10 British Issues That Concern Me From Afar

Rain turns into flooding, ultimately making the roads into rivers. (Zimbio)

Roads become rivers after heavy rainstorms in England. (Zimbio)

Expats don’t stop worrying about the homeland the moment we board a U.S.-bound plane. We’re anxious for everyone we’ve left behind. And, frankly, much of the stuff that goes on in the U.K. still affects us.

The financial crisis
At the moment, the U.K.’s economic forecast is pretty doom-steeped. As some experts predicted, the U.K. lost its top AAA credit rating, the first time this has happened since 1978. Rats. I’d like to think that one day I could return to a land that hasn’t morphed into a Mad Max-style, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Greece, basically.

Will Scotland break away from the UK? 
If this happens it might feel like Britain is being decapitated. Plus, a fully independent Scotland would need to reapply to become a member of the EU (huge hassle, lots of forms to fill in, etc). And currently, all newly approved applicants are required to adopt the Euro. Imagine having to visit a bureau de change every time you get an uncontrollable craving for haggis or bagpipes and want to pop across the boarder.

The horsemeat scandal
Was my teatime lasagna running in last Tuesday’s 2:30 pm at Kempton? It’s this sort of question many Britons are asking themselves since the equine consumption story broke a few weeks back. In case you’re unaware, horse DNA has been detected in some supermarket ready meals claiming to be beef-based. I wonder how long this has been going on and whether it’s actually stopped. What if, on a return trip, I accidentally find myself dining on Mr. Ed?

Britain’s future with the European Union
It’s emerged that a mere one-in-three British people would vote to stay in the EU if a referendum were held today. Having taken the country’s temperature, David Cameron has now promised to hold a public vote on membership in 2017, should the Conservatives be re-elected. If we do leave, will I need a new non-EU passport? And how will that affect Brits’ ability travel quickly and easily throughout Europe?

The constant rain and flooding
Last year might have opened with warnings of drought and hosepipe bans but it ended up being the U.K.’s second wettest on record with over 52 inches of rainfall recorded. Consequently, the pessimists back home (that’ll be most Brits) are bracing themselves for another super-soaking in 2013. I guess I should look into barge rental for my next U.K. holiday.

The Norovirus
Britons are still succumbing to this super-charged winter vomiting bug. More than one million U.K. dwellers are thought to have contracted the virus so far. That sucks for my former countrymen though, naturally, I’m more concerned about Noro spreading throughout the U.S. as the cold snap drags on.

Rail fares have gone up
The annual hike of train ticket prices in the UK was predictably brutal. This January, it was announced that fares would rise by an average of 4.2 percent, making my twice-yearly train-based missions to see friends and family all over the U.K. even pricier.

Will my favorite British products be discontinued?
I live in fear that manufacturers will pull lines that I stock up on when I’m back home, from my first choice deodorant (only available in the U.K.) to Angel Delight. To guard against the chaos this would cause, I’ve set Google alerts for these and all my other beloved Brit stuff so I can bulk order before they disappear forever.

Where will Richard III be buried?
The remains of a spinally challenged British monarch dug up in a Leicestershire parking lot will eventually be reinterred – but where? Leicestershire has a claim and so does York, but it looks like Westminster Abbey will probably win out. At the time of writing, the debate rattles on. Frankly, I’ll be stuffed if I’m trekking to Leicester to visit a dead king so bung him in the Abbey, please.

Will my favorite U.K. shows get cancelled?
Watching the best of British TV helps keep me connected to home. I’ll admit that I’m prone to a temporary sanity wobble when one of the networks scraps a gem. Already this year the Beeb has axed Being Human (the fifth series finale is officially The End) along with The Hour, which survived a mere two seasons.

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.
View all posts by Ruth Margolis.
  • gn

    Are you on a contract to post a new top-10 list every day?

    How about this one: the top 10 most pointless top 10 lists posted to this blog.

    • Jeff K.

      And yet, here you are commenting on that – where does that place you on the feeding chain, Pumba?

      • gn

        And yet you reply to me!


        • Jeff K.

          Difference – I did _not_ come in riding on a high horse, but take the blog in the nature it is intended – touche

  • Jeff K.

    I just can’t get past the meta-irony of Richard III being buried under a car park. Seriously, there has to be some British comedian that has a bit about this. Of course then Maggie died, and that bit of tragicomedy will probably sideline the whole, “Now is the winter of my – ho, a free spot” routines. /ramble

    Oh, and the TV thing, I JUST FOUND OUT they rebooted Yes, Prime Minister – will that get cancelled before it gets shown in the US? I still haven’t got round to getting the OS on DVD!

    • gn

      If you’re in the US, then the first two seasons of the original series are available free for streaming via Amazon Prime.