Sunday, 28 February 2010

Arguments on holiday with expats

I have just come back from a break in Spain visiting my mum who lives there. While I was in Spain I got into an argument in an English bar with almost the everyone in there (A shame as I was trying to watch the Reading FA Cup game).

I was over hearing about how services in Spain are not very good and also complaints about the Spanish and how some of them don't speak English when dealing with the Spanish over the phone (for say utilities or phone nd internet connections) and at the same token how England is finished because of the economy, Brown and immigration etc.

Now this all seemed a bit odd to me as I could see for myself that Spain is having a really hard time and so are many of the expats living there. There are plenty of closed down shops and with Spain's unemployment rate hating 17.4% and an unfavourable Euro plus the house building/planning scandals have hit hard. Plus Spain's public debt is currently 55.2% of GDP and rising.

The UK may not be what some people living aboard imagine a perfect Brtiain should be, I feel that frankly there never was a perfect Britain. Britain may have its problems but it is far from finished. Many people just hold a negitive view because the press every day bang on about negative subjects.

I also feel that its funny how some British expats don't view themselves as immigrants and expect to be treated the same as in the UK when it come to many services. People moan about the driving in Spain etc but appear to forget about the better driving back in the UK*. They only appear to view the negative aspects of British life and do not remember the many positive ones.

People moan that their local doctors do not want to have them registered with them back in the UK, but they don't live in the UK and the doctors are only supposed to serve their local community, which they have moved out of.

The point is many things are not always better aboard, some things are worse. All other western countries of the world are not perfect and its worth remembering this when viewing life here.

Another moan was about the 520,000 Britons who have retired abroad but do not have inflation proof pension rises where UK have frozen the level of payments for expats pensions. But how can expats moan about it when there are fewer than 20,000 British expats on the electoral register, a tiny fraction of the estimated 6 million Britons living abroad. The UK government doesn't have to consider their vote as UK expats have some of the worst voting records in the world. Perhaps if they voted then the government (whoever it is) will listen too them.

If you are an expat and would like to vote in the general election then please do check out the this link

*Spainish car accidents in 1997, 5,790 fatalities, injuries estimate 500,000 with about 65,000 of them serious. From a population of around 45.5 million.
*UK 1997 3,599 fatalities, injuries 327,544 with 42,967 serious injuries. From a population of around 61.4 million.

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  1. "I also feel that its funny how some British expats don't view themselves as immigrants and expect to be treated the same as in the UK when it come to many services."

    They are the ones who can't be bothered to even try learning the language of their adopted homeland - and then gripe when they encounter problems.

    "People moan about the driving in Spain etc but appear to forget about the better driving back in the UK*."

    I can't comment on driving standards in Spain but UK standards are nothing to write home about - especially on rural roads - there is far too much avoidable, dangerouse, agressive driving going on.

  2. I strongly believe that anyone living anywhere should try to learn at least a basic amount of the local language. By that I mean British ex-pats all over the world and immigrants to this country. When I am in North America I even try to remember that certain 'English' words have different meanings over there and should be avoided or substituted. Equally, anyone who choses to leave Britain cannot expect to enjoy the full benefits of living in these islands. There are always good and bad sides to every situation. Part of being a responsible adult is to decide which aspects are most important to you.

  3. Anonymous - yes many people infact drive like idiots in the UK, some are way to aggressive, Driving in the UK is of course not perfect but better than alot of countries I have driven in.

  4. british expats in spain are on average not the best expats we have, ive been an expat in chicago, in LA, in Pittsburg, in New Zealand, in Italy, in Belgium

    its funny you do get to reflect on the UK better from the outside

    England is finished they are correct about that

    Immigration, especially floods on 3rd world worker from outside of Europe are a big problem in the UK

    I always paid UK tax, and so regadless of being out of the UK for year, I thought I was perfectly entitled to access services when back in the UK, and anyways health and other services are "supposed" to be available to all EU citizens anywhere in Europe, in fact the waiting lists etc are probably shorter in Spain and most of the treatment is better

    yep if we have a pension pot (or assumed liability, because the govt spent the pot) I dont see why it should be indexed linked if we stay in the UK but not if we leave, there is supposed to be free movement in Europe and this just acts against it

    driving policy in the Uk has been taken over by politically correct nutters, with lots of false science used

    now I wish I had taken the permanent residency to New Zealand I could have taken when I was there, and I wish I had stayed in Chicago where by now I would be settled having a much better life

    the UK is a sad old place, not as sad as the ex-pats in Spain, but it is sad

  5. Not all expats are ignorant bar flies.
    Many do take the trouble to learn the language and integrate with the local people but like all immigrants the local populace hold a certain amount of resentment against an influx of foreigners.However it is this very influx that has made some countries most notably Spain prosperous.

  6. Anonymous on 1st March, I agree with that. I know that many expats are infact not ignorant, exgirl friend and my mum included. It was just that I was keft quite angry after the argument I had