So, I joined this small, gated-community with only a few other residents – mainly couples of a certain age, looking for a quiet life and with similar aspirations and financial standing. Over the years the community expanded, not only putting strain on the infrastructure but changing the direction of our community. Families with children arrived and pressure was exerted on the management committee to enlarge the swimming pool and construct a play area. Some of the families needed to be subsidised and our annual fees increased as a result. The medical facilities were over-stretched and service levels dropped. My wife and I decided that enough was enough and approached the management committee with a (kind of) ultimatum – some things have to change or we will leave. By now there were 27 members of that committee so getting round them all – let alone getting them to agree – was like herding fleas. Suffice it to say that I didn’t get very far but I put a brave face on it and told my wife I’d got some important concessions – the continued expansion of the community would be limited to 100% a year and we would be given preferential treatment for towel allocation at the pool. She was having none of it. I went back to the committee and told them that we had reluctantly decided to leave and asked what the process was for so doing. I was told that our decision was a very unexpected and disappointing outcome (“unexpected”?) and that the leaving process was outlined in a paragraph on page 350 of the community rule book. It said, “You’ve got 2 weeks to get out”. “2 weeks?”, I said, “that’s crazy. How did you come up with 2 weeks? And what’s the process anyway? We’ve invested in a lot of this infrastructure and we’d like to continue using the restaurant (one of the community’s original features that we liked)”. Of course, came the reply, but then you’ll have continue paying the subscriptions and if you have a pool where you’re going, our existing members will have the right to use it. And you need to negotiate your exit with each of the committee separately. That will take 2 months to start with, I said, and they don’t all agree in any case. It’s your fault, came the reply, it was your decision to leave…….So, I said slowly, it’s our fault the community became something that we didn’t want to be a part of and then it’s also our fault that that same community never made proper arrangements for members to leave?
Welcome to Brexit. An overcrowded ship with no lifeboats, where you can check out and but never leave. It’s interesting that the latest piece of EU legislation, GDPR (can’t remember what it stands for) includes “the right to be forgotten” as a key premise. That’s all we want, if it’s good enough for people, then what about countries?