The informal Erasmus Programme done to death by the end of Freedom of Movement …

Barmouth Harbour looking towards the famous Barmouth Bridge
“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s futures.  And we are all mortal.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, A Strategy of Peace, 1963

In all the discussion about the end of Freedom of Movement, little seems to have been said about its impact on tourism across the length and breadth of the UK.

Barmouth, a suburb of Birmingham was taken to the hearts of honorary Brummies from places like Poland.

Incidentally, in the early 1980s, teredo navalis was discovered to be chomping its way through the Barmouth railway bridge. A survey undertaken by British Rail determined that a million pounds needed to be spent on repairing the woodwork of the bridge and sealing it against the predations of teredo navalis.

The Thatcher Government decided it would not be money well spent and so the Cambrian Coast line, or at least part of it, faced closure.

Then some clever folk got their heads together and, as a result British Rail sold the bridge to Gwynedd County Council for £1. The Council then assembled a cocktail of funds, including European Regional Development Fund money to repair and protect the bridge against naval shipworm.

And the rest is history …

No more will honorary Brummies enjoy vistas like these and no more will local businesses benefit from their trade.

Porthmadog Harbour
Sheffield Park

What of all the Eastern European families who made their own Erasmus programme by, for example, visiting CADW, English Heritage and National Trust properties?

Hampton Court Palace

The polite, interested folk and their children who I queued alongside for a piece of cake and a mug of tea or nodded and smiled at as we passed in the grounds of a stately home.

Powis Castle

I confess to being rather touched by their interest in our history and our culture.

And approving of their taste in making somewhere like Barmouth, a frequent place to visit.


I gather there are places, called Skegness and Weston-super-Mare, frequented quite often by fellow Brummies, but I can take or leave them.

Barmouth is in Wales …

What is not to like about folk who came here to make a bob or two, contribute to our society and economy, taking time out to explore our countryside, coasts and heritage?

I trust they experienced (and shared) the pleasures of developing a stiff upper lip on an August Bank Holiday Monday, whilst sitting and shivering in a sea front shelter as the wind, rain and fog roll in, once more, over a grey sea.

Truly, one cannot call oneself an honorary Brit, if you have not gone through that experience time after time after time. Because, the British approach to Bank Holidays is nothing, if not a triumph of hope over experience!

What of the spend of those hardy migrant tourists and sightseers in our tearooms, gift shops, museums, art galleries, chip shops and so on?

Has anyone tried to calculate the loss in takings, jobs, businesses and soft power?

And when we return to any form of normality, will some who have benefited financially from this informal Erasmus programme, discover their revenue is not returning to the levels it was at when we were still in the Single Market?

I hope that those folk, who made their own Erasmus programme will not think too unkindly of us in future years.

And that we have only said au revoir not adieu to them and their families.

Any road, as we say around these parts, a nation that understands its history, works, plays and holidays together is a nation that will stay together.

How much more, if a continent does the same?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s