I’m seriously thinking of emigrating to an EU country. I might even claim to be a political refugee (from Tory oppression in England). There are plenty of continental countries which will apparently welcome us Remainers in, with guarantees of ‘pubs, marmite and social awkwardness’ to ease the cultural transition: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jul/01/europeans-invite-brits-to-relocate-promising-pubs-marmite-and-social-awkwardness. – I find that very touching. We hardly deserve it.
For me, of course, the obvious choice is Sweden, where I already have residency rights. Apparently I’m not alone here. Applications for Swedish citizenship from Brits have gone up 500% since Brexit: http://www.thelocal.se/20160628/citizenship-applications-up-500-for-brits-in-sweden. I’ve looked up the relevant official page on the internet, and the requirements don’t seem to be all that high:
“To become a Swedish citizen you must:
- be able to prove your identity
- have reached the age of 18
- have a permanent residence permit, a right of residence or residence card in Sweden
- have fulfilled the requirements for period of residence (lived in Sweden for a specified period)
- have conducted yourself well in Sweden.”
Well: those don’t seem to be too daunting. I think I’ve conducted myself pretty well in Sweden, haven’t I, Kajsa, apart from that time when I knocked my glass of beer over everyone in a pub near Kulturhuset? They don’t even demand that I learn Swedish. Or shoot an elk, or build a sommarhus with my own bare hands.
Easy-peasy. I think I’ll go for it. (Dual citizenship, of course, in case Sweden is taken over by those awful Sweden Democrats – the equivalent of our UKIP – and Britain comes to its senses one day. Two bolt-holes are better than one.)
Of course I haven’t read the small print. There may be other conditions listed there which would make it more difficult for me. I’m over 18, certainly, but quite a bit over, with various infirmities which might make me an increasing burden on the health system there. I can currently support myself from my UK pension, but with the pound plummeting that might not last very long. And they might have noticed a number of articles I’ve written – some on this website – criticizing their legal procedures (vis-a-vis Assange). On the other hand, politically I’m as Swedish as the Swedes, and much more so than most of my compatriots. And also a feminist. I know that’s important.
The only question of principle is whether it is really honourable to take flight. Shostakovitch and Prokofiev were faced with the same dilemma in Soviet Russia, with the latter being widely criticised for choosing to flee to the US. Shouldn’t I stay at home, helping to man the barricades against the insurgent Faragists, instead of enjoying a life of ease scoffing sill and grossly expensive beer in a metre of snow in Stockholm? Where’s my patriotism? Wouldn’t it be more loyal of me to suffer more years of English food and rain in the cause of my country? Rather than turning tail and copping out of my responsibilities, like Boris did yesterday.
But I would miss the steak and kidney puds. And proper fish and chips (battered, not breaded, greasy chips, and mushy peas). And the bread-and-butter puddings. And of course the cricket. And my family and friends – though they can always come over to stay: if Sweden doesn’t ban them in revenge for Brexit. And – yes – the rain.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.