in anyone else’s interest but their own. People like Nigel Farage (a former hedge fund manager and a professional dickhead), Boris Johnson (a guy who obtained a lead writing job in the Telegraph through a mate from university – Oxford obviously, and now delights us with obnoxious columns in which he compares driving an italian sports car to raping a woman, among other things), or Jacob Rees-Mogg (another private hedge fund manager, essencially a dickensian baddie who mocks his fellow party members for not having gone to the right public school and whos opinions are so retrograde that he would take the working class children out of schools and put them back to factories if he had his way). What I really don’t get is why privileged, rich people from affluent areas, who often hold jobs based on trade with the continent and/or own property in the Mediterranean, voted to leave. I cannot get my head around it. I cannot come up with a scenario in which voting for the unknown was a better idea than maintaining the current state, unless you deem disturbing the above mentioned fighting grandfather in his eternal sleep or “taking back control” valid reasons.

If there are any Brits reading this, you guys really need to stop the mygrandfatherdidnotfightforthis nonsense. It is utterly ridiculous. You simply must stop playing the war card every time you are out of arguments. The war is long over. Germany is not the enemy anymore. France is not the enemy, come to that, in case the patriotically-spirited relative you are refering to in the mygrandfather rant fought Napoleon. Germany achieved an outstanding job in coming to terms with their historical guilt and conscience. Unlike the UK, who could definitely use some soul-searching when it comes to admitting how badly they handeled practically any foreign business, from Israel to Burma to West Indies. Everyone else in Europe has managed to get over the war, except for the Brits (well, and the Russians). In brief, the member states of the European Union are your allies, you must stop treating them like your enemies. You must stop perceiving the EU as some sort of masonic conspiracy, when it is the one thing that prevented us from killing each other over petty nationalism for the last 75 years, which, I dare say, is exactly what everyobody’s grandfather fought for, what even the German grandfathers fought for, once faced with the reality of the front.

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Royal Palace and ALmudena Cathedral from the lake in Casa de Campo

And no, of course the EU is not perfect, of course it somethimes is a bit Monty Pythonesque, but European law making does not happen by divine intervention. This is what every self-appointed euro sceptic needs to realize. If you don’t like what comes out of Brussels (or your national parliaments), simply vote better (also, bothering to cast a vote in the first place would be a good start too). And if you think your vote does not change anything, get involved. Bother your representatives. Demand replies. Or, get elected. The universal right to vote is a hard-won privilege  obtained for great sacrifice throughout many centuries (and let me remind you that half of the population had it even harder). Taking it for granted is not only foolish, it’s dangerous.

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Casa de Campo in mid March

But, to finish on a lighter note. As Madrid may become one of the most popular destinations of the City and Canary Wharf escapees (in case Brexit actually happens), I should probably proceed with some positive advertising, listed below in random order:

  • the Beckham law (24% flat tax rate for foreign nationals for the first 5 years, cheers Dave).
  • no one stresses too much over work, especially if you come from a London job. No issue is too much on an issue and  nothing is so urgent to be needed done immediately. Accept it, you’ll live better. Also, 14 days of bank holidays per year, on top of your normal allowance.
  • the above-mentioned over 300 sunny days a year. Also, being in the wrong time zone means that even in winter it does not get too dark too early (on the other hand, the sun rises at 8.30 am in late december, but who cares).
  • Casa de Campo – a huge park a short walking distance away from the city centre. Excellent for long solitary walks, runs, trafic-free cycling, or various family activities. Once the place to go if you were after some open-air fun with a lady (or a gentleman) of the night, this is now over, you will not see prostitutes in the park anymore, but you will have no trouble finding an isolated spot if you want some privacy, if you are that way inclined.
  • while Madrid is no match for London when it comes to Indian cuisine (the spanish idea of spicy translates into adding equal amount of garlic and salt into anything including toothpaste), there are several excellent and authentic chinese and vietnamese places. if you are into ethnic cuisine.
  • in most places, every round of drinks comes with free food.
  • gin and tonic comes in a pint and no pathetic single or double measures are used in course of preparation. The ratio between gin and tonic water is equal to the ratio between the sum of gin and tonic and the liquid in larger quantity, which would be, I suspect, gin. Relationship observable anywhere in nature and known to man from the 3rd century BC as golden ratio, perfected to its true purpose in spanish bars.

8 thoughts on “111 – EuroRant

  1. Hi kacenka it’s been sooo long missed your rants lol sounds likes Spain is good for you I hope your happy and meet a man who is worthy of you.take care my friend xo

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  2. I still think the real ‘Brexit trigger’ for the Brits was the migrant crisis in Europe. Seeing millions on the shores of the Mediterranean, and waves coming across continental Europe, right to the shores of the English Channel at Calais, was akin to the night sirens going off during the Blitz. It was especially unsettling to see Germany take in a million Syrians and Sweden 100,000 plus, while being asked by Brussels to open their collective hearts with a similar gesture. “No” was the answer, even while the camps in Calais were burning as refugees clamoured to be allowed into the UK. Instead tell themselves that bringing broken tennis rackets and unwashed children’s clothing to the Oxfam is somehow a grand and noble demonstration of English altruism. All sides of the Brexit debate in the UK, whether for or against, soft or hard Brexit, maintaining the status quo, or whatever…all can agree on one thing…minimal restrictions/tariffs on trade, open access to European markets (and consumers), and no Brussels-imposed quotas on immigration or refugees. This is how they behaved pre-Brexit and this is how they will behave post-Brexit, should this mad gesture of xenophobia ever come to fruition. I actually have sympathy for some in Europe with similar fears regarding migration, the Danes for example…countries that have generally minded their own business rather than demand “regime changes” in conflict zones in the world – Iraq, Libya, Syria – without a plan in place for the aftermath. The UK always seems to be front and centre (among others) when it’s time to bomb the shit out of places, but when the inevitable humanitarian crisis occurs, the borders conveniently close…”our shop hours are indicated on the door, or you may visit our website if you wish.” I would love to see the investment portfolios of some of the Conservative henchmen you indicated in your post, just to see how invested they are in military/weapons/engineering/construction/petroleum companies that earn their fortunes in the these conflict zones. We can freeze the international assets of terrorists after all, but just a peak inside the hedge fund of a conservative backbencher is somehow a Byzantine proposition. Anyways, apologies for the rant. I do enjoy your blog…

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    1. By all means, rant away. Immigration from Africa and Middle East and free movement of eu citizens within the EU are two different things (and dont get me wrong, most brits dont like either). I recently read an article by G. Osborne, former chancellor of the exchequer, a pathetic pile of tosh in which he atones for having supported brexit in the past and now came to realize it was not such a good idea after all. The best parts were: “I underestimated the irish question.” No shit, your fellow countrymen have been underestimating the irish question for the last 500 years, and to this day they seem surprised that when they keep kicking the irish cans down the road, some of them explode. Elsewhere in the same article he claims that the EU made a massive mistake to allow the citizens of the new member states (read: easter europe) to freely move in the european labour market and that the EU should have protected the old member states (read: the UK) from the wave of eastern european workers. What sort of an entitled idiot do you have to be to even suggest such thing? What he meant basically translates into this: that there should be a difference in importance between EU members, basically, that the old members matter more, and that the easterns states should have opened their markets to western investment without the benefit of letting their citizens look for better jobs elsewhere in europe. It would have been an economic suicide, apart from utter unfairness.

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  3. No question a different category…free movement of E.U. citizens, the Irish, Eastern Europeans, etc…. I’m just thinking of that Midlands voter you referenced…I don’t think these were the essential motivations in the hearts and minds of all those Brexit votes. I think they looked at events on the continent, the presumed pending implosion of the E.U., and thought that a convenient Brexit would somehow solve a host of problems they blame on Brussels and bring about the Churchillian Shangri-La their grandfathers fought for.

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    1. I’m afraid you are being a bit optimistic to think that a significant amount of people even bothers with thats happening on the continent 🙂 or that the grandfather fought for anything else than to defend his country (which is natural) – along with a lot of emigrants from occupied europe after all, the RAF has czechoslovak and polish squadrons. But there would have been no british victory without americans and canadians and most importantly without the soviet front, and there probably would not have been a war at all had the UK, France and Germany stood up to Hitler in Munich and had not conceded to Hitler to take over the czechoslovak Sudeten, where most of the heavy industry necessary for his warmongering was located. Obviously it was more complicated than that, but it shows the benefit of a united europe, where the voice of each member, however small, has equal weight.

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  4. Aside from satirical intent :)…I should probably define what I meant by “Churchillian Shangri-La”…I was not inferring anything about perfectly justifiable defensive battles of the 2nd World War, but rather an overall post-colonial mindset among Brexit voters that I’ve witnessed at least…the byproduct of countless campaigns, policies and initiatives that had/have nothing to do with defending ones own beaches from conquering armies. I just think that Brexit is a xenophobic gesture on an incredibly harmful scale, in a world where we should be looking at ways to open our borders rather than close them… But the Rees-Moggs, Johnsons and Farages of this world likely rub their hands gleefully at the thought of anti-Brexiters like us quibbling amongst ourselves..:)

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