In the course of my 45 years I have received a number of certificates. My cycling proficiency to prove I could slalom slowly around a few tin cans in a school playground, a certificate to show I could swim the width of a pool without drowning and my BAGA gymnastics certificate, which I received for clumsily doing a forward roll without breaking my neck.
Life progressed and the certificates became more significant – GCSE, A-level, degree, training courses, first aid (even though the dummy’s head actually fell off during resuscitation) off-roading, driving a Formula Ford racing car, to name a few.
Last week I received my latest official document – something I had never intended to even apply for. My certificate of German citizenship.
I have been living and working here in Germany for about 20 years, and, like most Brits in other EU countries, was not given a say in the referendum which would drastically change our lives. The property I own and pay tax on in the UK was apparently not important enough to allow me to give my opinion. Now faced with complete uncertainly as to whether I would even be allowed to continue working here I made the same decision as every British person I know in Germany – to apply for dual nationality. It’s bureaucratic and rather intrusive, as one would expect, but I now have the piece of paper which should slightly reduce the impact of Brexit on my life.
Last year a record number of almost 7,493 British nationals gained German citizenship. It is no coincidence that numbers have skyrocketed since the referendum and continue to rise as the UK government shows astonishing incompetence and lack of planning.
To demand that the EU makes exception after exception and rewrites its core values for a country who has decided to leave is unrealistic. It’s like somebody cancelling their membership of a golf club yet demanding to be able to use the course and the clubhouse, and have a say at vital club meetings, whilst not paying the membership fee. Whilst many of the UK tabloids have tried to portray the UK as a victim in this farcical scenario, anybody who looks at it impartially will see how unrealistic the demands of the United Kingdom are.
The social, political and above all economic risks of Brexit are becoming painfully clear. In June government records revealed that the then Brexit Secretary, David Davis had spent just four hours in talks with his EU counterpart this year. The EU has consistently warned of the urgency of negotiations, particularly regarding major issues such as the Irish border, yet the government who so badly wanted to leave the EU have seemed reluctant or unable to make the necessary efforts to negotiate.
As public opinion in the UK changes towards remaining in the EU, Theresa May seems reluctant to listen to the “will of the people”, which she so often quotes in an attempt to justify her destruction of the UK economy. Jeremy Corbyn, who offers no opposition to the government (isn’t that his job?), refuses to listen to the vast majority of his party’s members and the trade unions, who are demanding a second referendum, or indeed, an exit from Brexit.
The future of the UK is currently in the hands of two people, both of whom refuse to listen to their parties or indeed the public. Theresa May has decided that the views of a small majority of voters in 2016, swayed by lies about NHS funds and immigration, is enough to risk destroying the British economy, putting national security at risk and alienating this once-great country on the global scene. Two years on, Sterling has plummeted and the economy, whilst performing due to the weak pound, is still misfiring compared to nearly every major economy. Brexit has created thousands of jobs – sadly, the majority of these jobs are in cities like Frankfurt, Dublin and Luxemburg.
Brexit can be stopped at any time – this has been made clear over and over again. Will common sense prevail? Personally, I believe the stubbornness of Theresa May will have catastrophic long-term consequences for Britain and may even result in the eventual break-up of the United Kingdom.
Having dual nationality will not make me immune from this disaster – far from it – but it will help soften the blow.