“With Brexit fast approaching (or not?), and massive queues through baggage check and passport control, it’s clear that dream died. R.I.P. that E.U. utopia”
I had a depressing exchange of views on Facebook last week with a friend – mid 40s, and well educated – who was having a girn about how long it takes to get onto Eurostar in London.
Her comment about “that dream” relates to the expectation of the EU enabling frictionless travel and the Channel Tunnel facilitating it for the UK. When I suggested the freedom of movement dream is alive and well elsewhere in the EU, but the UK has turned its back on it, I got a snotty response…
“… it’s only the privileged few who travel who would have noticed.”
Being very aware of having just a few days left as an EU citizen, her comments and attitude were a reminder of the twisted attitudes of so many in the UK, much of it just based on abject ignorance and whipped up by xenophobic politicians and the media.
Scotland is much less affected by it than our cousins down south, but we have our bampot minority.
Her comments made me think of the people in Ireland (north and south of the border) who drive across the open border freely as if it doesn’t exist – perhaps just folk in the south going shopping in north because it is a bit cheaper. Or the people who live in County Donegal and commute across “the border” into Derry to work.
For the benefit of those who have not had the privilege, the border does not exist except on paper. When you drive across it, only the different road signs give it away.
People who live in the south of Bavaria don’t even think about there being a border with Austria when they drive across it for a weekend of hiking in the Alps – except for buying a vignette if they have to go on an Austrian Autobahn.
Again, only the change of roadsigns marks the border.
Those living in the east of the Freistaat might think about “the border” with the Czech Republic when they drive across to fill the car with fuel, but only because it’s cheaper on the Czech side.
Folk in Vilnius don’t think they are crossing a border when they jump on a bus to Rīga to visit friends or family. The bus doesn’t even stop at the border. There is no security or customs or passport control.
Aye, the “privileged few who travel”.
Perhaps I wound her up with my comment about flying from Helsinki to Vilnius via Rīga in December, without showing my passport once? Well, she was taking the train to Paris to catch a plane to Martinique.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019 🏴🇪🇺