I left the UK over 10 years ago and never really looked back. Even before Brexit I hadn’t considered moving back to the UK, certainly not in the near future. And being gone for so long made me feel quite out of touch with the mood in the UK. Every time I returned for a visit, whether for work or family, I found it harder to connect and to understand the growing sense of nationalism and independence. And yet I was still surprised when the vote came in.
I confess that I wasn’t too bothered which way the vote would go as I believe that the UK is a strong enough country to weather the storm and come out on top either way. But I still didn’t think that people would vote against EU membership if only because the visa free travel is such an amazing benefit!
I still think that the UK will be fine, but it is embarassing watching the politicians making such a mess of the process. I am intensely proud to be British and proud of all of the stereotypes that go with it. Until recently this included clever and discreet diplomacy, pragmatism, rational deal making and a stiff upper lip. To see these characteristics lacking in our current public image is almost depressing.
On a personal level, I have no fears about the future. Likely there will be extra paperwork to fill out and different queues to join when travelling or visiting the city hall. But I doubt that there will be a major impact short-term on where I live or work and the UK passport will still provide excellent travel and migration opportunities globally.
Sitting in Frankfurt though is a unique perspective. I set up a blog a few years ago, ‘Living in Frankfurt’, to help fellow expats settle into the city even without any German skills. Now, with all of the news about banking jobs switching from London to Frankfurt, there has been a surge in interest that has taken me by surprise, particularly from people considering moving from the UK. Brexit has provided Frankfurt with a healthy boost in business to the extent that there are already shortages of housing, schooling and offices. This is good for business here, but does make me a little worried about London.
Oliver blogs at www.frankfurt-expat.com, Frankfurt’s most popular Expat blog!