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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

So you gotta let me know. Should I stay or should I go?

Our voting papers arrived on Friday. That's a good start. Huntingdonshire District Council blithely denied me the right to vote in the last General Election when they failed to get the voting papers to me. "We send out a lot of overseas voting papers, some are forced to get lost", was their pathetic excuse.

Anyway I put the cross in the box, Maggie did likewise and the forms went in the post today.

Just an interesting thing about posting the ballot papers. You can see, if you look at the photo, that the envelope reads No Stamp Required yet, in the "Quick Guide to Postal Voting", which came with the ballot paper, it says, "Seal and post envelope B. If it's posted in the UK, this will be free." When I got to the Post Office I asked for stamps for the envelopes and the woman in the Post Office told me there was no need. I insisted and explained that the instructions were quite clear. I presume that she has said the same thing to lots of other Britons returning their ballot papers. Am I being oversuspicious if I sesnse a touch of skulduggery there?

I don't normally tell anyone how I voted. It's something between me and the ballot box, well me and the ballot box and probably some department that secretly compiles the records of who voted how in case they are ever needed. But in 1972, in 1975 and this time around I'm definitely pro European.

I'm sure that a Spaniard has asked me about the UK leaving the EU but I don't actually remember the conversation. It was certainly no more than a passing comment. There isn't that much interest in what the UK does or doesn't do amongst your average Spaniard as far as I can gauge. It gets reported of course so it's on the radio and TV every now and again. I have had the conversation with a few Britons. Usually in that conversation I get cross because it seems to me that one of the driving forces behind the anti EU movement in the UK is plain and simple racism or at least xenophobia. I've stopped trying to put together a cogent argument. I can't be bothered to argue with racists any more and I no longer hope they will have a road to Damascus moment. Nowadays I've adopted the Dame Helen Mirren approach, you know, the one where she says that she regrets not telling more people to “f*** off” though I usually restrict myself to refuting their idiotic remarks with the single word "bollocks".

It could be interesting times ahead if we Britons here had to do something like the nationality test that other non EU foreigners are submitted to. First of all there is a level test in Spanish, which a lot of us would fail, then there is the series of questions about the country. These are questions one and eighteen from a sample paper:

1. Según la Constitución española, la soberanía nacional reside en el pueblo, del que proceden...
a) las leyes orgánicas del Estado. b) los estatutos de autonomía. c) los poderes del Estado

18. ¿Cuál es la fiesta más famosa en Cádiz y Canarias?
a) El Carnaval. b) La Semana Santa. c) Los Sanfermines.

If you are a Briton living in Spain how did you do?

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