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British Expat Newsletter: February 2018

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In this issue

This month

It’s nearly time for the latest (the 25th) in the series of biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. The last one was held in Malta – which, coincidentally, is where we are just now – in November 2015. The forthcoming event was due to be held in Vanuatu in 2017, but had to be rescheduled owing to long-term damage to the islands’ infrastructure caused by Cyclone Pam in March 2015. So the UK stepped in with an offer to hold the event.

Since then, of course, we’ve had the Brexit referendum, as a result of which the UK is set to leave the European Union. Consequently the Commonwealth’s taken on additional importance for Britain as a means of furthering overseas ties. Some Leavers have argued that leaving the EU will enable the UK to revive trade ties that had to be broken when it joined the Common Market in 1973 – for instance, the preferential trade arrangements it had with Australia and New Zealand.

The problem is, of course, that the rest of the world has moved on. Australia and New Zealand have built new trade ties to fill the gap left by the UK, with regional partners and others – and the EU has already made progress towards concluding full free trade agreements with both, going beyond the existing partnership agreements. So after Brexit our trade terms with Australia and NZ could end up being worse than those our EU neighbours enjoy.

There’s also been some anxious discussion about who will head the Commonwealth after the Queen dies. Unlike the British monarchy, the Head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary role – so Charles won’t automatically succeed her. There’s even been talk of maybe skipping a generation and inviting Prince Harry to take on the role to keep the Commonwealth (a) relevant to yoof and (b) headed by the British royal family in some capacity. It sounds a touch desperate, and it’s hard to imagine that talk originating from any of the people who are likely to have any kind of say in the decision. But an entertaining thought, all the same.

This month’s Quick Quiz comes to you from Malta, where we’re currently based temporarily for the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain’s 7th Annual Mighty Malta Minicon (that’s “mini-convention”). Britain has a long and proud history of cartooning that stretches all the way back to the satirical drawings of William Hogarth and James Gillray, through the great caricaturists of the nineteenth century such as “Ape” and “Spy”, up to the classic kids’ comics of the twentieth and the topical cartoonists of today’s press. See how much you know about this great tradition – you may surprise yourself!

Malta’s been cold, wet and windy for much of the week so far (though admittedly not as cold as South East England, thanks to the “Beast from the East” winds from Russia, which we’re well out of). Our latest Pic of the Week comes from another typically cold, wet and windy location – north-western Scotland, and the majestic Loch Torridon.

Are you ever flummoxed by fancy foodie words, mystified by menus, or confused by culinary terms? Then head on over to and become enlightened by our quirky A-Z of food. And it’s got cartoons in it! Don’t forget to tell all your friends about it too.

On the subject of food, I’ve been thinking for some time of trying hydroponics. With the chance of another stint overseas looming – quite possibly in a location where the soil’s poor or the climate’s difficult – it could be the best option available to me if I want access to all my favourite culinary herbs. So I’ve started a thread on the forum where I’ll be posting updates about my progress. I’d love to hear thoughts from people who’ve given it a go already or have considered it – a couple of you have already joined in the discussion. Any other keen gardeners out there?

Meanwhile, of course, the forum continues to provide information on a wide range of expat issues, as well as the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people all around the world. You can see the full range of discussion boards here.

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British Expat Amazon Shopping

Amazon don’t just do books, you know. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate in online shopping—from a micro SD card to a garden shed! A great way to do your shopping online, especially if the shops aren’t up to much in your part of the world.
BE Amazon Shop: UK & EU | BE Amazon Shop: non-EU

So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
Visit the BE website and join in with our lively community!

Till next time…

Happy surfing!

British Expat—the definitive home for British expats

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