Ex-pats are a funny lot.

Before the web became what it is today, the most visibility we had of them was their curious habit of being the most vehement contributors to the letters pages of the British right wing press.

The intermong, however, has shone a light on the British Diaspora and I’ve noticed some things.

British ex-pats never really leave Britain – they take a piece of it with them. Whether they spend their days in Linekers Bar, drinking Carling, watching ManU vs Arsenal and gorging on egg, chips and beans, or they listen diligently listen to Radio4 using a huge directional antenna, and scour the Daily Mail for evidence of woes being inflicted upon the dear Motherland.

In a way I can understand it. Emigrating to France wouldn’t change who I am and where my cultural roots lie, however much I immersed myself in the local culture. I love France. To a lesser extent, Germany too. But I can’t imagine ever making it out of bed without a cup of Twinings tea; and cold meat before mid-day is just plain wrong.

After a week or two away, I can’t wait to get home. Yet getting home – or at least getting back to the UK – is always tinged for me with such sadness.

So I like to imagine that, were I to find myself living abroad, while I would undoubtedly remain quite English, the affairs of this woebegone place would very much become Someone Else’s Problem. After all, no place is without it’s local difficulties, which should provide adequate annoyances.

Steve Shark will be the next rat to abandon the sinking ship, so I’ll watch his progress with great interest.

On this subject, Clarkson sees the dichotomy as “Stand and fight, or run and hide.”

“Don’t know how you can live in Britain. Bloody weather. Bloody Muslims. Bloody Brown,” and then, after a wistful pause, “. . . you don’t have a copy of today’s Telegraph do you?”

I’d like to think he was wrong. Steve?


9 thoughts on “Ex-Pats

  1. I left a few years ago, mainly because I refuse to pay taxes to a dictatorial government. The UK and it’s anal rules about rubbish bins, equality and smoking drove me away. We were driven from our home in East London by being flooded with immigrants. I couldn’t even find a school in my local area where English was the main language spoken for my kids! I was driven from my home in Luton where we had been relocated to, by my husbands company because I didn’t want my kids growing up in a predominantly Islamic area.

    We ended up in Leighton Buzzard which was like a breath of fresh air where my children grew up with their own kind.

    Of course, the weather here is a plus and my family can come over for long cheap holidays. It’s quicker to get here by plane than it is to get to Scotland from Bucks and Beds by train :)

    If things ever return to normal and we have our democracy restored, I will be back.

  2. ‘British ex-pats never really leave Britain – they take a piece of it with them.’

    Mostly, yes, though to different extents. It’s only natural because even if you no longer call the place home it’s still where you started from. Here the expat spectrum seems to cover those who get tearful every time someone mentions the English Premier League to the uber-integrators who know their new country’s national anthem better than 99% of the people who were born there. Plenty of expats here get homesick, and since in this part of the world it’s not a cheap Ryan Air flight away more than a few end up going back. In turn a few of them soon remember why they left in the first place and come back again. Ping Pong Poms they’re sometimes known as here. I’m closer to the integrator end of the scale, though I only know the first verse and even then tend to get a bit muddled with lines 5 and 7. But the thing is I’ve never really missed the UK. I miss certain people obviously, and I keep following what’s going on back there because even though I will almost certainly never live there again (it’d have to become the kind of small government state I wish for, and then I’d still have to persuade the missus to move back to colder winters and generally shit weather) I’m still fond of the place and care about what happens.

    The difference, and whether Clarkson has a point is talking out of his arse, is whether Britain is a shithole you’re running away from or the other country is somewhere you’re going to for a positive reason. In my case most of the reason for coming to Australia was to stay with Mrs Exile, and Britain’s increasing crappiness was incidental. The most effect I think it had was that if Britain had been a better place to live I might have put up more of a defence of the place and Mrs Exile might not have been so keen to leave in the first place – she knows that Australia is far from being a Utopia as well. It wasn’t that turning into a shithole drove me out of the UK, it was that I had somewhere else I could live and the UK didn’t offer a good enough reason not to go.

  3. I really wish I was an ex-pat.

    If I ever manage to get my hands on some serious cash, I would be out of this shit-hole in an instant.

  4. My parents were ex-pats (Africa, dontcha know?), and I always thought I would be.

    But somehow I left a UK university and took a UK job. Then had kids. The kiddies are literally, honestly, the only thing that keeps me here – now too old (GCSE, A-Levels) to change schools. Once they’re all through the education system, I’m off. On a boat. For good.

  5. Strangely enough, I’ve just bought 3 160-bag boxes of Twinings Everyday Tea to add to the stash of stuff we’re taking with us. I may well buy some more as they were on offer. French tea is like hot water strained through used pants gussets. Real pish.

    Yes, I’m off. It’s not that I don’t love my country, it’s just that the cunts seem to have the upper hand and they insist on spending a lot of my money on people who can’t be asked to look after themselves. OK, if I remain within the UK tax system then I’ll still be paying, but at least I won’t have to see them living off my money.

    There’s also a disregard for anything that could be described as ‘culture’ – unless you count reality TV and soaps.

    I’m now able to retire early, and I’d like to do it in an environment that I think offers a better and more relaxed quality of life and has some appreciation of the value of self-responsibility.

    I can’t fucking wait!

  6. Pingback: Good for you, really. Now sod off and stop moaning about the UK. « Al Jahom's Final Word

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.