Sorry, But You Don’t Have a Clue

I read several forums for UK ex-pats looking to return home and there’s a recurring pattern on these sites. Someone will announce that they really want to go home, and others will sympathize and then, around about 10 or 12 posts in, a British native who’s never left the country will arrive to say how bad things are and how crazy anyone would be to move back to the UK just now. Of course, this person is completely oblivious to the situation in other countries, which he imagines to be lands of milk and honey. He takes for granted the NHS and job seeker’s allowance and housing benefit and social services. He assumes that other countries have all this and then some. He thinks that being unemployed in the US would be just the same, only it would be sunnier and he could go surfing.

Of course the reality is much different. Unemployment in the US is almost 10%. In the UK, it’s currently 7.7%. And the unemployed in the UK are looked after – here they are not. Lose your job in the UK and your healthcare stays. Have the same happen in the US and you’d better hope you don’t get sick before you find a new job because otherwise you’ll have to sell your house to pay the bills. And if you don’t have a house … oh well! In the US our equivalent of job seeker’s allowance lasts for only 99 weeks and then you’re out of luck and there’s no housing benefit, which is why there are tent cities springing up outside some of our biggest cities.

Dear British people

You are luckier than you know.

Stop whining.

Love, me xx

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