Continuing to remind the British government not to forget the planned “Votes for Life” legislation, despite the pressures of Brexit , here’s a detailed contribution from Susan Kubitz.
Susan is a long-term British expat working with her family in Germany who was shocked not to be allowed to vote in the EU Referendum, and begs the question of “without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?”
“Before my (German) husband’s hopes of starting up his own electroplating business took us to central Germany (ex-GDR) in the 90’s we lived in Birmingham. We had been able to bring up our children together in Britain because of a successful human rights campaign in 1974. We were euphoric when the Wall came down and felt that German reunification was to a certain extent an expression of the efforts also made by the EU to live together in peace after all the horrors of WW ll. Like other people commenting here we felt we could simply take our two separate nationalities for granted because in any case we both belonged to the EU. My German friends ask me now if I want to become German – but I’ve always believed in reforming things from within. Until very recently I was proud to be British: have been a frequent returner to the UK, am still active as teacher of British English and translator, and like other people on this site I care about Britain. Thank you to the people who have got this site together.”
“It was a shock to find that I was not allowed to vote in the referendum. Had taught an “All about Britain” course at our local University of Technology as part of the Europastudium offered to students as an extra qualification for many years (1996 – 2010), always saying “It’s not a tidy picture but somehow we manage to steer a diplomatic path through all the complex historical relationships without disruption:
– England-Wales-Scotland-Northern Ireland
– Britain-earlier colonies (i.e. USA)
– Britain-ex-Victorian Empire (i.e. Commonwealth in Foreign Affairs and, within Britain, greater progress on living together multi-culturally than I saw in Germany)
– Britain- EU”.”
“To put my emphatic approval for things like the Erasmus scheme into practice, I have had numerous students from the UK (one was Polish, had lived in the UK since his early teens) here on placement with me or with other local companies. It is not only my own lost vote that grieves me but the loss and destruction of opportunities like this for young people to make friendships within a European Union that has been a channel for co-operative energies.”
“And without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?”
I have lived in Belgium since leaving the Royal Air Force in 1994 and find it appalling that first of all I had no say in such a momentous change to my life. But also as someone who “served for their country” (which funnily gave me my love for travel) I am told if I want to continue having the same rights as I currently enjoy I should change my Nationality, as if that is something as easy as changing your underwear!