Since the announcement of the public vote on whether the UK should leave the EU speculation has been abundant about its “likely” negative impact on ex pats and people considering moving to Spain.
Pundits, politicians, journalists and observers throw negative assumptions around like bird seed for us all to feed on at speed like pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Worries about healthcare, visa requirements and property prices (to name a few) are of course, all valid concerns. I therefore think it is fair to say that all ex pats living in Spain (around 1 million) will vote to stay in the UK to protect their livelihood, investments and lifestyle, but what of those not yet enjoying the benefits of living in Spain?
I have been watching British news from my home in Andalucía, Spain for some weeks now and one thing is clear; The stay campaign is winning. There is so much Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) being fed though the news by the stay campaigners that voters will be left with the attitude of ‘better the devil you know”. Few benefits are being released apart from the saving of money that the UK ploughs in to EU membership every year. In fact, in the last week of May 2016 I counted 1 positive for every 4 negatives so clearly the see-saw is tipped to support the FUD campaign. Can you really vote in favor of something you don’t know will benefit you?
We humans make daily decisions based on the principals of impact to ourselves. For example, should I change my job? Well, on one hand I like my job, I know my job, I get paid for my job, I have friends at work. Changing jobs can be risky. I may not like it, my new boss might be worse and what if they go bust? The majority of us are naturally not risk takers and that is why you will find many people stuck in a job they dislike. Brexit on the other hand is not just a vote on impact to ourselves, it is impact on a multi dimensional level that effects us all.
The trend of polls support the notion that in the battle of positive Vs negative, negative (in the shape of FUD) is winning the argument. A full list of opinion polls going back to 2010 produced by the FT shows solid support for stay with the odd glitch of leave. That said, the split is pretty even at time of writing this article.
So what does all this mean to people considering a move to Spain. Well the advice from property agents and mortgage brokers is to line your ducks up! As Larraine De Preter, Managing Director at leading brokers DEP Independent explains “Now is the time to act. With uncertainty gone we fully expect a large increase in applications over the Summer immediately after the result. Whilst that sounds great, it will lead to banks being over worked and delays will occur. By applying now for a mortgage lenders can beat the gold rush and have everything ready to go”.
Naturally the FUD being fed to us leads to a feeling of security for the non risk takers (pigeons) amongst us. It serves as food for us to peck at and feel content with once digested. The majority of risk takers however will no doubt judge the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and shall, I believe, vote to leave. So, the question remains whether there are more circumspect pigeons than risk takers voting in the election. Based on the fact pigeons love and trust being fed seed, I believe there is.
Author: Tarek Ghouri is a British national digital marketer and marketing material author living and working in Spain.