SORREL DOWNER

Journalist, film producer, and media consultant, mixing it up for TV, online, newspapers and magazines. I cover travel & tourism, lifestyle, and design. Mainly. This is the HQ for previous work, and an introduction to current projects. I work all over the world and live on a farm in Cadiz which I write about at www.somewheresville.org.

A REFERENDUM RANT

It’s a small sidebar in the whole Brexit palaver but it says everything about enduring, prevailing, out-of-the-loop, backward looking little Britain attitudes. Shame on The Guardian, The Independent, the BBC and less surprisingly The Telegraph et al for illustrating each and every (often nuanced) referendum story on the possible repercussions for British nationals living and working in Spain with stock shot risible images of flabby topless blokes with pints in bars slathered with union flags, and pensioners tucking into all-day breakfasts on the costas.

Yes, there are ‘expat enclaves’ of retirees – it’s a free world (or kind of was), and people choosing to live that way would be adversely affected by a leave vote too. But they are a minority and this is a stereotype. Not only a tired stereotype but, with so much in the balance, an irresponsible one.

There is a far greater number of fully integrated younger immigrants from Britain, dispersed across Spain, working and creating work opportunities, just as there are Spanish in Britain, and French in Italy, and Germans in France. People who see nationality as an accident of birth and not a restriction; who believe it’s normal and beneficial – and their right as Europeans (at least for today) – to move around in search of challenges and better lives, some of whom are raising a generation of children to transcend boundaries and think the same way. That can only be a good thing, surely?

Obviously it’s easier to fly to Murcia and grab a clichéd shot of ‘expats’ than to accurately represent a surprisingly cosmopolitan society active within a country that manages to retain its own character. I don’t know how you would show that – just ordinary people living ordinary lives, just somewhere else.

But someone on a picture desk of a national newspaper should have tried because pictures paint a thousand words. And this ridiculous referendum is about the huge issues at stake across Europe, of integration and broader horizons, freedom, unity and commonality, and not the rights of a minority somewhere to enjoy a game of darts and a pint in a Spanish bar, as important as that might be.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 22, 2016 by in Ideas and tagged .

Blog Categories