Eighteen Percent

Although I will readily admit to being a political animal, I am loth to bring politics into this blog which is about my life in Spain, and particularly here in Frigiliana. However, just now and then politics seems to elbow its way into my life, and as it affects my life here so I comment. A lot of people who voted 'leave' in the recent referendum tell me that I have nothing to worry about and that nothing has changed, the implication being that none of the things I fear will happen either. I have two things to say to that position; firstly if nothing has changed it is because Article 50 has not yet been triggered and so the UK is still a full member of the EU, and will continue to enjoy the benefits of membership until it actually does leave. My second point, however, is that they are wrong. Already certain things have changed. If you recall, back in February when David Cameron announced a referendum for 23rd June, I referred to we expat Brits as having had our lives put on hold for four months. Then the result was announced on 24th June - a narrow majority in favour of leaving - and the uncertainty was prolonged; the hypothetical questions I had set out in February became actual, important questions, the only honest answer to them being that no one knows what will eventually be agreed. You may be surprised to learn that between David Cameron's announcement in February and this morning, the pound has lost 18% of its value against the euro, which is almost a fifth and there are no signs that this decline will now stop. So what you may wonder; that makes Britain's exports cheaper. It also makes the raw materials imported to produce those goods to be exported that much more expensive. For me it means that my home in Spain, which as you know is on the market, is now much more expensive to any would-be British buyer. We have had to respond by substantially reducing the asking price, so that is one thing that has already changed, just as the stream of British property seekers has slowed to a trickle. How long will that prevent me from making the move back to the UK that I need to make? Of course, looking on the bright side that means that I can enjoy this lotus-eating lifestyle in the sun for that much longer. Except I'm not sure lotuses will remain on the menu. Since 24th June when the referendum result was announced, my UK state pension which is paid into my bank here in Spain in euros, has now dropped by €30 a week. My wife has suffered a similar reduction. Between us we have over €200 euros a month less to live on. You see what I mean when I say that politics has elbowed its way into our life.

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