Originally Posted by
The depressing aspect of discussing free movement is how many people in the UK just look inwards. Perhaps we are just like that, condemned to look inwards. Could it be because, thanks to the USA, English has become so widely spoken abroad that we have no incentive to learn foreign languages? No drive to explore.
The Tories can talk all they like about us becoming a great trading nation again but the British now are more like hobbits than the British explorers and settlers of old, who colonised America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa... look at a map of the world and see how tiny the UK is.
England, and it is the English who are most like this, is about 360 miles across at the longest point, and that is from North to South. You can drive it in under 6 hours. Now look at the rest of the world, the sheer size, wonder and rich diversity of it. It's forests, mountains, deserts, glaciers, jungles, deltas and plains. And what do the majority of the English think about that? "Ooh. Wouldn't want to live there." No, let's all stay in our tiny walled country garden of an island and object furiously to the people who are prepared to visit and live in and work in more than 0.16% of the worlds land area.
It's a lot of ifs but if Turkey had cleaned up its act and joined the UK, yes there would be more Turks living and working in this rainy, windswept rock of a country. But you could live and work in Istanbul. Or retire to Cappadocia. Or (potentially) buy a house with a sun drenched terrace overlooking the Golden Horn.
Just as, prior to us leaving the EU, you could have lived and worked and retired anywhere in the EU. From sun kissed blue skied Tenerife to the snow carpeted north of Sweden, with reindeer pottering through your garden.
For some reason we only think about people trying to get in. Going out doesn't seem to occur to us. Like a frightened, housebound old lady with a dozen locks on her front door.
Totally agree with this. The UK is extremely insular.
Never did I understand this more than when I was an Erasmus student. In Germany, where I went, students were all going or had all gone on study years abroad. Within Europe, to America, even to places as far away as Korea. And no matter what they were studying, too. Here was a chance to go abroad, see a bit more of the world, get some financial assistance towards it, study alongside different people and experience new cultures and new ideas. British students? I didn't meet a single British student during my 3 years in the UK who did the same unless they were studying modern languages. Not one. Lack of interest probably and lack of awareness certainly. A shame but also one of many factors that explains the attitude towards Europe and certainly the lack of understanding of cultures that are not Anglo-Saxon.
It took living abroad for me to really grasp just how insular the UK is.