Gransnet forums


Expat opinions!

(76 Posts)
ninny Tue 19-Mar-13 10:30:59

I cannot understand why expats who have fled this country for one reasons or another have such strong opinions re the government, the budget, immigration and welfare. Why not concentrate on your new life and country.

ninny Wed 20-Mar-13 08:55:18

I can understand Expats being interested in the country where they were born and that they might still have family here. It's just that some have such extreme views on the government, especially immigration levels and benefit spending when they do not live here any more and it does not personally affect them. Obviously we can all have an opinion, even me!

Sel Wed 20-Mar-13 09:11:03

I think various members posting here are living in France - I'd be interested to hear how they think it differs, what problems they face there, if any. It seems much of Europe is facing similar issues but with the Socialist Government in France adopting a different method of tackling the economic crisis, is it better?

Mamie Wed 20-Mar-13 09:18:42

I think you might need to define extreme? I can confidently say that none of my views of the above are different from those of my family and friends who do live permanently in the UK.
I am sure you would find plenty of expats who do rage about immigration in the UK, in fact it seems for some of them that is why they have decided to become immigrants. I have met people who see no irony in complaining about immigrants who don't learn English in the UK, whilst failing to learn French themselves.

absent Wed 20-Mar-13 10:14:38

Mamie I don't think Sel, who is the person I quoted, is an ex-pat.

Butty Wed 20-Mar-13 10:26:40

Of course, Ninny, and it's an interesting
In fact, I love much of what Britain has to offer, and hope to return in the not too distant future. I miss it, and for all it's faults, it's still a good place to be.
I don't belong to any ex-pat forums, as I've never wanted to, but I understand there can be some extreme views expressed on them. Have to say haven't read any extreme views on GN re. this subject.

Mamie Wed 20-Mar-13 10:34:57

No indeed not, absent, sorry.
The economy in France, sel? That is a huge and complex problem. I think, and others may disagree, that the biggest problem is related to a deep conservatism and a lack of willingness to change at all levels. Small businesses have it very hard here. Social contributions (not taxes) are punitive. When we ran a business we paid about fifty per cent of everything we took (not profit) in charges for health cover, pensions, maternity etc. If you take on staff you pay a huge percentage of their salary again in contributions. So small businesses find it very hard to grow. The hierarchies of bigger business are rigid and team work and flexibility are not well-established. People still expect their métier to be for life and qualifications are everything.
The use of the internet is under-developed and you can often enquire about something you would like to buy and get no response. There seems to be a massive lack of accountability in many systems and people are amazed when you talk about targets that you had to meet in your profession in the UK.
On the plus side personal debt is much lower and people still want to buy French if they can, though this is changing.
Will Hollande be any more successful than Sarkozy in bringing about change? I am not convinced so far and he is very unpopular.
These are just my views based on our experiences, media and talking to people. Others may have a different view.

flowerfriend Wed 20-Mar-13 10:42:45

I am British and I live in France. I pay tax on income I receive from the UK. I also pay tax in France. I worked in the UK for 33 years before moving here. I paid tax. I receive a UK 'old age pension'. I am interested in UK politics. I am interested in French politics. I am known to express my opinions about UK and French politics.

Thank you Ninny for the thread!

Butty Wed 20-Mar-13 10:43:57

mamie Got in it one!
When my husband taught French (to ex-pats), we were hit very hard with taxes, particularly the 'social tax'. When the exchange rate took a dive, there were those who couldn't afford to pay. We packed it up a couple of years ago, untied ourselves and are now 'properly retired'! smile

flowerfriend Wed 20-Mar-13 10:47:03

Hollande is now as unpopular as Sarkozy ever was.

Mamie Wed 20-Mar-13 10:52:00

I remember someone on an expat forum saying, "France is OK for old f*rts who like gardening". Don't disagree with that and wouldn't recommend it to anyone wanting to run a business.
Apologies for being off topic and to those who don't like gardening...

Sel Wed 20-Mar-13 17:29:31

Mamie thank you for a very interesting description - good to have that from your perspective. I wonder how far France is from being the next EU 'case'. Sadly I think they are becoming so uncompetitive in world markets - I think they are possibly trumped by Belgium in social costs and employment protection. I know one large multinational company that has pulled out of both countries because of the social costs and the employment laws. Maybe it's not so bad here after all.

There must be compensations I'm sure smile

Mamie Wed 20-Mar-13 17:40:27

Lots of compensations - peace, quiet, low property prices, beautiful language and a glorious landscape with mountains, sea and magnificent countryside. We find the people are lovely too, though others may disagree.
If the French can capitalise on what they have then all will be well I think. If change doesn't come then there is a difficult road ahead.
I am sure we will come back to the UK eventually, but infinitely richer (not materially!) for our French experience. Still lots to love about the UK too and maybe we see that more clearly now.

Joan Fri 29-Mar-13 07:28:07

I have dual nationality - British and Australian. I take an informed interest in politics of he whole world, and sometimes post my opinions. I have close family in Yorkshire, France and Scotland, and friends in other countries, and have lived in Austria and New Zealand.

Why should I not put my fillings in here? I read the BBC news and the Guardian, and even the DM for a good laugh. I also read French and German papers when something happens in their areas, to try to get a full perspective.

I never fled anywhere, just moved to where I wanted to move. Oh, perhaps I tell a lie - at 19 I left a hopeless boyfriend, parents I wasn't getting on with, and a job I deeply disliked, to be an 'au pair' in Vienna. Not sure if it was fleeing, but I did have fun. I went back to England in the end and married a sailor who had itchy feet just like me.

Some of us are natural nomads, but we still love and care for our country of origin.

Ariadne Fri 29-Mar-13 07:33:55

OP lost interest, then?

flowerfriend Fri 29-Mar-13 09:15:51

Joan Well put, as usual.

Ariadne Yes!

Greatnan Fri 29-Mar-13 13:23:14

I don't feel the need to justify myself to anybody. Does 'extreme' mean 'Not my own views?' Could there be a touch of envy here? grin
Suprising how many of this type of post we get - provocative, but with little follow-up.

JessM Fri 29-Mar-13 14:20:03

Boring isn't it when people don't actually discuss just pronounce and flounce.


Greatnan Fri 29-Mar-13 14:21:37

Yes, especially when they use words like 'extreme' without defning what they mean.

Joan Fri 29-Mar-13 22:24:53

JessM 'Pronounce and flounce' - I love that!! (The expression, not the deed)

nanaej Fri 29-Mar-13 23:34:41

The country where I live is steeped in history, has beautiful countryside, lakes, hills, areas of natural beauty. It has vibrant cities where you can eat food and meet people from almost every country in the world. The tax I have paid means I do not have to worry about paying medical or educational costs when I need them. I have good friends and the people I meet in the course of work etc are mostly friendly and courteous. I am free to practice any religion or none.
I like to visit other parts of the world and have made good friends on my travels.

In some press/media it has become the thing to always moan about GB/UK and to focus on the worst aspects and highlight them.... that is because it sells the papers and not always because it is the absolute truth or a balanced picture!

I am an optimist. I know there are some terrible situations and circumstances. My work brought me in close contact with people in dire straits.
The UK could always do better..where in the world is perfect? But on the whole for me the 'pro' list outweighs the 'cons' list.

If some people choose to live in a country other than the one they were born in, that's fine by me. and if they want to express opinions and ideas , well of course they can! I can comment on France or anywhere else. I think the problem people have with commenting is more to do with when it appears to be 'bashing or moaning'..well I do not like that wherever anyone lives!

There I have had my two penny's worth! grin

Mamie Sat 30-Mar-13 05:32:56

To be fair, the OP did come back and talk a bit more about what she meant.

Stansgran Sat 30-Mar-13 09:27:45

A couple of years ago I read about a family who had left the UK for Spain. The father was ailing ?demented I can't remember but they brought him back dumped him in an NHScemergency department and went back. They did not want to pay what they had to pay for him in Spain . I know when I was looking for a house in Spain most of the ones shown to me by the estate agent were on sale because one of the owners was ill and wanted to return to the NHS for all its faults.

Mamie Sat 30-Mar-13 10:39:34

I think we have all met the people who come here moaning about the UK: weather, immigrants (without any sense of irony that they have become immigrants themselves), prices, the NHS, yob culture etc etc. Then they find out that France is not "living the dream" either, they don't learn the language and they sell up and go back. I think you have to want to move to another country for positive reasons not to escape from real or perceived problems.
I love the UK and will find lots of positives in moving back eventually. I love France too and it suits us at the moment, but probably not for ever. I really can't see why anyone would have a problem with that.

Greatnan Sat 30-Mar-13 13:33:37

I didn't leave England for any negative reasons and I never run it down. I simply wanted a chance to explore more widely without being reliant on planes, ferries or the Chunnel. The climate of France suits my health too. I have spent over 50 years of my life in the UK and visited many beautiful regions but there is so much to see in the rest of the world - why should I limit myself?
When I leave France, that will also not be for negative reasons, but because I want to be near to my loving family in New Zealand.
Of course, neither France nor NZ are free from problems - I would have to be pretty stupid not to realise that, and although I have been accused of many things on this forum, stupidity has not been one of them. smile

JessM Sat 30-Mar-13 14:25:47

nanaej it is not only expats that whinge about UK. It is a national disease that does not affect other countries I have spent time in.
Worst thing about Uk if you ask me.
If anyone wants a "proud to be british" boost you could try a conducted tour of the Olympic site. A homage to UK project management and construction. Hard hats compulsory. (assuming you could not go to the Olympics)
But no coming back and whinging about the Amish Kapoor tower. It is what it is. grin