Today, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, signed a letter officially notifying the European Council’s president of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the union as required under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This ‘historical moment’ is what the press love, but it is part of a long and complex, ugly and acrimonious process […]
This will be a melancholic post with a dressing of reminiscence of the past. Usually, I adhere to the philosophy that whatever lies in the past cannot have any effect on the future whatsoever and I generally refrain from indulging in ‘good ole days’thoughts. However, now more than ever the past is coming back on a worldwide scale. Reasons behind Trump’s election and Brexit referendum success are witness to this. Why is that?
Historically speaking, the past often offers a glimpse into a ‘golden age’. At any time in the last 3 millennia, lots of authors have looked back and thought “well it was awesome back then, wasn’t it”, with many scholars even re-elaborating whole periods of history to fit their contemporary thinking and their bias. In some cases, some golden ages have included mass genocides, famine, Black Death, never mind that a few centuries later we found a way to justify or gloss over these little, inconvenient details.
It’s the same with us, in our little inconsequential lives… we look back and romanticise some events. And here I’ve fallen victim to the same trend.
There is a part of me I never fully accepted and that is why the past often came back to haunt me or to be seen as ‘golden’ in some regards. First of all, I was born in a Tuscan village in 1972; local mentality only allowed us girls a couple of things: 1) getting married and breed (I use this verb fully knowing the connotations!); 2) until (or if) number 1 was available, it was necessary to find a job, no matter if it was something we liked, any will do if it provided ‘cash’ (nobody was ever bothered about pay slips and such bureaucracy in those days, we kept count of our worked hours on a paper sheet hung in the factory).
‘Little me’ started working in such capacity at 12. Perfect (right?), I was on schedule! Apart from being illegal, never mind again… But then, everybody knows that teenage years wreck havoc in our lives and that is what exactly happened to me too. Around the age of 16, I fancied to get a higher education, I wanted to learn languages because travelling for work was my dream. Heresy! ‘Girls don’t need an education!!!‘, my father yelled. He yelled so loudly I can still remember it. It was not just ‘heretic’ to get an education though; the worst part was that instead of using my savings to prepare for my wedding, *gasp* I was using them to put myself in the condition of finding a job that required me to stay out of the house! In the end, I did get married but I was 40 already, needless to say my savings would have not lasted that long!
At 17, a far worse event happened, total total heresy! I wanted to use more of my savings to attend a drama school. My mum was an ex opera singer, whose aspirations and ambition had been shattered by ‘real life’. Or so she recounts the whole thing nowadays. But not all lives need to end up the same way, right? Her father, still alive at the time, supported the idea. My father was yelling all the time as you can imagine, even threatening to kick me out of the house, which didn’t happen… although I wasn’t actually allowed to rent a piano until I was 18 (damn father!). I was enrolled in a proper music school, learnt to play piano/singing/read music; unfortunately, I did not attend any drama course but found a way to appear in a movie anyway (I hope it got burnt, it was a weird indie thing!).
As you can imagine, given that you have never heard of me, nothing came to fruition. Since I stopped studying in 1995, I did many jobs until I definitely left Italy 8 years ago. I also found a way to migrate nearly everywhere since I was 24 but… the artistic thing never took off. As I am reminiscing about it these days, I wonder if my chronic defeatist attitude played a part in it and to what degree. I have the same attitude to my studies, “oh no, I’m not going to make it, I will get a fail, etc etc.”. As of today, I’ve only had a C in my degree course and it was in Level 1, so it’s not going to count for my final mark.
So, would my artistic career have taken off if I wasn’t so down-beaten by my own attitude to it? Possibly. I even scored auditions I never went to, auditions I was ill-prepared to face but sabotaged them on purpose (God knows why!), and even offers for one of my scripts that I never bothered to pay attention to!!
At this point you would think I am an idiot…. Why would anyone be threatened by success to the point that once you get the chance you don’t go through with it? Well, here I am, call me idiot if you like, but I was overwhelmed by the idea. Every. Single. Time.
You would also think I regretted that. Actually, I do but surely my number 1 reason is not what you are thinking about. I never really cared about being famous, having fans or making a crapload of money. Many of these chances might have not led to any of the above anyway. However, it led to something I have regretted: I gave up on the opportunity of doing a job I would have liked. The mindset of my upbringing “do any job because you need money”, drilled into me since a young age, has kept ruining my life over and over again, even when I didn’t actually need any money. It still does because I’m getting a degree in archaeology and history but if you asked me which job I will likely do after I graduate, I wouldn’t probably answer “archaeologist or historian”. I would fall on the old mindset ‘I need a job, whatever that is’.
And this brings a lot of dissatisfaction, a sense of ‘impossible achievement’ as regards anything I ever endeavoured to study or pursue. And given that in two days I will be 45, these thoughts heavily weigh on me. The ‘artist-that-will-never-be’ sounds now ominous and leaves a bitter taste in my mouth any time my mind wanders there.
Merlin, The Big Loser
P.S.: Silver lining: Considering the entertainment field’s obsession with youth and artists who are required to botox themselves to death, at least I’m not paraded around in retarded selfies like the one below where I need to keep my mouth open all the time (“I’m too sexy for this selfie, too sexy for this selfie” ahahaha)
I haven’t forgotten about you. I haven’t stopped writing either. But this is my graduation year (only 5 months and it’ll be over) and all my energies and time have been spent in academic research, for one module or another and for my dissertation.
I have tried to keep up with the news though and I hope to write a new post as soon as I have submitted my mid-term work this Wednesday. So I’m asking you to be patient and please remember, I’m still here alive and kicking, not gone or deported from the UK (yet) and still fighting.
Ciao a tutti,
Un brevissimo articolo giusto per riassumere gli ultimi eventi anche se… a sto punto io direi che possiamo archiviare la non-Brexit (perche’ Brexit sia femminile in italiano non si sa…). Il governo britannico, da fine 2015, aveva cominciato a ‘bollire’ in materia di immigrazione. Leggi su leggi, paletti su paletti per fare diventare la regolarizzazione dei cittadini europei un inferno, anche se mentre in Europa tale regolarizzazione non era obbligatoria. Strano che lo sia diventata con la Brexit. Questo secondo me è il dettaglio piu’ importante… è da mò che non siamo i benvenuti.
Allora, riassuntino per chi si e’ distratto negli ultimi mesi:
- Smettetela di pensare che la Brexit non ci sarà. La May sta cercando di andare alla velocità di un TGV per attivare l’art. 50. Se siete tra quelli che pensano che tornerà indietro, o avete vissuto in una grotta preistorica per gli ultimi 8 mesi, o vi siete fatti come pochi (per lo stesso lasso di tempo!), o siete così illusi che credere agli unicorni è normale per voi.
- Al 52% dei residenti britannici gli stiamo sul CULO. Inutile che ci giriate intorno. Inutile che troviate scuse che il vostro amico di banco o collega di scrivania vi adora e quindi quello che dicono i giornali non è vero, è Fake News o scaremongering. Macché scaremongering della beata m**chia, gli stiamo sul culo come se avessimo la peste, punto. E se poi cambiate scuola, cambiate lavoro, trovate uno di quel 52% che vi odierà per l’eternità e siete fottuti. Smettetela di mettere la testa sotto la sabbia come gli struzzi adducendo che noi italiani siamo benvoluti perché il vostro vicino di casa britannico compra la pizza una volta la settimana al locale pizza kebab turco.
- Smettetela di pensare che italiano non significhi europeo. Ho sentito lo stesso discorso da olandesi, tedeschi, francesi “odiamo gli immigrati e i cittadini europei ma non tu”, se credete alla suddetta frase fate solo la figura dei creduloni imbecilli. Al momento siete nella massa dei cittadini europei, sia che abbiate inventato una navicella spaziale, sia che stiate facendo il cameriere a Londra.
- Londra è ‘ancora’ in Inghilterra e nel Regno Unito. Al di là del fatto che il Regno potrebbe essere o non ancora Unito al momento della Brexit (Scozia, work under construction LOL), Londra è e rimarrà sempre in Inghilterra. Non la spostano e non fa caso a sé per Brexit. Se l’Inghilterra fa la Brexit, Londra gli va dietro. Quindi togliete la vostra testaccia dal di dietro e ogni tanto guardatevi le news che valgono per tutto il Regno Unito. Dopo Brexit, seguirete il fato di tutto il resto. Il fatto che viviate con britannici o pakistani o altri italiani non fa differenza, la xenofobia del governo ve la ciucciate come tutti gli altri europei.
- FATEVI l’assicurazione sanitaria. Perchè ricordatevi che l’accesso al NHS sarà la prima cosa che perdete. Io l’ho fatta già. Se non ve la potete permettere 1) state alla sorte, cazzi vostri ma poi non vi lamentate 2) ritornate in Italia o emigrate altrove 3) riportate la residenza in Italia (anche da mammà e papà) e ri-usufruite della Asl.
- Se siete interessati a rimanere nel paese, potete farvi la permanent card se lavorate da 5 anni. La EEA QP è praticamente inutile e poi non è comunque indicazione di residenza permanente perché è un documento per professionisti qualificati che non hanno intenzione di restare nel Regno Unito. Anche se al momento non si sa se la Permanent Card verrà accettata come Indefinite Leave to Remain, è meglio averla. Pensateci appena possibile, specie se avete pure i requisiti per la cittadinanza britannica.
- Se non siete interessati a rimanere in UK, non aspettate fino all’ultimo minuto per guardarvi intorno e cercare lavoro all’estero (questo sempre se non siete in un’azienda che sta pensando di trasferirsi altrove). Perché ci sarà panico totale di europei che se ne vogliono andare se alcuni paesi non soddisfano ciò che la May vuole da loro. Stiamo parlando di 3.2 milioni di persone, se anche il 30% leva le tende, è un milione di gente che si muove, non proprio un numero piccolino!
- Ricordatevi che una volta che l’inflazione sarà alle stelle, chi guadagna tra le 14mila sterline e le 20mila sterline annue sarà come stare in Italia con stipendio da fame. Con l’addizionale che qui magari non avete i genitori che vi riprendono in casa o vi aiutano…. Chi sta a Londra con stipendio che ora gli basta appena, potete guardarvi attorno subito… Tra tagli e aumenti, è previsto un incremento annuo di spesa di 4,300 sterline all’anno (questo detto da Arron Banks, che è un fascistone dell’ukip ma è anche miliardario, quindi i conti gli sa fare!). Fate voi…
- Il governo britannico dal 1 Aprile va ai negoziati. Gli italiani in UK che non hanno doppia cittadinanza, come tutti gli altri cittadini europei saranno inseriti nei negoziati. In poche parole, siamo ostaggi, sia che abbiamo tanto, poco, o nulla. Nessuno è esente, incluso cittadini europei sposati con britannici o con figli britannici. L’eccezionalità in questo caso non esiste, nemmeno avere il cugino del cugino, amico dell’amico. Se lo prendiamo in culo, lo prendiamo collettivamente. Meritocrazia britannica 😀
- Se avete avuto pazienza di arrivare a sto punto, vi dò un consiglio spassionato… pensate al domani senza curarvi del Brexit, fate il vostro, dando giusto un’occhiata agli updates ogni tanto tramite stampa o tv. Il Regno Unito, per almeno dieci anni, andrà in recessione. Se siete giovani… mandate a fanculo tutti, UK e inglesi, non perdete tempo a star qui. Se siete vicini alla pensione, fatevi due conti, magari vi conviene prendere la pensione qui e andare poi a San Paolo in Brasile per il resto che vi rimane da vivere. Se avete una famiglia con figli piccoli, pensate al loro futuro che qui saranno sempre trattati da cittadini di seconda classe e che la situazione migliorerà tra vent’anni… Sempre se Trump e Putin non trasformano l’Europa in un deserto nel frattempo.
In quanto a me… me son rotta di pensare al Brexit e farò il mio. Se non mi vogliono, grande pernacchia. Dove la trovano un’altra Merlin? Da nessuna parte. Fanculo Inghilterra, Regno Unito e Brexit 😀 😀
P.S. dimenticavo, buon San Valentino!! 😊❤
Unfortunately, for many people this has not been the year we were expecting at the end of 2015.
In many regards, many events have made 2016 become the annus horribilis. It is not over yet and here I am, reading online media news and feeling lost. The world around me has changed and a new direction is needed, actually many new directions and plans are needed.
I wish life was not so complicated sometimes, but… I’m a historian and I know that in the past everything was much more complicated. Should I really complain about anything? Maybe not.
Maybe it is time to take action and to take risks. Whether it will pan out or not, nobody can know. For many years I adopted a strategy of ‘I’ve nothing to lose and I throw myself in the new adventures with no regrets‘. However, now I have many things to lose and decisions have seemed impossible to make. But time has come for a overhaul.
Best Christmas wishes to all of you. I will update you in 2017.
I am really sad I have abandoned you in the last few weeks. I still follow the global events but given the huge amount of study I am supposed to do until the end of 2017, I am sure I won’t be able to post as often as before. I apologise if I am getting so boring, I wish I had more time to dedicate to my blog, given that I had committed to, at least, 2 posts a month.
Furthermore, I have started to research for my dissertation, which will have to be handed in during the summer of 2017. Please, be patient…. after that study committment, I am sure I will keep updating the blog. The funny part…I am not sure FROM where I will do that. Heck, considering the actual political climate, I am not sure I will be ALLOWED to do that either!
I think many of you share my feelings that the world was never filled with such uncertainty for everybody before, not at least in the last two decades. I have followed the end of the cold war…. seen the Berlin’s wall finally crumbling down more than 25 years ago… in 2013 I have even seen the pieces of it standing in a Berlin’s street, stark remnants of a past that it was never supposed to come back… I have visited a nazi concentration camp twice… I have never forgotten the butcheries and the ‘showers’ (the gas chambers)…. why are people so eager to resuscitate a past filled with hate?
I have listened to countless explanations about controlling immigration. Controlling immigration is a task for a state, it should not be on top of priorities for anyone in daily life, regardless of country. Instead, many of us have bought into the governments’ propaganda that use immigration as a scapegoat for their own failings. Even my mother is one of many people who reason like that, when super-offended she yelled at me on the phone “but, bbbuttt… you are not an immigrant like the others, you’re Italian!” which basically meant ‘you’re white, cultured and well-educated, so you don’t deserve that’.
This shows that not only some politicians have managed to manipulate society’s thoughts towards a concern that shouldn’t be theirs in the first place (and in doing so, they also divided whole countries in groups on one side or another), they have even managed to divide the ‘other’ in many, many subcategories, in some sort of list decreasing from the ‘most deserving of hate and disgust’ to the ‘least deserving one’. I don’t want to paint Trump voters, or LePen voters, or Brexiteers, with the same brush, because except the ones who are really racists, fascists, white supremacists and KKK card-carrying members, the others have something in common with the rest. We all have been CONNED. We are all deluded into thinking that a better future awaits us, somehow. The governments and the rulers fear the ‘mob’ when it is united, not when it is divided into millions of pieces. The ‘will of the people’ counts shit when the powers have been passed out of people’s hands. We are only instrumental in producing an outcome (an election or a referendum result), after that…. it’s like we’re on a boat at the mercy of captain and his officers… and if they are all a bunch of nutcases and go all random, they can sink us all (and now the world has boarded a huge Titanic…). We are allowed to live in denial that we can preserve and protect what we have and who we love for the moment, and maybe we can take action later on. That is only an illusion. This time, unless some of you are so stinking rich to have a space station to board at will, we are all in this together, none excluded… regardless of nationality, race, creed, age or gender.
Unfortunately the famous Roman rule for good government ‘divide and rule’ (dividi et impera) has been a successful propaganda for 2 millennia. Well, it was even before, it’s just the Romans who have transformed it in sort of ancient slogan. It is so sad though that mankind keeps falling for it, one way or another.
Sad Merlin xx
Disclaimer: Obviously, this is not a religious post. But the Brexit affair is becoming more and more like a faith with a series of dogmas and things to believe in. It might be wrong to define it as ‘religion’ as it’s not about believing in a God; however, that was the better term I could come up with. Sorry for any offence caused.
This article is not intended to be critical of any camp or political belief. Instead, I only wanted to highlight the attitudes, assumptions and expectations of several British voters/commenters and UK residents. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible, although from my position (I’m a EU citizen) it has been quite difficult. I ask for forgiveness beforehand.
1) Many Britons have the expectation that regardless of what everyone has voted, the country needs to pull up together and follow any belief in Brexit or law subsequent to the referendum as legitimate. If you don’t follow the flock, you’re branded as a traitor and possibly shouted down (fortunately, hanging is out of fashion at the moment and also a tad illegal). I’m afraid that all divisions that have been created by the referendum will stay here until all the voters dies out. Sorry for bursting your bubble, but getting over Brexit is not possible for many.
2) EU citizens are expected to shut up, collect their documents and prove they have the right to stay here. Any EU citizen showing they are offended or offering critical judgement of Brexit they get told to ‘bugger off to where they came from’ or to prove their loyalty to the British state through permanent card or citizenship, even if they are not eligible or cannot afford it.
3) Supposedly, university students and their tutors have become the ‘elite’ and whatever advice they can offer is now judged as ‘elitist’, ‘out of touch’, ‘non-sensical’; it is not worth to remind them that you might have come from a family with a poor background (as I did), because what you get in return is that you took advantage of the system whilst many poor sods (who likely didn’t give a damn about studying anyway!) had not access to higher education whilst you, nasty EU citizen, had. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
4) Any reminder of how xenophobic, nasty and racist the UK has become in only 4 months is bound to send them in a rant-frenzy of epic proportions. In particular, EU citizens are expected to bear the whole thing without speaking out or they are expected to get the heck out of the country. Dissent not accepted in many instances.
5) Assumptions about the easiness of the immigration and citizenship processes are wide-spread, even in the press. There were many cases of journalists who assumed, in their articles, that all EU citizens who have been resident for 5 years or longer automatically get an indefinite leave to remain. This is and never was the case. EU spouses married with British citizens do NOT get automatically citizenship either. They have to go through the permanent residence process as all the others (only non-EU spouses have a different process and shorter, because they pay for spouse visas).
6) Assumptions about the false equivalence ‘a foreigner goes, a local takes his/her place’. There are plenty of posters everywhere who assume that once you get rid of an immigrant a job position or a university place is now vacant for a British citizen to take. This is a failed approach for three reasons: a) the employer might not have wanted/found a local for that job position previously and they do decide not to replace him/her; b) the employer is a foreigner or works for a foreign company; after many foreign people leave, the company itself just moves away too, taking all the job opportunities with them; c) the university place was awarded by merit and no locals had or have the requirements to be chosen (this might not include medicine and any subject with place restrictions though).
7) Many Britons expect that many businesses, British or foreign, should stay after Brexit out of loyalty and commitment to the country. Useful to remind them that ‘there are no friends in business’ and if a company sees the collapse of their profits, they have two choices: 1) to declare bankrupt and close down; 2) to move away and save profits and jobs. Their loyalty lies with their customers and employees, they only pay tax contributions to the country, that is the only arrangement in place for them.
8) The general expectation that being patriotic means following the Brexit train with adoration and no critical approaches to make or say. Useful to remind them that patriotism and nationalism never fed people. They feed the ones at the top of the pyramid who exploit the patriotic bimbos who believe in such a utopia.
9) There’s the general idea that the referendum has served a double purpose, not only to leave the European Union, but it has made the big wigs in Westminster acknowledge it was a protest vote of the working classes. I will not try to define the term ‘working class’ here; however, it’s totally condescending to assume that anyone who’s working class shot themselves in the foot or voted against their interests. Many voted reasonably for what they believed in (whatever that was) and many will also be quite discontent once that their expectations will not be fulfilled. This is not due to Brexit itself, but it’s not mathematically possible that a certain situation/outcome can satisfy 100% of the ones who voted for it. It doesn’t exist and never did. If anyone believes it, they must believe in unicorns and fairy tales too (let me catch my broom before they arrive here though).
10) Expectactions about the government paying for EU subsidies lost. Afraid that is a dream from another planet. Taxpayers will replace those subsidies, with higher taxes. I expect Hammond to announce that at some point (as Hunt and Green clearly announced yesterday; they will kick sick/disabled people in the curb and send them to work. No more hand-outs).
11) The widespread belief that British citizens married with EU citizens should stay here in UK out of patriotic loyalty to their country, instead of following their spouses elsewhere once the EU spouses had enough of getting berated by the populace and the press (the latter is believed to be unacceptable behaviour, because ‘us’ the scroungers took advantage of the British system and we can’t go away without, at least, leaving our British husbands or wives here).
12) The belief of a trickle-down benefit system due to leaving the EU. This is a pet peeve of mine because the logic of it escapes me. If you leave a country/union/etc., there’s always something to pay (that would be the same for Scotland leaving the UK). Expectations of no change in negative terms are unrealistic. The ‘earthquake’ generated by such huge decisions will have many aftershocks. As many could see in the recent, real earthquakes in Italy, many valuable historical and archaeological assets simply crumbled down after 3-4 earthquakes. Economy will suffer the same after Brexit. The further expectation that ‘I eat something less today to get something more tomorrow’ is also silly because very often you won’t get anything tomorrow. Future is never certain, it’s why it’s future and not present. You could acknowledge the uncertainty and hope due to a choice, but it’s totally unrealistic to believe something positive will unequivocally come out of Brexit. Nobody knows and if history is anything to go by, the negative will bite first and for a lot longer than imagined (I’ve visited East Germany recently and in some parts it’s as awful as it was in 1989 when the Berlin Wall crumbled down).
13) Expectations of a better future for lower classes and the poor whilst a right-wing government is in power. This escapes my logical skills too. I NEVER heard such a thing; there’s not a right-wing government acting for the interests of the poor classes on all the planet. The concept itself is dumb. This point is the one who baffles me the most and it nearly pushed me to choose ‘Brexit cult’ instead of religion in the title. Poor classes are slaves from the point of view of the well-off classes. They don’t give a damn about who dies, who’s disabled, who has a problem, etc. Poor classes are expendable (as slaves were expendable in ancient Athens or Rome). Brexit or anything else is not going to change that, no matter how much people believe it. If financially speaking something positive comes out of Brexit, the benefits will be assimilated at the level they arrive first (= the top tier of the population). Anyone under that level, not only they won’t get any substantial benefits but they will have to pay for all the negatives too.
14) Expectations that granting the privilege to stay (or come, through a visa system) to some high-skilled immigrants will automatically mean they will stay (out of gratitude?) or that they will queue up at the British border in droves. This line of thought can be associated with attitudes towards skilled British citizens too, who are expected to stay and contribute to the system they took advantage of. It’s utter delusion to think that you can force upon migrants or citizens a reasoning of gratitude or patriotic loyalty. Many migrants who are highly skilled migrate for better opportunities; if they have family, they also gather information about the whole school system or healthcare system, how accessible or expensive they are, what the country has to offer for the future. As a migrant, I know that the United Kingdom enjoyed a high migration for Europe because of the free movement rule. But how will it fare a post-Brexit Britain in that regard? I suspect that there won’t be any need of controlling immigration after 2019, because only the uncertainty caused by Brexit will last two decades and many immigrants will bet their and their own families’ lives/future in more appealing countries (this without even counting the bad reputation UK has recently earned after the xenophobic accidents and murders).
15) Attitude to extensive generalisations, on everyone’s part:
- Many middle class people voted Leave, as well as people from the upper classes;
- Many Remainers are also xenophobic and would shoot an immigrant in the face if they had a gun;
- Anyone who didn’t vote is NOT actually a Remainer, they just chose not to vote and never took a side;
- University students voted Leave; some of them were so ignorant to believe UK was financing the NHS of other countries (I personally heard this one; what a waste of education!);
- A large percentage of EU citizens who voted as dual citizens also voted to Leave and not to Remain.
N.B. : Rude, impolite, xenophobic, racist comments won’t be published. I have zero tolerance for that crap.