Updated 17 December: The FCO has released the following video of the UK’s ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, saying that it explains what the result of the General Election means for UK Nationals living in Spain and the implications of leaving the EU with a deal on 31 January 2020. Registering as a resident remains the key action point. For further information see the Living in Guide at gov.uk/livinginspain. The FCO adds their apologies for the subtitles being slightly out of sync, but say that they thought it was more important to get the message out sooner rather than later!
Updated 16 December: A suggestion for British nationals to acquire associate EU citizenship made three years ago by Guy Verhofstadt has resurfaced now through an initiative by Jolyon Maugham, barrister and founder of the Good Law Project. As I understand it, it was a suggestion Theresa May rejected but which Maugham, supported by the likes of Richard Dawkins, thinks that Boris Johnson might consider. For those who are interested in signing the petition, which Dawkins says “would be a wonderful way for Mr Johnson to move towards reconciling Britain’s two warring tribes”, just click HERE.
I accept this is a contentious subject, and this is likely to be a topic generating anger, mockery, and more, so I would just ask people interested to click the link, and everyone else just to ignore. It is a post for information, not a direct suggestion.
Updated 15 December: The Adeje volunteer Focus group has another batch of appointments for those who still need to register with the police. Brexit Day now is likely to be 31 January assuming PM Johnson gets the Withdrawal Agreement passed in the House of Commons as he is expected to do. There are therefore just six weeks left until the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union.
If you are a British national living in Tenerife and still not registered as resident in Spain, or are unclear as to the permanent nature of your status, these appointments are specifically for the purposes with the Spanish authorities, and as before, they are only available through FOCUS. Anyone who is still not registered to reside legally in Spain, and who meets the criteria for registration should email FOCUS at firstname.lastname@example.org putting RESIDENCY as the subject line of the email. In the body of the email, explain your specific situation (working, self-employee or non-working) and give your contact details: you will be contacted in due course to be allocated an appointment. Please note that if you do not speak Spanish you might need to arrange a translator to accompany you to the appointment.
The Focus group cannot deal with any queries by phone; this is simply to allocate appointments and provide information of documents needed for your appointment.
Updated 13 December: After a landslide victory for the Conservative Party last night, there will at least no longer be Parliamentary paralysis. Those who wanted to remain in the EU and stop Brexit were always up against it, with all analysts assessing the chances of a second referendum as never better than 25%, usually much less. Now, the Conservatives are likely to have a Queen’s Speech and a minor reshuffle before Christmas, and then in January, “Get Brexit Done”. The focus will then shift to the Implementation Period, now much reduced from the initial two years to just one: Johnson has until the end of 2020 to get a trade deal with the EU and has refused to request an extension.
For its own part, the EU has already reacted with pleasure, not to the result as such, but to the scale of the victory as indicated by the exit poll. At least there’s clarity, they say … along with “Goodbye to our British friends”. Another goodbye might yet be due to Scotland, with the SNP looking to make such gains as to be in virtual total control north of the border. With regard to the other border, in Ireland, the DUP are unlikely to trust Johnson now but he will no longer need them, and Irish reunification cannot be ruled out. It could be that the UK will exit not just the European Union, but its own.
Next year, then, will be momentous, because not only will the UK leave the EU on 31 January, the following 11 months will see hectic negotiations for the country’s future trading and political relationship with the EU. Domestically, almost certainly pressure will be applied from Scotland for an independence referendum, and a civil war is equally likely to erupt in Labour over the direction, and indeed the soul, of the Party. As to the Lib Dems, long thought to be wrong in following a focus-group-led policy of Revoke and so ignoring the 17m or so who voted Leave, their future seems likely now to become something of an irrelevant sideshow.
Conservatives and Leave supporters will be jubilant after this election result. Naturally so. Their opponents will be distraught because this, unlike other elections, will change the shape and future direction of the UK and, of course, take the country out of the European Union. As such, it has been an election of values as much as politics. The losers will be in sore need of comfort, and it is in short supply, but at least, at last, there will be clarity, and paralysis was helping no-one. And Johnson will have such a majority that not only will he not need the DUP, he won’t need the ERG either: that is a crumb of comfort for those who are hoping for a softer Brexit. No-one really knows what sort of Brexit Johnson wants, but he has the chance now to pivot not just to a hard Brexit, the hardest sort that the ERG want, but to a soft central one. That at least is now a possibility. I hope it brings some comfort to those in distress on a monumental night.