Dining across the divide: ‘She thinks people come to Britain for a free house’ | Life and style

Amanda, 52, West Yorkshire


Occupation Amanda has long-term renal and coronary heart failure, so is unable to work
Voting report Has voted Labour, Lib Dem and Inexperienced. Voted for Nick Clegg. Would most likely vote Inexperienced if there was an election tomorrow
Amuse bouche She met her husband on Guardian Soulmates in 1995


Yolanta, 54, Bradford


Occupation Freelance accountant
Voting report Used to vote Labour; switched to Lib Dem in 2019
Amuse bouche She additionally speaks Lithuanian and Russian

For starters

Amanda I arrived first and chatted to the house owners, who had been beautiful people.
Yolanta I believed she was a good woman – that we’d get alongside.
Amanda She was fairly closed. I feel she was prepared for a confrontation.
Yolanta I ordered an orange juice, then rooster with a mushroom sauce.
Amanda I ordered gamberoni, then penne piccante.

Yolanta and Amanda

The massive beef

Amanda We each learn plenty of papers, however I don’t learn the Solar or the Mail. She mentioned, “I learn the Solar, but it surely’s not an clever paper.” Nicely, don’t learn it then, can be my reply to that. She talked about the refugees arriving on the coast. My complete feeling is considered one of compassion. What a horrendous manner to arrive in a nation, determined and alone. What have you ever left, to make that journey?

Yolanta All the people who come, they’re all younger – 18, 20, 25 years previous. They come right here simply to reside on advantages. People come with out paperwork, and why? Western nations can not clear up all the world’s issues. It isn’t a leftwing opinion, however it’s my opinion.

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Amanda She thinks people come right here for a free home, to reside for free. I mentioned, “However they solely get £39 a week” and she replied, “Nicely they may purchase a loaf of bread.” She was very mounted towards people arriving. The day we met [which was before 27 people died in the Channel’s worst mass drowning], crossings from France had been getting a lot of protection. However I have a look at the large image. I examine Calais and the horrendous issues people undergo, the violence there. I don’t see people arriving in dinghies as a risk. I simply see them being kicked from nation to nation.


Yolanta They come right here and they are not looking for to work, and they don’t behave or gown as if they need to combine.

Amanda I feel in case you learn the Solar, you’re going to learn a lot of bile.

Yolanta and Amanda

Sharing plate

Amanda She assumed I’d voted for Brexit. So it took the wind out of her sails, as a result of I’m very pro-European and I voted to keep in. She mentioned she had a complete speech prepared to problem my Brexit views. That was good in a manner, as a result of it broke the ice.

Yolanta Let’s say for travelling, I’m very pro-European. However if you would like to work right here, or if you would like to reside right here, or if you would like to get advantages, that has to be managed. A strict management.

Amanda I knew she’d been in the UK 15 years, and I used to be prepared to assume, “You’ve had freedom of motion, you’ve come right here, and now I haven’t acquired freedom of motion.” However that’s not the sort of freedom of motion she minds.

Yolanta We agreed that it is extremely good to journey in the EU. However she advised me that it might be troublesome to get medical remedy in EU nations now.

Yolanta and Amanda

For afters

Yolanta We disagreed on Black Lives Matter. That police officer, in fact he was responsible. However I don’t assume that he needed to kill George Floyd. Crucial factor was that Floyd had a legal report.

Amanda I believed, “Oh proper, so that you assume he deserved to have a knee on his neck and die in that manner?” I hate this time period woke, however I am woke and I’m conscious of injustice in the world, and I discover it actually troublesome not to have compassion. The best way he died was abhorrent and unsuitable. You possibly can’t take away somebody’s proper to justice as a result of they’ve acquired a vibrant background.

Yolanta and Amanda


Yolanta I feel we agreed on many issues and every little thing was very good.

Amanda We’re to date aside that we couldn’t discover any frequent floor. Nevertheless it was actually fascinating, and, due to my well being now, I’m simply grateful for the expertise. I’ve had 4 kidney transplants, bowel surgical procedure, coronary heart surgical procedure, and I’m working on empty. However I’ve had a very wealthy, full, beautiful life, and I do my perfect to reside day to day.

Yolanta and Amanda

Extra reporting: Naomi Larsson

Amanda and Yolanta ate at Ristorante da Vito, Leeds

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