Sara Page, vice-chairwoman of European Britons, writes that UK residents who live overseas should not be surprised by the failure of the UK government to evacuate UK citizens from the Sudan.
This may come as a surprise to UK passport holders.
Travellers from the UK should be careful when booking their next holiday abroad.
The “gruesome couple” believe they have a responsibility to their employees working abroad and will do everything possible to ensure their safety. I find it abominable where they draw their line, and what they use to draw that line, between two groups of UK passport holders.
The first time I encountered this strange rule was in my first six-months of living in France. A local Mairie contacted the Anglican church group to which I belong, expressing deep concern over the mental well-being and isolation of a British elderly brother and sister who held a UK passport.
The couple was well-known in their community and had lived in France intermittently for many years. The couple had decided to retire in France, but had unfortunately begun to develop dementia. This situation left them worried about their wellbeing and ability to care for themselves.
The Mairie was able to provide a weekly food delivery, notify the couple’s doctor about their situation, and make frequent visits by the Mairies member of staff in charge of social welfare. I and my colleague also made frequent visits.
We had little information about the couple, so we began a search in the UK for their relatives. We were unable find the passports of these relatives and discovered that they did not exist. We contacted the British Embassy in Paris for assistance and advice. The British Embassy in Paris was contacted for advice and assistance.
Fortunately for everyone, the Mairie came to the rescue. She alerted French social services who helped them. After several months of trying to reach the UK social services, who were unable to assist us either, the brother died. The sister was left alone in a home with little heating and no ability to cook for herself. The French state intervened, making her a Ward of Court, and finding her a place in a retirement facility. They provided money to this process in order to ensure her well-being and safety. She was happy for four more years, until she died in April 2022. We received no more communication from the British Embassy.
We did, however, find the names of the couple’s solicitors in the Isle of Wight. I contacted them to ask for assistance and information. They told me that Brexit would prevent them from helping me and that I needed to deposit PS1,000 in their account to get any help. I was dumbfounded by my disappointment and disbelief at the lack of moral concern for two British citizens living abroad who were in distress.
The British Embassy staff was trying to locate British citizens with British passports living in France to keep them updated on the Withdrawal Agreement process.
Now I’m sure they were using the same principles as the party game – pin the tail on the donkey.
As opposed to France and other European nations, the UK does not maintain a list of its citizens who move abroad. They also do not have an MP responsible for the welfare and well-being of UK passport holders and citizens living abroad.
You’re “on your own” – “learn how to live with it. You chose to leave your country and were a traitor by doing so” could be used to describe the situation.
France is a country that considers itself responsible for the welfare and security of its citizens wherever they may be.
The Sudanese escapade is a good example.
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