Great Britain - I'm sorry you're leaving!

Today is a sad date. The last day that Great Britain is a member of the European Union. Tomorrow, on the first day of 2021, everything will be different. And I, for sure, will miss the island and my British friends. The right occasion for a few lines.

Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition for Great Britain only
Saab 9-3 Turbo Edition for Great Britain only

Yes, I am a child of the old Federal Republic. Grew up in the west. London was closer to me than Dresden, Birmingham more familiar than Halle an der Saale. I've liked British cars from the start. Collecting Jaguar brochures when the driver's license was light years away. And, like so many of my generation, I loved the music they made in the UK.

Beatles instead of ABBA

Wherever possible, my pocket money was in records (an analog sound carrier) the Beatles invested. A preference that didn't necessarily meet with approval from older members of my family. Wouldn't I rather buy a record by this nice Swedish band with the 4 letters instead of English music? Yes, ABBA, of course. No, the ABBA sentimentalities only snowed into my car with Saab. Just as it took me some time to understand the aversion to what was coming from the British.

The enemy, several wars that had been waged against each other, that was firmly anchored in the minds of the ancients back then. That didn't affect my liaison with the island. One of my best friends at school came from London, my first car was a MINI. An adventurous, hot experience that literally came to a fiery end.

But the imprint remained. An open machine gun came, and that I like Saab so much has something to do with the kingdom again. Real Saab engines can hardly deny their British roots, neither can the interiors and their design. The UK was one of Saab's most successful markets for a reason. In Great Britain, the brand was in a world of its own, delighting the British with special editions just for their market until the end.

A bit of a home game for which only a production in the kingdom would have been missing.

Saab Owners Club - I was a member here
Saab Owners Club - I was a member here

I will miss Great Britain

The British Saab Club, of which I was a member for a few years, was at times the best organized and most active outside of Sweden. In the present the club is fighting. The Saab community is shrinking noticeably, Covid-19 robs what makes a club. No events, no being together and therefore no cohesion.

And because we are not only living in times of pandemic, but also of stupidity, selfishness and myopia, tonight the United Kingdom and the European continent are breaking apart. We are moving away instead of standing together, will need passports again to enter, and my sadness has nothing to do with politics.

Yes, I don't like to suffer everything that comes from Brussels either. But as long as no one has a better idea of ​​a peaceful, open Europe, this bureaucratic, restrictive, hard-to-like Union is arguably our best home.

I will miss Britain. Maybe it never made it politically in Europe? Others have to decide that, and there will be plenty of clever columns on this subject over the next few days. But the island and its culture were always present in my heart and shaped my childhood, my youth and my life.

Friends, I am sad that you are leaving. I already miss you today!

13 thoughts on "Great Britain - I'm sorry you're leaving!"

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    @ Ebasil,

    we are leaving automotive terrain. You sail too. So I turn. This is the only way we can cross against the wind.

    Let's stay in Germany, with transport and associated topics such as energy and climate policy.

    The nuclear phase-out has enjoyed a majority for many years. The Bavarian initiated and failed “foreigner toll” was not even CSU-internal - it nevertheless (keyword: political majority finding) as well as the exit from the nuclear phase-out in the meantime brought to federal political consecration.

    The Greens have explicitly removed a general speed limit (BAB) from their latest party program, although it would be eligible for a majority within the population. There is now no parliamentary force that would demand such a thing and represent the interests of the majority.

    No, finding a political majority clearly dominates the will of the majority - it starts with delegates and internally with the parties.
    In extreme cases (tolls), a fixed idea from individuals then leads to government policy via coalition negotiations and contracts, which embarrass us all over Europe and deal with courts.
    If the first nuclear phase-out had been preceded by a referendum, we would not have needed a second one, because it would have been binding regardless of political majorities. And so on ...

    For me, it is not at all about weighing the parliamentary principle against referendums, playing one off against the other. What for?

    It is obvious that both methods each have their own strengths, weaknesses and risks. The question of which method is better does not even arise to me. It is the design of a meaningful and safe mutual complement that interests me and which I consider firstly feasible and secondly (if successful) advantageous.

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    Volvaab - referendums

    Unfortunately, I have only seen the comment now, so I would like to add my mustard now. Certainly, the question of the pros and cons in referendums is a double-edged sword and must be viewed in a differentiated manner. Of course, there are positive examples of referendums that serve a good cause. For example, I would be very pleased if the Scots succeeded in becoming independent from the UK and (re) entering the EU.

    For Germany (and only for this do I have the necessary legal competence to be able to assess this), however, based on our experience, I maintain that it is a blessing that there are no referendums at federal level and therefore there is never a decision on where to stay in the EU will come this way. If you really want to get out, you can choose the appropriate party…. 🙁

    The mostly highly political and complex, especially international and bilateral questions are in my opinion absolutely unsuitable for simple yes / no decisions. In addition, there are also constitutional or even higher rights, for example from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Just think about the fact that in some cantons in Switzerland in the recent past (XNUMXs?) Men were able to deny women the right to vote by voting - fortunately that would not have been possible here either.

    The problems with election results in the US and UK have nothing to do with this question, in my opinion. The whole system there suffers above all from the majority vote. As you rightly write, for example, a candidate who had fewer votes overall than his / her opponent (Trump / H. Clinton, GW Bush / Gore) could become president twice. For this reason, coalitions are practically unknown there - which in my opinion represent a cornerstone of balanced political action based on political compromises.

    In this respect, too, we can be happy that the Basic Law gave us proportional representation, so that the fathers of the Basic Law were based on our own (very short) democratic past and not on the US model. The negative experiences with splinter parties and uncontrollable coalitions and the dire consequences of this made the five percent hurdle at federal level necessary.

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    @ StF,

    very nice. There are also good reasons to put Brexit into perspective. It should not stand in the way of intra-European friendship and cooperation.

    The separation is complete. Both sides now have to deal constructively with one another.

    Maybe GB will be a candidate again one day?
    And maybe then they are really ready for the EU?

    With all the love for this nation, its contradictions, traditions and quirks, the Uniited Kingdom would have failed at the time because of the accession criteria that were later applied to younger candidates and members ...

    Hardly anyone here knows, but before his wedding Tony Blair had considered changing denominations to become a Catholic for the sake of his future wife. As such, however, he would have been denied the office of Prime Minister.

    As such (Prime Minister) he has flirted with this romantic circumstance - to have been almost prevented out of love - in at least one interview. However that may be (a romantic anecdote?), A country in which something like this is in the constitution doesn't really meet EU standards ...

  • Well, I haven't checked myself yet, but I strongly suspect the British are still where they were last year. Even if some of them may want to set sail with their island and disappear, I am convinced that that will not happen. For geological reasons alone, they will continue to belong to Europe.

    In the future, too, you will have to exchange your money for pounds if you go there and still have it with cash, as in the past. You will continue to drive on the wrong side of the road, which of course historically is the right one. And does anyone seriously believe that the British no longer want to spend their holidays in Spain? I can hardly imagine.

    That is not to say that nothing will change, it will almost certainly be. Presumably they will continue to deregulate their economy and if they are a little lucky and do a good job, they may even recover from Corona faster than the EU. Something like that always has other effects, it's not as if there weren't any social problems on the island. But also in the EU.

    With the existing trade flows, we will not be able to break away from each other as quickly as the long-term effects will be seen. One could also be grateful to them for trying out the corona vaccines for us, although that is probably not their motivation.

    As we wait to see how it turns out, I wish everyone a happy new year. This of course also includes the whole of the United Kingdom, not just the little spot where you drive on the right side of the road and stay in the Schengen area :-).

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    The new year starts without a British. That is sad, Europe is weakening and that certainly plays into the cards for China, which Europe would like to see divided.
    Perhaps, and this is my little hope, the friendship between the island and the continent will now deepen and people will reflect on common roots and values. Because alone it will be difficult for the 60 million (?) Islanders in the world.

    Aside from politics, a good year 2021 for all SAAB drivers and fans!

    I hope @Tom continues to write, he has not yet commented. Which makes me a little nervous.

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    @ Ebasil (referendum),

    You have my thumbs up for many valid thoughts. But I wouldn't have said anything against the referendum principle.

    Trump in particular, or your reference to lessons from German history, show that elections and the elected are not per se of less risk than referendums.

    In purely mathematical terms, the US electoral system enables presidents who only have a good third of all votes, but with these enough states and electors, have narrowly won.
    It is also known that Hillary had more votes than Donald.

    Brexit is obviously not a good advertisement for referendums, but there are many positive examples and referendums around the world that are definitely missing. Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and so on ...

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    Tom and Aero-93 get to the point!

    In my opinion, we can count ourselves lucky that there will be no such vote in Germany as Hans is addressing, because according to our constitution no referendums are possible at this level and on such issues. The so-called "direct democracy" always sounds very good and simple in theory, but the fathers (and one mother) of the Basic Law had theirs from our horrific past and the fact that the pied piper could easily catch the people Lesson learned. The problem with all referendums is that the usually dogged but at least committed supporters of what is on the vote naturally all vote, and the others do not care, as Volvaab rightly writes. That is why referendums are highly problematic. Our Basic Law is committed to the principle of democracy and upholds and preserves it through its democratic institutions and procedures. Hopefully it will stay that way.

    Incidentally, I think (and hope) that there would be no majority in Germany anyway (at least at present) for leaving the EU. I remain optimistic and hope that everyone has learned from the terrible year 2016 and the opinion-making back then. And as the recently deceased John le Carré noted, today's Federal Republic has certainly always been much more pro-European than Great Britain ever was. It all started with the equally populist and completely unfounded extra sausages that the unfortunate Thatcher had already pushed through for the UK (“I want my money back”). Even then, the EU allowed itself to be blackmailed, even though the UK had benefited so much from it.

    Brexit is a very sad chapter - I always loved being there and I still remember the entry formalities as a child in 1977 and how much easier it was when I was there for a longer period in 2003 (with my first Saab convertible :-)) was. The next long-planned convertible trip through England's beautiful south will still be carried out, albeit in a few years.

    All the best to all Saab fans for a healthy and happy year 2021! And 1.000 thanks to Tom for his commitment and his highly informative and entertaining journalistic work!

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    As I read the headline, I would have initially thought it was about the British Saabs who are leaving the country as spare parts donors. But this is about something much deeper. I have read this very carefully, but have a slightly different opinion on some things than the comments above. The exchange is nice here.
    Anyway, I wish everyone all the best for 2021.

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    all the best Take care.

    I'm sad, too. I studied there. I see Brexit as a visitation. The majority of Brits didn't want it - didn't even think it possible.

    After the referendum, people cried who didn't even vote. Brexit and Trump have something in common. Both seemed so impossible, so absurd that it was difficult to mobilize the respective opponents.

    In the coming years, sociologists, political scientists and media scientists will be producing their final and doctoral theses on the assembly line, followed by further publications on this topic after their training and doctorate.

    Actors, musicians, celebrities, surveys and so-called social and other media had drawn a supposedly clear picture on both sides of the Atlantic and thus made Trump and Brexit possible in the first place.

    The opponents thought they were safe. The supporters or supporters (Trump / Brexit), however, were on a mission and almost 100% mobilized.

    If one wanted to advocate compulsory voting, one would find in Brexit and the election of Trump good arguments for how and why such a duty could be beneficial, even if it represented a certain encroachment on freedom.

    Freedom must also be protected. Taking part in a vote is not asking too much. Presumably prevailing moods are simply not a vote and are not taken into account in a count.

    And if you didn't want Trump or Hillary, and had no opinion on Brexit, you could have submitted an invalid note ...

    I was once a staunch opponent of compulsory voting. Today, and given that it would probably have prevented both Trump and Brexit, I am no longer so sure. The freedom to be lazy has already got a very bitter aftertaste.

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    Thanks Tom for the annual rearview mirror on Brexit. None of my ex-Brits can understand the move. But the divorce has been filed and will become law tonight. Bye
    I too think Great Britain will learn, learn, learn and knock again over the next few decades. Sometimes such a path (apparently) has to be taken. The world problems are diverse and huge. And will (MUST) be addressed. Then the GB'ers will notice how alone they are ... Community makes you strong, even if the EU sometimes only makes small steps. But things are progressing!

    @ Hans S.
    Quote: Sometimes I ask myself how would a vote in Germany turn out? We will probably never find out.

    Why should we vote too? After 1945, the Allies began to be peacefully incorporated with the “problem country” in the EU idea. Never again war, never again nationalism, was the motto. These principles still apply today. The general strengthening of nationalist aspirations shows us democratic citizens rather: Watch out! This form of government is not a sure-fire success! I'll leave it with this political statement. Economically, as the world export champion, the Federal Republic has every reason to stick with it ...
    I am more in favor of showing the people in the EU the benefits of living together.
    Means: talk about it. Nowadays nothing can be taken for granted. “Thanks” FB, twitter, instagram

    All readers a good New Year's Eve, a good start into the New Year and stay healthy!

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    Oh, that's really heavy political fare. Where do I start? I'm still angry about the way Brexit came about. This is going to be a nice political science case study about bad government and the importance of attitude, honesty and fact-based politics for future generations. On the other hand, the EU does not need members who see their membership in purely monetary terms and are always on the handbrake. Just like the EU with Poland and Hungary and with the countries that are particularly affected by the refugee issue, such as Italy and Greece. Now slowly the question of values ​​and solidarity have to be discussed. The problem with the EU is actually that an administration that is just as big as the one in Berlin cannot achieve much, not to mention dominance; the nation states, which still have no real powers, leave that to the EU want to give up, not really to. And that's exactly why there is so little progress sometimes. That weakens the EU at all levels and especially internationally. Nevertheless, a lot has happened and with the EU a lot is better than it was before. She always has to serve as a whipping boy, and the UK in particular has to struggle with a lot of home-made problems, while the EU has invested a lot in the structurally weak areas in the UK. Now the British can show how they can do it all on their own. The plan to roll up world trade as a tax haven will only go so far, because the EU will know how to defend itself, and the current agreement will then quickly become obsolete.

    I myself have lived a lot in England and Scotland and also have university degrees from both countries. While I have come to know Scotland as very pro-EU, in England I have always encountered this one sentence: “You guys in Europe…”. And this sentence really says it all. And working in London, despite the pubs, was just awful at the end of the day. A terrible working atmosphere I don't know of any country where class consciousness is as entrenched as it is there. In Germany, too, educational success depends on one's origins, which is a shame, but there, class pride, selection, old nobility and the longing for the old Empire are so present that one can actually come to the conclusion, leave us that Prove how far you can get on your own. Scotland will not want to go down this path, and even if we can only welcome recipient countries in the EU in future, I would be very happy if Scotland wanted to stay in the EU, so to speak. That fits.

    I think that after around 20 years of trials and tribulations, England will gradually come closer to the EU again. Maybe we'll get things like we did with Norway or Switzerland, so we can live with that. But that has to cost, and the advantages of membership remain unattainable, it cannot be otherwise. Coming to the UK has always been more time-consuming, we will continue to listen to pop music. Otherwise, nostalgia and sentimentality are kept within limits with me, as it should be for an involuntarily but newly divorced spouse, so to speak. The fact is that in England I have always bothered a lot, despite all the anglophile thoughts.

    If I've been to Scotland since Brexit, it's only. I have given up my second beloved car brand, Jaguar, and only care about Saab. I don't give any more orders to England. In my circle of influence, I made sure that Brexit has consequences as far as possible. Also privately. Many of my friends and acquaintances there have taken up all of the extremely questionable and flimsy arguments of the Brexiteers. If you re-drill, it often comes to light, the longing for Brittannia rules the waves. So the paint is off and I don't tolerate that way of thinking, especially when it always boils down to the EU's alleged guilt that ruined the UK. Oh yo! With Brexit, xenophobia and racism also became evident; this is not a coincidence.

    The talk of a “deal” always annoyed me the most. It's about a contract, an agreement, and given the facts, there is only lose-lose and nothing to gain for either side. “Deal”, on the other hand, should sound like there is something to be won here; however this is not the case. The EU should never have used this term. From my point of view, it should have been a hard Brexit, that would have been much more consistent, also on the part of the EU. The economy would have racked for 5 minutes, then continued. The actual trading partners, however, are us - customers and contractual partners and private consumers - and I'm by no means the only one who has phased out the UK. Last year the Brexiteers still thought it would go on and on and the numbers would even go up; yes, of course, because many companies have filled their warehouses again and have long since switched the supply chain to non-UK. In the end it is not what the EU thinks that counts, but the millions of trading partners. And anyone who only half believes in the EU knows what to do. You can still like the Beatles ... That's the difference to Trump and the USA - the USA is still the USA, but the UK carried out a Brexit and wanted a divorce, and that has consequences. England in particular now has plenty of time to rethink its role in Europe. Maybe it will be again, maybe never, and then it will fit. In any case, my children will no longer go on a school trip to England; Is that childish? Does this hit the wrong people? It may be anything, but the collective action of individuals will do a lot more for the consequences of Brexit than 1250 quickly negotiated pages of a “deal”. That will soon become apparent. It has to be a lot worse before it gets better; People only change when the pain is great enough. You don't even notice it yet, but that will come at some point.

    Yes, it was really stupid to sell the Jag, but it no longer fits into my mind. And cutting all connections in Linked-in and Facebook always felt right. Time for friendship is scarce, you have to invest it where the values ​​are right. As a consumer, I have every right to determine where my money goes. Who pays, orders. The planned mini convertible in the family has also been canceled. Yes, it hits BMW and thus home, but it's a matter of principle. Not a cent more to the Brexit UK. I am aware that many EU opponents are following Brexit with great glee and want to use it as a blueprint. They can take all their money to the UK and invest there. Today only the networked network has any chance of success - some countries have to learn how small they really are. And if Scotland were to become independent, that is only logical, and still only part of the real cost of Brexit. United Kingdom no longer has to learn that the hard way. I would find Scotland a fair price for Brexit, and it is actually very logical and consistent if you analyze it more closely.

    Car brands express more than just a logo. Jag is a thing of the past for me - and even if the EU is anything but perfect, it doesn't deserve all these Brexit lies. Maybe many don't care; I have used every opportunity that presents itself to make a statement by acting, actions are never one-sided, and if someone thinks the EU is stupid, the individual representatives of this EU, namely each of us, will know how to appreciate this accordingly within their sphere of activity . Some more, some less. “No more British cars” is just one aspect of it. Yes, it's like hitting your foot with a hammer because you have a toothache, but some pain is worth taking, on principle.

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    Dear Tom.

    Thank you for reading again with a delicious espresso ...
    And thank you for your tireless research, ideas, projects and everything else that you give us so richly. Wish you a good 2021, which will certainly be different from all previous ones. But better than what we're about to say goodbye.

    These wishes also apply to all fellow readers.

    The Lizi

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    Oh Tom, so beautifully written! I know all too well about the old sound carriers, most of them came from Britania and my trainee salary was almost entirely spent on these records. Today I still enjoy these black discs, scratch a little, whine a little, but they are so beautifully analog and home-made.

    In 1969 and 1970 I hitchhiked to London twice as a teenager, hitchhiking! It was the days of Hyde Park (and yes, I saw the Stones' free concert in 1969) Carnaby Street, Trafalgar Square and all the other hotspots. And then the Marquee Club ... .., did any of us Saab friends know? It was just great. And the British are so cranky.

    And today? Great Britain is no longer that big, lives mainly from its history. We have also seen the decline of the UK auto industry. After Austin Maxi, my father bought another Austin Princess, an ingenious catastrophic car, in the truest sense of the word. That was it with the cars from England.

    The EU is already an ambivalent colossus. As a Swiss, you are much more influenced than others. I was always torn when it came to voting. We have had several votes for or against the EU, with the known result. Sometimes I ask myself how would a vote in Germany turn out? We will probably never find out.

    Happy New Year's Eve and a happy new year 2021!


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