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Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram. Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan's photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patreon page to find out more.


  1. G.
    May 29, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

    Regarding the comment “the out lot haven’t told us their plans for afterwards, which speaks volumes in itself”…this could be due to not having any plans, which came up on Thursday’s televised In/Out debate on BBC 1. There actually are no plans in place or in the pipeline for the future if we vote out. Read into this what you will.


    • Elle Draper
      May 29, 2016 @ 7:49 pm

      Thanks G. That’s seriously worrying in itself. So we have “In” where not a lot changes. Or we have “Out” who have no plans whatsoever. That reconfirms my “In” vote for sure.


  2. chris stoner
    May 30, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

    the out vote does have plans but by its very nature can not have any arrangements. However you can not go to germany and ask what will we do if vote out because they will give you a biased answer towards staying in.

    The NHS will go through a rapid privatisation under a pro eu vote through the ttip and that is the main reason for cameron and his cronies being pro eu. There are no 2 ways about it and to claim any different is either mistaken or a bare faced fib. The EU is not a socialist superpower but instead a basis for multinational corporations and banking cartels to make further profits.

    I believe a pro eu vote will win by a very tiny margin which in itself will speak volumes. Half of the country will want out and I suspect the North will overwhemingly vote out but will lose out to a heavy london vote of pro eu.

    We will see but I suspect the vast majority of the expats voting for eu is out of fear of the unknown. Common sense would suggest the spanish will do everything they can to encourage more British to spain regardless of a brexit vote and would do very little to those already living here.


  3. Alan
    May 30, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

    Chris, on the NHS, I personally don’t think either side can be trusted. In fact I think the stay side of the blue party are less likely to get away with it…. Come out and the likes of Boris and Gove will be rewriting the law to enable it more easily. A quick look at the names associated with this suggests the out campaigners claiming any possible seriously calculated savings could be spent on the NHS are the most likely to be flogging it off.


  4. Lynne Birkhead
    May 30, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

    There are lots of people in the uk who have the wherewithal, imagination, means and balls to become ex-pats, but some ‘actually’ prefer to stay in the uk to be with their kids or aging and disabled relatives.
    I would also like to know what you expect to happen on June 23rd if the uk vote to come out of the eu. The Lisbon Treaty and WTO have rules laid down by which the eu and uk have to abide.
    Greenland left in 1985 and still has a trading agreement with the eu and it’s economy is flourishing.
    Norway and Switzerland choose not to be in but still trade with eu and no one can say that they’re poor.
    We pay an estimated 8 billion a year (and rising) to the eu not to mention the cost of eu red tape, which is destroying lots of small businesses in the uk, surely this money could be better spent, on healthcare maybe.
    I know all you ex-pats have a right to vote but read up on the subject and make sure it’s the right one, please.


    • Elle Draper
      May 30, 2016 @ 9:59 pm

      We can’t comment on what we “expect to happen on June 23rd if the uk vote to come out of the eu” because nobody knows. There simply are no plans. That’s the point. Stay as you are or amble blindly into a black hole that economists, statisticians, major businesses (UK and abroad) and people far cleverer than you or I warn may be the worst thing to ever happen to the UK.

      You described Greenland’s economy as flourishing? I did have a look to see if I could find any facts to support what you were saying. However, I didn’t get much further than this article on Wikipedia which says the opposite… and that it relies heavily on bailouts from Denmark: That brings us onto Norway and Switzerland. This article makes some interesting reading about what it could cost the UK if they adopted the Norway model:

      Unsure where your figure of “8 billion a year (and rising) to the eu” comes from. Perhaps you have a trusted source for that? However, even the the “statistics regulator” is asking the Out Campaigners to stop using vastly exaggerated figure of £350m per week because it simply isn’t correct. It doesn’t make any mention of the millions that go right back in the opposite direction which the “out campaigners” conveniently don’t mention to the masses. Here’s the source for that:

      As for the money being better spent on healthcare – perhaps look at Michael Gove (who is a leading voice for the Out campaign) about his research into privatising the NHS. I see Alan has posted a link for that in response to another comment.

      Some of us expats do read… and have come to the only conclusion we can. That Britain is better as part of the EU. At the end of the day – the campaigners on both sides are playing stupid games with their sweeping statements, wild claims and threats. It’s an emotive subject of course but nothing is black and white… and we can only make the best choice based on the information we have researched. In or out… British expats in the EU are still legally entitled to vote. Many of us are choosing to exercise that legal right while we still can. It affects not only us, but also our families and friends still in the UK. In my personal situation, it’s probably the most important vote I’ve taken in my life to date.

      This referendum shouldn’t even be happening (in my opinion). Cameron only used it as a carrot to appease some of his backbenchers. The Tory government were democratically voted in and should be making these decisions on our behalf. But that’s a whole other conversation.

      E x


  5. Andrew
    May 30, 2016 @ 9:09 pm

    Please please, none of you intending to vote to stay in have taken any time to read information on both sides of the argument, which is obvious by the comments, and nit picking on grammar shows the level people sink to to scare monger ( check our your grammar in paragraph three before you criticise others ) and I’ve seen no plans from the stay in voters except status quo. Giving billions to the eu gravy train while we who love our country and LIVE here suffer the idiosincrosities they enforce. So before you do anything write down a list of the 10 things that worry you then type into your I pad ( I assume as you have the means and wherewithal you’ll have one) and read the answers.


    • Elle Draper
      May 30, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

      “none of you intending to vote to stay in have taken any time to read information on both sides of the argument”

      That is simply not true. This is probably the most important vote of my life so far – and I’ve read a huge amount from both sides.

      I don’t own an iPad. I do have a Samsung Galaxy though ;)


  6. James
    May 30, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

    Yes I’ve just read it and now I’m changing my vote to an OUT vote


  7. Lynne Birkhead
    May 30, 2016 @ 11:38 pm

    Are these the same ‘clever’ people who predicted that all computers would crash on the first day of the new millennium.
    It’s also a good job no one ever said that to Cristobal Colon
    As Andrew above has written have a look at


    • Elle Draper
      May 31, 2016 @ 12:05 am

      Exploring new lands is a touch different to what we are talking about here.
      Broaden your mind – and have a look at this too: I’ve already looked at the betteroffout site but your isn’t working for some reason.


  8. Lynne Birkhead
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:45 am

    Not necessarily different, just the same leap into the unknown, just the same as Mr C thought when he went off to explore the rest of the world, no one actually knows what will happen, it might actually be better.
    I agree that in theory a united Europe is ideal, single currency unrestricted travel but the reality is that we over here have to live with long hospital waiting lists, the unrest of immigrants getting houses before our own needy people, not being able to fly a Union Jack without being told it is offensive to some religions, Easter eggs being taken off the shelves in Tesco for the same reasons, not being able to deport hate preachers because it’s against their human rights and who dictates all this, you guessed it the good old EU, bless their cotton socks.
    Spain is a country steeped in customs and I am interested what will happen Spain when Samana Santa and the Moros y Cristianos festivals are banned.
    I will read your link as I am always looking to broaden my mind, but over the past few weeks I have tried to read lots of unbiased stuff on this referendum and have not come to my decision lightly, at the end of the day it should be about what’s best for the man in the street. lol


    • Elle Draper
      May 31, 2016 @ 2:05 am

      I can see that you’re trying to provide a balanced view Lynne – and you are debating sensibly without mudslinging… unlike some of the nonsense you see on Social Media. Thank you for that. Unfortunately, you are also including things that are being spread by non-reputable sources… or those that are hoodwinking people by their “sharing of poppy pics” etc – you know who I mean. So let me address a couple of those.

      1. The long hospital waiting lists are not a problem unique to the EU. Look at the United States for example. With key members of the OUT campaign being fans of privatising the NHS… I’d be more concerned about free healthcare in the UK if Britain left. The UK is a huge economy (I read that it was the 5th largest in the world – but I don’t remember where, sorry) and already has access to enough money to fix that. However, it chooses not to access it. Britain seems to be able to find money for Trident and ignore tax evasion by huge corporations and the richest of the rich… yet not to sort out healthcare? Hmmm. If the UK left the EU, does the government’s track record really fill you with hope that suddenly the NHS would become a well oiled machine with waiting lists reduced? Therefore… it begs the questions, “Is the EU membership to blame for our long waiting lists? Or could it possibly be Britain’s fault?

      2. Immigrants getting social housing: This is not strictly true and is usually propagated by Britain First along with a photo of a homeless veteran. Oh and Channel Five.

      3. The Union Jack ban was orchestrated by one or two local authorities and not by the EU. The Kippers and Britain First lot then jumped on the bandwagon and before you knew it – there was uproar. If it was an EU ruling then it would be the same in all EU countries – yet it’s not. Oh apart from the Catalan flag issue at footie matches recently that was sorted quickly.

      4. The Easter Egg ban is fake:

      5. Not being to deport hate preachers because of human rights. I actually agree with you that these people should be deported. Sometimes some flexibility needs to be shown – specifically in matters of security. However – looking at the bigger picture… I’m all for a human rights act and I “believe” it was Britain that originally wrote that one, just after WWII.

      6. To my knowledge there are no moves in place to ban the two Spanish festivals you mentioned. I do know that some Muslims are not fans of the “Moros y Cristianos” but I also know Muslims who participate in the festivals themselves… with enthusiasm.

      It is difficult to find unbiased information yes. Like you say – we have to make our choices as best we can. If I were voting just based on my own personal circumstances… well I probably wouldn’t bother voting. At the end of the day I am in a position to jump through whatever legal and paperwork hoops I need to to continue living and working where I do. But I am voting for the bigger picture. I genuinely don’t want to see Britain out in the cold. I don’t wish to see the other EU member countries making an example of Britain, making it tough for them to trade… or making it take so long to arrange trade agreements (as has happened with other countries). I don’t wish to see fellow Britons having their pensions frozen (as happens to British expats in non EU countries). I don’t want to see import costs on essential items such as food and medicine face hikes. We currently enjoy free trade with 27 other other EU countries but also trade agreements with more than 50 other countries around the world… simply because we are in the EU. I wouldn’t wish Britain to risk those agreements… which would need to be renegotiated if Britain left. If we already have great trade agreements – why would anyone want to mess that up just so they can fly a Union Jack when they please and see the word “Easter” on their eggs each spring?

      E x


  9. Alan Gandy
    May 31, 2016 @ 12:14 pm

    Right, I personally couldn’t reply yesterday evening…. So, here goes.

    Lets go back to the original Facebook comment.

    “I don’t know about the system in Spain but try coming home and having to wait 6 months for a hospital appointment or the fact that there is only social housing available to ‘refugees’ and that our prisons are overflowing with Eastern Europeans. No-one is disputing that you have ‘rights’ but we ‘actually’ have to live here on a daily basis and when Turkey join the EU next year there may not be a UK for you to come back to. You’ve chosen your life let us do the same.
    Apologies for any grammatical errors you may feel the need to correct.”

    1. I had a couple of operations in the 80’s (what and why are no concerns of anyone’s), there have always been waiting list for the NHS. It is not the fault of those ‘bloody immigrants’ (The numbers of which just about balance out with those of us – UK Citizens – who choose to live overseas)

    2. The lack of social housing is not the ‘fault’ of those ‘bloody immigrants’. It is the fault of government (both red and blue) who have failed to invest and replace the stock that Thatcher sold off on the cheap for political gain.

    3. And as for the Turkey immigrant thing I can only assume you got your information from the Daily Express – EXCLUSIVE POLL: 12 MILLION Turks say they’ll come to the UK once EU deal is signed (that’s 16% of the entire population planning to move to the UK – which frankly is absurd), a publication well known for it’s lies (to quote the Duke of Edinburgh, not something I do often, the Express is “a bloody awful newspaper. It is full of lies, scandal and imagination. It is a vicious paper.”) and it’s owner being a tax evading UKIP supporter and pornographer.

    PS: Please pass on my apologies to your husband (I’m guessing: Same name) whose comment I deleted from our Facebook page. I’m too busy to deal with ne, ne, ne, ne, ne childish comments accusing me of peddling ‘propaganda’ (when I refer to facts) and claiming survey mentioned in the article being based on ‘ the five people you asked’. Just to clarify, we have received several hundred responses so far.


  10. Lynne Birkhead
    May 31, 2016 @ 10:57 pm

    Thank you for your comments Elle which I have to admit have some truth in them. I think we have to agree to disagree on some points but thank you for an interesting debate. I have three weeks before I need to vote so I shall do more research.
    In reply to Alan Gandy about the comments of my husband I would just like to point out that the only reason he commented was because of the way you childishly tore my original comment to shreds in a very ne ne ne ne ne childish manner by picking up on grammar etc., when your own was far from perfect.
    I won’t be visiting this site again as it was never my intention to get into a slanging match with anyone, I have enjoyed my discussion with Elle but find childish nit picking boring.


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