A Forgotten Promise

January 2013

When David Cameron pledged to hold a referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the EU, I was living in the south of Spain.

After graduating the previous summer, I had stayed on in Bristol to teach English. I ended up spending a lot of time with the Spanish teachers who had brought their students to my school. We spent a lot of time drinking chilled beers in the sun, listening to the Spaniards brag about their home regions. Thermometers passed 30C.

Bristol has plenty to offer by way of Spanish restaurants. (My favourite is Bravas; as convivial as the best tapas bars in Spain but with quality worthy of the cuisine; founded as a supperclub by two Gallegos, passionate enough about food to make an annual journey across the peninsual, searching out new ingredients, recipes and inspiration; elegant dishes; good music; a fab venue).

I traded up. A few months later, I stopped for a night in Granada, stayed three days and ended up with a teaching contract. By the time the referendum pledge was made, I had been living in Garcia Lorca’s gypsy town for 5 months.

I remember a few conversations (in which I dismissed out of hand a Leave vote) but I certainly didn’t give it much thought. It was part of the inner-workings of the Conservatives. Not my problem.

The streets, littered with tapas bars  around the grand cathedral have a brazenly Moorish character that Isabel la Catolica’s best efforts couldn’t eradicate. Leave the former bazaar, cross the stately gran via and climb up through the original hill-top town. Narrow, weaving streets (occasionally emerging onto small cobblestone plazas) give way to views of the splendid Alhambra palaces and, further on, the snow-capped Sierra Nevada.

Is it any surprise British politics didn’t grab my attention?


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