Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 10 Jul 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Brexit – the future for your correspondent

Things happen for a reason. When I had my breakdown, I found the circumstances around it baffling. I’d tried to be a good person, tried to do the right thing in difficult situations and yet still my head was attacking me, saying that I was worthless and that my life would inevitably end in my death by suicide. Continued existence was delaying the inevitable. In time, I came to see this process as being necessary if I was ever going to be happy again, but that’s with the benefit of four years’ very painfully won hindsight. And so it is with the referendum.

In short, the result was the kick up the backside that I needed. Ever since Jean Charles de Menezes was killed and the Met’s narrative that he was wearing a bulky jacket, had hurdled the turnstiles without a ticket and had then run onto the train started to unravel, I’d been thinking about the state of being British and what it meant. The more I thought, the more it didn’t look like what it was cracked up to be and the more it didn’t look like it was cracked up to be, the more I wanted to leave with a passive kind of dull ache.

Now that’s gone from passive to active. The first action was to apply for e-residency of Estonia so that I can still do business in the EU after Britain limps out, mumbling about taking back control of its sovereignty and ends up working in a call centre. But the next action will take a lot longer to achieve and calls for much more patience. And that’s leaving the UK for good.

For the first time in my life, I’ve suddenly got a purpose. There are probably around two years until Britain is banished, which gives me two years to get my feet under another country’s table. During that time and, using my e-residency, I aim to start approaching European advertising and comms agencies and offering them my services. In time, I hope to push the freelance jobs a bit further by actually working in those countries for a extended periods of time and then just not coming home at all. Presumably countries give residency permits, and that’s what I’m after.

The offer to the host country – and right now, I don’t mind who it is – will be that I pay all my taxes in that host country, learn to speak the language and, should I be lucky enough to actually become a citizen, never vote in elections. Why? Because I’ll be so bloody grateful that I’m there, I’ll trust the rest of the citizens to decide who should govern them. I’ll apologise excessively, cede my place in queues and generally behave like I’m glad people don’t push me into the street, because I will be. Hugely and utterly grateful.

It means that I feel, suddenly, a strange sense of separation from politics. The idiotic Comrade Corbyn situation, where a man who looks like a lecturer in social sciences at a low-rent polytechnic is about to be challenged by someone who looks like a supply teacher and votes like a Tory doesn’t affect me. Nor does the Tory contest in which the woman who thinks a working uterus is a qualification for the job is opposing someone who thinks that civil liberties are what happens to people in other countries, but not the British.

This means that I don’t have skin in the game. As a freelance, I set my working conditions, pay my own pension and generally have to take care of myself, which means that I won’t be affected by pretty much any leader of a political party, Prime Minister or not. What affects me most is tax and what it pays for and that’s something I have no control over anyway. When I start, hopefully, earning money in Europe and paying it into my Estonian bank account, I’ll pay Estonian taxes. What May or, more probably, Leadsom, want to fix the rate at is immaterial.

Thomas Paine once said that there should be no taxation without representation, to which I say a massive, fat meaty ‘bollocks.’ I don’t want my taxes to pay for English schools, hospitals and roads, because I don’t like England. I’d rather they paid for whichever country shows faith in me. And the representation point is moot. As I said, I’ll trust whatever country I settle in to determine who its leaders are. I neither want to vote nor will vote given the chance.

In the words of another great American, Malcolm X, albeit in a very different context, I’ll become a citizen of another country ‘by any means necessary.’ And when that citizenship comes, I’ll be resigning my British citizenship, that unwanted, tatty thing, and either posting my passport back, shitting in it and then posting it back or just setting it on fire. This will have to wait, however. For the time being, there’s the altogether trickier task of trying to build a life elsewhere. My email efforts start in earnest tomorrow.

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