Why life in England is fantastic – from a Hungarian angle

by Veronika

I grew up in Hungary, a country that only joined the EU when I was 17. Every time we were traveling with my family, we needed to have passports, in some cases a visa – even to countries that used to belong to Hungary before 1920. I still have my childhood passport with the stamp from Dover from a school trip in 1999 that says I need to leave the UK within 3 months and mustn’t work. After 2004, many things changed that later in life allowed me to move to England as an adult. I didn’t even need a passport, just an ID. I was free to do anything, and this became normal. In 2016 when the Brexit vote took place, I wasn’t able to vote as I wasn’t a citizen. I could have been as I’d been living there for more than five years and I spoke English fluently. I didn’t feel the urge to spend a grand on having another passport that does the same as the one I already had.

Of course, things changed, but not so rapidly. Almost four years later, negotiations took place, and nobody believed that the UK would decide to leave the EU. 33,5M voted, and the difference between in or out was only 1,3 M votes. Those votes changed the lives of 65M living in the UK but 445 M who live in the EU. I find it a joke that my Hungarian passport is worth more now than the one UK citizens’ own. Obviously, I applied for the settlement status because things here are still better than they are in Hungary – and feel free to call me a pessimist. Still, I can’t even see this changing soon.

Now we arrived at the subject I was going to talk about when I started to write this article. Since I came to England, most English people around me are unsatisfied with everything. Politics, trains being late, wages, healthcare, etc. Well, let me tell you: England has by far the best of all of the above – and I have ten years of experience by now.
Maybe I’m wrong, but English politics seem transparent to me. Even with the conservatives leading the country, gay marriage is legal, and corruption is minimal. When your train is cancelled or late, you can ask for your money back – and you will get it back. Healthcare is free; this includes check-ups, hospital treatments, and contraception. Could things be better? Yes, of course, but still, England is not as bad as it seems when you look at it from a different angle.

In Hungary, people struggle big time. The minimum wage is hardly enough to get by. Let’s not talk about saving up for a mortgage, a car, or just even new shoes or a book. The Hungarian prime minister keeps mentioning how great things are and that the economy has never been better. He is all about Hungarians. Of course. White Christian heterosexual male Hungarians who have at least three kids. Because ‘we have to save the race.’ How do you feel when you see the word ‘child-free tax’? Well, it is a thing in Hungary, even if it’s left unsaid. If you have kids, you get a mortgage that you don’t need to pay back. If you are a woman who has four kids, you will never have to pay tax ever again. As if you could find a job as a mother of four making any taxable money. Not impossible, but not very likely either. Suppose you are infertile, gay, or just childfree by choice. Well, it is your problem. You won’t get anything because why would you?

A couple of months ago, they even took away the option to adopt a kid as a single person because gay women went around this law in some cases. Until then, it was only available for women. So technically, if you are gay in Hungary, you are fucked. The irony about this is that Ferenc Kölcsey, the author of the Hungarian national anthem, was also gay. So is József Szájer, who personally changed Hungary’s law to a value system based on Christianity. The mother is a woman, and the father is a man. The same Szájer recently was found at a massive gay orgy in Brussels climbing down the drains naked after police hit on the illegal party that went against covid-rules.

You can complain as much as you like about England. Still, it will never be as ridiculous and inconsistent as in Hungary.