Saturday, June 25

Dining across the divide: ‘How can he come from Latvia and support Brexit?’ | life and style



Dans, 28, Birmingham

Occupation accountant

voting record Left Latvia before he was old enough to vote. Voted Labor in 2019

amuse bouche Dans used to do some modeling


Georgina, 31, Birmingham

Georgina

Occupation Part-time office manager; also an actor and model

voting record Isn’t eligible to vote in the UK; has generally voted for the Spanish equivalent of the Labor party

amuse bouche Went to COP15 in 2009 as a youth spokesperson


For starters

dance The food was amazing. We had baby potatoes, some seafood.

Georgina We had a steak sharing board. It was very nice. We had some dressed mussels, in a tomatoey sauce.

dance I was very surprised to see someone my age.

Georgina I was totally expecting a bloke in his 60s.

Dans and Georgina

The big beef

Georgina He said Brexit didn’t have anything to do with racism. But my partner’s family said, “We voted to stay in the EU because we don’t want you to be deported.” And I thought: “OK, people who vote leave are actually voting for me to be deported?” How is anybody OK with that? How can he come from Latvia and support Brexit?

dance A lot of our views on the EU were down to our personal experiences. I know she had a very good experience with the Erasmus scheme, and I’ve also been on Erasmus. So I see that good side of the EU. But the only change I have felt is the people from the EU who would not come to the UK any more. Everything else didn’t materialize, and what has materialized has been to do with circumstances other than Brexit.

Georgina I saw his point that the European Union project sometimes isn’t beneficial for poorer countries – it’s all about France and Germany.

dance The EU favors wealthy countries. I saw the price of coffee in Latvia go from 60c to €1 overnight because they joined the eurozone. Wages don’t go up to keep pace.

Dans and Georgina

sharing plate

dance I didn’t want to sound pessimistic, but environmentally speaking, I think we’re doomed.

Georgina We had the same view on climate change. It’s inevitable that we’re destroying the Earth. And it’s really sad. We also talked about what we do in our daily lives to reduce our impact. It was ironic, because we were eating steak and mussels. But we have both reduced our consumption of animal products to very low levels.

dance We really need to change, but you have to close that off, because that’s essentially climate anxiety.

Georgina We agreed on Extinction Rebellion, that we see their point. It’s getting to the stage where people need to do something drastic.

Dans and Georgina

for afters

dance We found a lot of common ground on Covid. I thought she was going to say masks should be mandatory, but she just wants masks in very specific settings, when it’s overcrowded and the cases are high.

Georgina We both came to the conclusion that it was an evolving situation. In Spain, it was brutal. Everyone had to wear masks all the time. I even saw people in their 80s, in the 30C heat, wearing FFP2 masks. But at the same time, I came back to the UK and got angry with people not wearing masks in supermarkets.

dance I bet if you started looking into the impact mask wearing has had on children, you’d never be able to justify it again. Just imagine putting yourself in that position at the age of eight or nine. All these restrictions have a major impact on mental health.

Georgina It was not beneficial for children. But my partner got Covid at the start when he wasn’t vaccinated and he was so ill, he had long Covid for 10 months. Dans said, “My partner’s got underlying conditions and she she was fine.” And I was like, that’s exactly the point, it’s completely random.

Dans and Georgina

Takeaways

dance She was amazing. Ella she’s got a very nice, authentic personality – ella she’s very open and we clicked quite quickly. We did exchange details, and we may meet again with our partners.

Georgina It was an amazing experience, very refreshing. Two people with opposing views can sit down and explore that. Why can’t we use this tool that we have, which is so powerful – human communication?

Dans and Georgina

Georgina and Dans ate at The Pig & TailBirmingham

Want to meet someone from across the divide? Find out how to take part


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