Friday 10 November 2017


Suffer the dreams of a world gone mad
I like it like that and I know it

--- REM, "Leave"

I'm leaving the UK in April 2018 for a new job and new life in Toronto, Canada. I was born in Canada, and after twenty-six years I will be going back.

There are a lot of positive reasons for this move. It means our son can be closer to his grandparents. It's an exciting new job and I think it will be good for my career. It looks like a fascinating city and a great place to live. I will be able to watch North American sports in the proper time zone.

That said, as regular readers of this blog will have noticed, I'm very pessimistic about the future of the UK in the face of Brexit.

I believe Brexit will be bad for the British economy, bad for public services, bad for scientific research where I make my living. It will be bad for health care as I grow older, and bad for educational opportunities for my son. All this would be true even if Brexit were implemented by a competent and humane government; but the one we have is very far from meeting that description.

No matter how long I stay here, I was an immigrant first. My wife was an immigrant first. We both have British passports now; but passport or not, when the UK government makes it clear in word and deed that immigrants are not welcome, it's hard not to take it personally.

Brexit wasn't the deciding factor in our decision to move. But it was a significant one; particularly in our decision to move right now, before the Article 50 clock runs out, instead of waiting around for a few more years.

I've lived in the UK for almost exactly two-thirds of my life. I love a lot of things about this country, and a lot of good friends here, and I'll be sad to leave them. But leave them I will, and all things considered I believe it's the best choice for me.

I'll have a lot more to say about this as time goes on. For now, I'm feeling excited about the move, and a slightly guilty relief at leaving the UK.

The political commentator Ian Dunt said:

I understand Ian's point. I appreciate many British people want to stand up to the xenophobes and the haters; they represent the kind, brave, outward-looking face of Britain that I love.

All the same, the fact is I have two countries, and one of them is not currently lighting itself on fire just to see what happens. I have to think about what is best for myself and my family. I regret to say, staying put out of civic duty is not on my agenda.

I hope Britain's course works out for the best. I really do. I wish for my friends and family here to live long and prosper, as Mister Spock would have put it. I hope that against the odds, Brexit is averted, or turns out to be not so bad as I fear. But every time another news story makes it clear the UK is heading for disaster, I can't help but feel relieved it will no longer be my problem.

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