Brexit: Short interview with British citizen living in Oporto, Portugal

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Ben Reader is a 25 year old British painter from Cornwall living in Oporto, Portugal. He talks about the uncertainty and impact that Brexit brought to his life, less than one week from the second vote for the Brexit deal (12.03).

Photo by: Natália Canadas


Natália Canadas [NC]: So [inaudible 00:00:02] when did you move to Portugal in the first place?

Ben Reader [BR]: So I must have moved about three and a half years ago now. About 2015.

NC: And you are working in Portugal?

BR: Yes. I’m working, freelancing in Portugal.

NC: The Portuguese government, they assure that even the Brexit happens with no deal, they’re going to protect the British people in Portugal. But how do you feel about the situation?

BR: Well I don’t think anything is completely certain. And I’ve spoke to border control agencies myself. And it seems actually the people living away from Portugal and the ones living in Britain, have to take certain precautionary measures to remain residents here. Which I also don’t think is fair for people that maybe have decide in the future they want to come. Or people younger than us that-

NC: What is your work about?

BR: I paint, and sell board games and books. This kind of thing can effectively happen everywhere. But as it’s freelance, at the moment this is where I’m selling from.

NC: And what are the precautions that you have to take?

BR: Well at the moment I’m having to gain a Resident’s Permit. Where basically as a precaution for whatever happens for me to remain where I’ve been for the year; somewhere I’m comfortable.

NC: And what do you think is going to happen if the 12 of March the second deal is also not approved by the parliament?

BR: Well I honestly think the natural and most obvious way to go is just to forget the whole thing really. Because it’s just caused a lot of unnecessary uncertainty and I don’t know, just strife.

NC: So you think it’s a possibility that Brexit doesn’t even happen?

BR: Possibly. But it’s good to be I don’t know, aware that anything could really happen.

NC: And did you vote for Brexit?

BR: No I didn’t.

NC: But you were in England at that time?

BR: No, I was in Portugal.

NC: But if you were in England, would you vote for it?

BR: If I was, I would’ve voted to remain.

NC: And what about your family?

BR: So my family voted to leave. And I also by asking British people, my friends and everything, it seems that there was quite a young to old kind of vote in the system. It seems like older generations were voting through kind of principles and through these ideas that were kind of fed through the newspapers. A lot of it was in the media at the time of Brexit, saying was for leaving the EU. And a lot of the things and comments that were made, were simply not true.

NC: So do you think the older generation wasn’t really aware of what Brexit mean [crosstalk 00:03:26]

BR: I don’t think they’re aware at all.

NC: So what do your family says about it now that it’s causing you a lot of trouble?

BR: Well, I mean it’s clear like I mean the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Like the evidence is all there, but in fact they’re still actually with the same idea.

BR: This is probably, I’m thinking, because of the tabloid and broadsheet newspapers that are still kind of going with these things. A lot of them, well most of them are privately owned by corporations very interested in making money out of this deal.

NC: So and do you plan to go back to the UK?

BR: At the moment? No. Because obviously with uncertainty I think it’s best I’m actually this side of the sea.

NC: Okay. And do you think if there was a second referendum the votes would be totally different?

BR: I think that they would change. Yes. And I think for a lot of people if not everyone, they would see the logic in staying, at this point.

NC: Okay thank you.

BR: Thank you.

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