The Scandinavian Choice

In 2007 we faced a difficult decision: stay in the UK with the prospect of both being made redundant, or take a job offer in Scandinavia.

The economic climate in Britain wasn't good and there was little chance of things improving short-term. We weighed up the pros and cons and, apart from leaving friends and family, relocation was the best option.

When contemplating what lay ahead, we were sure that some things would be guaranteed.

We would have health care, we could rely on our state pensions being protected and, provided we worked and lived within the law, there was no chance that our host country would deny our right to settle.

These are the common freedoms that EU membership affords us. We made this huge life changing decision in good faith. The day after the referendum it felt as though our world had been turned upside down.

I watched events unfolding thinking, "right, so what's next?"

Can I just say, I get it! I really do. Years of austerity, a steady drip feed of media blaming the EU and immigration for all of Britains' woes, the result wasn't a surprise, more of a confirmation of how wrong things had gone since we left.

This gut wrenching uncertainty is as unresolved now as it was back then. Day after day, every decision has been 'what if?' When will we know if and how we're going to be affected? It's a constant stress, it occupies every waking moment; even sleep has eluded me at times.

There've been no answers from UK government; they've failed us as citizens: reciprocal rights have been on the table from the start as far as the EU are concerned.

A civilised nation looks after it's people. It's not just about us, it's about the hatred, the venom and aggression that's been unleashed.

Of course those undertones always existed, but the referendum result has legitimised them. Britain has downgraded itself from "Great" to mediocre, it's resulted in bile being commonplace and it's shown the world that a few bad apples can indeed rot the barrel.

Last week my nightmare came to a close, I was granted citizenship in my host country. The relief was incredible. Like many EU citizens that have chosen to relocate, we'd have little to go back to: no home, no job. I'm one of the lucky ones, for now I get to keep my British citizenship, many won't.

In some EU countries dual citizenship isn't possible. Permanent residence could mean private health insurance is required. When I compare how I've been treated, with how EU citizens in Britain have been treated, I feel ashamed.

Brexit has been hijacked by the right-wing Tories. As hard Brexit wasn't on the ballot, and the leave campaign was based on lies, the fairest solution would be a vote on the final deal. An informed choice. Why wouldn't a democracy want to give its people that freedom?

Marion @pickledpuffin

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