I was interviewed this week about Brexit. Now I just hope I won’t be vilified in the media like the British Conservative MPs who voted on Wednesday to give Parliament a say on Britain’s EU divorce deal.
I was contacted by journalism students at the University of Strasbourg. They’re producing a documentary on the impact of Brexit on British people in the EU and EU nationals in Britain.
As part of their research, they’re interviewing Brits on Spain’s Costa del Sol and EU nationals in London.
They also picked to come to interview people here in Lille because the city has promoted itself as a destination for British businesses looking to move to mainland Europe. (Check out the Welcom-eu.com website, if you’re interested.)
I arranged for the two journalists to come to our home – I figured it would be easier to talk here than, say, in a café or bar. They duly arrived, complete with recording equipment and notebooks.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t very positive. Brexit has divided the UK, broken families and friendships, cost people their jobs and lost the country billions in investment already.
The only good thing I have to say about Brexit is that it gave us the push we needed to move to France. I remember the day that Damon spotted an advert for a job here in Lille that was very similar to his role in the UK.
“What do you think? Should I go for it?” he asked.
“If you don’t,” I said, “we’ll always wonder ‘what if?’”
They asked what I’d thought of the Remain campaign. I explained that we had volunteered as part of it, handing out leaflets on the streets of our former hometown.
Nevertheless, I had thought it a challenge to overturn 40 years of bad press with a 3-month campaign. Especially when the Prime Minister – who had already put party politics above the national interest by calling the referendum – wouldn’t go head to head with the leader of the Leave campaign because it was one of his own ministers.
“Brexit has divided the UK, broken families and friendships, cost people their jobs and lost the country billions in investment”
I have a feeling the I’ll be treated more sympathetically when the interview is published than the 11 Conservative MPS who backed an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill this week.
The Daily Mail was even more bilious than usual in reporting the government defeat.
“Just as the newly confident Tories inch ahead in the polls, 11 self-consumed malcontents pull the rug from under our EU negotiators, betray their leader, party and 17.4m Brexit voters and – most damning of all – increase the possibility of a Marxist in No. 10,” its front page screamed. “Proud of yourselves?”
I thought one of the Daily Mail’s chief arguments for Brexit was about the British Parliament deciding British laws? That is, of course, except when it doesn’t suit the paper’s politics.
Worryingly, when I went into a couple of shops to take a photo of the newspaper for this post, the Daily Mail was nowhere to be found. Either that means the staff had removed it for being so offensive or it had sold out.
I fear I know which… Which confirms that I made the right decision to move to France.