If we left the EU, would I need a visa to visit France?

Barbie
Barbie

COMMENT: Time to take responsibility for our own wellbeing

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For the past week I’ve been lucky enough to be away on holiday, hurtling down French mountainsides strapped to two flimsy bits of plastic.

I feel very privileged to be able to take myself off skiing – not just because it’s not a cheap pastime, but because we live pretty close to the place where the good snow is, where the good wine comes from and where the best cheese happens to be made (apart from Stilton).

For me, growing up in the Portsmouth area meant camping holidays to France when I was little, either in tents near chateaux or mobile homes somewhere sunny.

Even when customs controls were more stringent there didn’t seem to be much trouble getting to and from the continent, especially if you went every year.

Of course these days you can drive over once-patrolled road crossings.

But just last week I flew into Switzerland and then wandered into France.

There was not a gendarme in sight to see if I was smuggling Cheddar into the land of Camembert, or Hambledon’s finest sparkling wine into Champagne country. The horror!

I do wonder whether that will all change come the referendum on EU membership if the majority vote to leave.

Certainly freedom of movement is a benefit to the 28 member states and one which we wouldn’t enjoy if we were out.

I wonder if I’d have to get a visa to visit Europe on holiday?

Or if there would be limits imposed on how many countries I could visit in one go — no repeat of the epic France to Switzerland to Italy road trip of 2001 or a pre-university inter-railing bonanza across the continent.

Of course, if we leave the EU, chances are we’d have to leave the Eurovision Song Contest too. Could we really do that to the memory of Terry Wogan and his bemusement at repeated ‘nil points’ for the UK?

I guess we’ll have to watch what happens in Brussels, when the UK’s watered-down demands for reform are put to the European vote at a crunch summit.

Talking of summits, I’ll be spending the week ahead looking at photos of snowy mountains...

DOES THIS MEAN BARBIE AND GI JOE COULD BECOME AN ITEM?

Hang on a minute…Hasbro and Mattel might be merging? Barbie might finally be able to get it on with GI Joe? Finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

But will the merger of the two toy giants be a match made in heaven?

Certainly they’ve both been pretty coy about their latest dalliance, having had a previous flirtation in 1996. Perhaps this time it’s for keeps and they’ll live happily ever after together, building toys together until death — or restructure — do they part.

It seems the world is being taken over by giant companies, what with Google’s Alphabet becoming the world’s largest firm a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, here’s to GI Joe and Barbie — happy Valentine’s!

IT’S COOL TO SEE TIM BRINGING SCIENCE TO LIFE FOR CHILDREN

How cool that schoolchildren have been able to have a chat with an astronaut while he’s up in space.

How much more interesting must physics have been for those children during their chat with Tim Peake who, as we all know, is currently orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station.

During the chat the 20,000 children taking part learnt how astronauts touch their toes in space (do a backflip in zero gravity, apparently) and that the spaceman’s heart would slow down and shrink if he didn’t do his exercises every day.

The 20-minute chat had the kids doing simultaneous experiments, bringing science to life in a way a fleet of physics teachers could never do for me.