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.
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.
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.
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.