Miscellaneous, Random and Weird Phone Shots

Yes it is election today

Election of the Members of the EU parliament, that is!

And this time around, I AM allowed to vote–and sure as hell I AM voting!

You may be astonished, shocked even. Are you telling me that EU is actually not unelected? Are you telling me I can vote for MEPs?

Why yes. How else do you think that horrible nicotine-riddled repulsive frog-face that shouts so much and whose initials are the same as National Front got that job? (I am not typing his name here because I refuse to soil my blog with it–not because he’s Voldemort. He wishes he was Voldemort, but he’s more like Uncle Vernon.) He also passionately loves that job, because why else would he lead such a loud campaign for his new party? Because he wants to get elected again so that he can still have the said job.

But forget about ugly fascists, that’s not why I’m here, I’m here to tell you to GO AND VOTE. If you don’t want Brexit, vote for a Remain party. (This would be Greens or Lib Dems in England.)

Something else I want to say now.

As I say in the linked post, I am–as an EU citizen–allowed to vote in local elections but not in general elections or referendums (yeah, that one that affects my life most, isn’t democracy great?) I am also allowed to vote in EU Parliament elections–but this was not so straight forward.

The way it works in UK is: you register to vote at your local electoral office. Every time you move house, you should do this, so that your address is up to date (also it helps with getting credit). Before an election takes place, you will receive a poll card, like the one on my picture. You don’t need to take this with you to vote, it’s just for information. Now, like lots of people, I never paid attention to any EU elections before 2016. I didn’t even know when they took place and were not on my radar. I was under the impression that I couldn’t vote in those either, because of something someone told me (someone who was either lying or didn’t know). I only found out I could because now I’m connected with other EU citizens in UK and activists through social media. And wouldn’t be connected to them if it wasn’t for Brexit, so ironically, it was Brexit that made me learn about my right to vote in EU parliament elections.

Why was it not so straight-forward, though? Well, because I had to register for EU Parliament elections separately from the usual register. Someone I follow on Twitter, a fellow EU citizen, tweeted a link to the necessary form. So I printed the form, filled it in and posted it to the electoral office. A few days later I received the form back, not the one I sent but a new one, same but with my details filled in by computer and with a barcode at the bottom. So I sighed, filled the fields I needed to fill in, signed it again and personally dropped it at the council offices in their mailbox, while out on a lunch break. I heard nothing from them. In the meantime, poll cards arrived for the other tenants in this house (I live in a house converted to flats with shared letterbox) but not for me (don’t you just love being excluded?) I felt so stressed about it that I rang the electoral office and they confirmed I was indeed registered. I was so relieved.

And my poll card eventually came.

The reason I write all of this is: why does it take grassroots activists for me to find out about my right? Why was I not informed about this?

And it’s not just me, I know the other EU citizens also didn’t know. Luckily groups like The3Million have been doing a great job raising awareness to get everyone registered. But it’s not their job to do so. The councils know if you’re an EU citizen. They know it well enough not to let you vote in general elections and referendums that may ruin your life. So they should know it well enough to inform you in time that you need to register separately for EU elections. The issue is not that there is a separate form for a separate register. I don’t mind filling in another form to get what I need. The issue is that we were never told about it.

Why is there a separate register for EU citizens to vote in EU Parliament elections? If I’m not mistaken it’s because the form is also a declaration that you are not also registered in another EU country, so you won’t vote twice, in two different countries. If you’re an EU citizen living in UK, you can vote either in your home country, or in UK, but not both. I get that.

Of course we don’t do that. That’s cheating and we don’t do cheating because that’s what bad guys do and we’re not bad guys, we’re good guys. For me it makes sense on every level to vote for UK MEPs. Like, I left Slovakia before it even was an EU country, I don’t even know how it works there and what parties there are. I don’t follow Slovak politics. I know they recently elected a woman for a President but I already forgot her name. (BTW, Slovakia is a parliamentary democracy and the Prime Minister has bigger power than a President.) Point is, I want to vote for UK representatives.

How it should work, in my opinion is: electoral offices should send every EU citizen who is registered to vote a letter some time before EU Parliament elections, informing them that they are eligible to vote either in their home country or in UK, but not in both and that if they wish to vote in UK, to complete the enclosed form. Simple.

Why this is not done, I don’t know.

It almost sounds like they don’t want us to vote.

It also almost sounds like voter suppression.

But that can’t be.

Or can it?

PS: Don’t forget to vote.

Miscellaneous

The Not Christmas Post

Yeah, I had to go there.

But at least I’m doing this on the 23rd, not on any of the Christmas days. Reality is… well, reality, even at this time of year.

So first of all, I had to make a Brexmas card, because of course.

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Open it!

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UK seems like it’s very sick and needs some good care. Just check this out.

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It also looks like an England flag, which was not my intention–just a coincidence. Moving on to:

You know how the word snowflake has gained a completely different meaning to what it actually is. Used by people who can’t get over the fact that the world is changing to describe mostly liberals and/or socially conscious (aka woke) people. Snowflake? I give you snowflake.

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Bonus – a not Christmas throwback

I found this anti-Christmas card I forgot I had among my Christmas drawings and cards (I have this thing I call the Christmas Book, where I’ve been drawing Christmas scenery and stuff since I was very young and in the last few years been saving cards in it, but that’s not what I want to talk about now). I should say I’m not the artist of this brilliant piece–it was done by a coworker. It’s from 2014 and I think it’s hilarious:

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The point is, some people just hate Christmas, or can’t handle it. And that’s okay. It’s not an easy time for everyone, whether it’s for mental health issues, having lost a loved one or working in retail, you are all valid. One can also enjoy some aspects of Christmas and not the others. So maybe you like the food but are not thrilled about having to spend time with annoying relatives. I get that.

I have received shit from someone earlier this year when I said Santa Claus wasn’t real. I said it by mistake. (I think I meant to say something else but my communication skills are so poor I’m glad I can express myself on most days, also remember please that I’m not speaking my native language.) But as a result, I ended up hating that figure. Pass me those anti-Santa rockets, by all means.

Let’s just be good to each other, not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Unless you’re a bigot or a horrible person. Then you don’t deserve to be treated nice.

Merry Christmas.

Or not.

Miscellaneous

The Halloween Post

Some Halloween-themed events took place in Manchester City Centre, for which they displayed these props. So I took some pics of the said props.

And, because I occasionally have ideas, I added some lines to them.

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“I went to the market and it cost me an arm and a leg.”

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Ethel was excited to show her friend Richard her new discovery: “Hey, Richard, come and have a look at what I found. Richard? RICHARD???”

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“This is what happens when you sign up for Strictly Come Dancing with only one foot.”

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“And then he said there was going to be a new 50p coin to commemorate Brexit.”

“BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

The End

Happy Halloween!

Miscellaneous

People’s Vote March, London

I was there.

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I have posted in the past about anti-Brexit marches I attended, in Manchester and in Leeds. So now I’m posting about the one I went to on Saturday 20 October–the largest one by far and the largest march in UK since Stop The War in 2003.

It was a People’s Vote March–campaigners demanding a vote for the final Brexit deal, but come on, everyone was there with EU flags and Bollocks-to-Brexit stickers.

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An estimated 700,000 took part, I think that is the official figure. Trust me, it was HUGE. I was there. I have never seen that many people together in one place ever, in my life. The march went from Park Lane to Parliament Square (where there was a stage set up for the speakers) but a lot of us couldn’t even get to Parliament Square, because it was so packed with people, so we had to turn around and go back.

Coaches came from all over the country, many of them paid by celebrities or other VIPs. There were four coaches from Manchester and I was on one.

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My essentials ready on the eve of the march day

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Also this on my head

The coach departed at 6:30am. I’m very much a not-morning person, but for this I got out of bed without throwing any abuse at my alarm clock. I was as excited as a kid going to Disneyland!

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One thing’s interesting–I suffer from really bad travel sickness, especially on coaches but on this occasion my stomach didn’t flutter once, and I sat right at the back where it’s usually the worst. The Universe was looking out for me on that day.

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Some North West representation on the above two pics. (The flags on the bottom one are Cheshire flag and Lancashire flag.)

People really got creative with their banners and placards, though I had no chance of snapping many of them, due to the sheer size of the march. I think my favourite one was “I’m so cross I’m missing football for this”. If that’s not a sign that it’s serious, then nothing is.

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At the Hyde Park Speaker’s Corner there was a gathering of dogs with their owners, who campaigned for Pet Passports (this concerns all of us pet owners). They set up a pee station for them.

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Do your business on Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Ian Duncan Smith, go dogs!

What I love about these marches is the atmosphere, everyone is so positive and people are dead nice to each other.

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Whether there will be a People’s Vote or not remains to be seen. It’s probably something I won’t be able to participate as I’m not allowed to vote in UK in anything other than local elections (and will lose even that right after April 2019). Once again I will be just watching other people entering polling stations like I had to do on the day of the EU Referendum.

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Excluded again

To be fair, the campaigners are demanding a Final Say For All, which would include us and those British citizens living in the EU countries that couldn’t vote in the Referendum because they’ve been out of the country for too long. If David Cameron wasn’t so stupid he would have given us the right and we would have swung the result the other way and he would still be a Prime Minister, but it’s pointless to talk about that now.

I hope this march will still be talked about for years to come. And I can look all my current and future nephews in the eye and tell them, that on that beautiful sunny autumn day in London, I was there.

Link to Guardian that has some good shots from the march.

Miscellaneous

The Brexit Anniversary

Reblogging my own post because it’s the 2nd Brexit referendum anniversary and I don’t know what else to post. Last year, I made this big song and dance about forgiveness, but to be truthful, I don’t think I have done it. I thought I could try, at least, a bit, but it’s still too raw. I need more time to heal and if it has to take five years, then so be it.

I’m exhausted.

A march is taking place in London today, which I will not be attending–at least not physically but will be there in spirit. I’ve been to two marches (which I posted about on blog) and it was absolutely fantastic, I hope I’ll get a chance to attend more marches, or similar events.

All the people will be brothers, are Ode To Joy lyrics.

We can hope.

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Some Photoblog

Today is the anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster of negative emotions, from anger to disappointment, to sadness and helplessness and rage so intense, it made me want to break things. That sick feeling when I woke up on the morning of 24th June 2016 to the referendum results? I never, ever want to experience that again, ever.

It’s exhausting and I’m tired of it.

So–what now? This now.

It was the song.

You know when you listen to a certain song and it, like, does something to you? I’m sure most of you have experienced it. So, I was listening to The Beatles–which is unusual for me as I normally favour 90s to present music, but I bought a ticket to see their museum in Liverpool, so I thought I should play me some of their tunes. Now, I’d known this…

View original post 439 more words

Miscellaneous

Stop Brexit March, Leeds

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I attended a Stop Brexit March in Leeds on Saturday, my second march of this kind. I’m posting about it somewhat late; I felt exhausted all day Sunday as I also went to a friend’s son first birthday party when I got back to Manchester. I normally barely set a foot outside on weekends if I don’t have to. My body can’t quite handle so much action!

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This march was one of similar marches taking place around the country to mark the first anniversary of the triggering of the Article 50. The Leeds march represented North.

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This was my first time visiting Leeds and I will definitely visit again, properly with my camera; this time my attention was dedicated solely to the march. All pictures were taken with my smartphone.

It all started on the train:

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I caught the same train as some fellow protesters, who hung EU flag on the window.

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Of course the giant EU flag wasn’t missing.

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More pics and signs and banners:

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One of the speakers at the march was Richard Corbett MEP, you can see him on the above picture on the very left, talking to the woman with blond hair. I’ve met him before at a Q&A session he did at the University of Manchester last year.

I suppose the next picture should come with a trigger warning!

brexit monster in leeds

I was pleased I got to photograph the Brexit Monster up close, it was too far away from me at the Manchester march.

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Will this message get across?

What’s been frustrating to me recently is not the events that are happening, it’s the fact that people don’t seem to care a bit. They’re going about their lives, probably thinking it’ll all work out or possibly believing that Brexit won’t happen, whilst doing nothing towards it not to happen. It’s this apathy that that’s the worst. I’ve not heard anyone outside my circle even mention the Cambridge Analytica story. Even Remainers say we should just “get on with it”. Um, no.

One day they’ll wake up in the morning into a first day of dictatorship and will keep asking, how did this happen? Like this, motherfuckers. Sigh.

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Image credit: YouTube caption mine

To end the post on a positive note, it’s been great seeing news about March for Life in USA. To all the people that came out to the streets, I want to say: you absolutely rock!

Miscellaneous

Everything is Connected

everything is connected

This sign is outside one of the many University buildings on Oxford Road in Manchester.

Why have I taken a picture of such a random thing? Because 1. that’s what I do and 2. it reminded me of something.

If you’ve watched Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, then you will recognise “Everything is connected” as a sort of tagline of the show. (If you haven’t watched it, then I highly recommend it–it’s funny and clever and has amazing characters, so basically everything a good TV series should be.)

It also reminded me of another thing, non-fictional. Hint: it’s to do with those evil twins of Brexit and Trump and a certain firm called Cambridge Analytica. Link.

.

.

.

End of blog post.

Miscellaneous

Stop Brexit March in Manchester

Today I present to you some shots from the Stop Brexit March that I attended here in Manchester on 1st October.

First, the essentials, which I ordered from word up design:

stopbrexitkit

And now for the pictures from march and the street party and rally. Some flags:

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Banners and placards:

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For those who don’t know and are asking, what bus? This bus:

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Basically, that slogan is a lie but people didn’t know that and for many that was the reason to vote Leave. That’s the bus I–and many others–have been thrown under. I still have tire marks left over from it.

Elvis was here.

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This is Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU speaking at the rally.

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And of course, fake Boris Johnson riding a unicorn.

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And finally Alastair Campbell playing Ode To Joy on bagpipes.

The march took place to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, which is currently taking place in Manchester. This is part of Autumn of Discontent–a series of marches happening all across the country.

It is also the first time I’ve been out on the streets protesting since my mum took me with her to the Velvet Revolution demonstrations in November 1989, which spelt the end of Communist era in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Resistance shall not be futile!

Miscellaneous

The Brexit Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster of negative emotions, from anger to disappointment, to sadness and helplessness and rage so intense, it made me want to break things. That sick feeling when I woke up on the morning of 24th June 2016 to the referendum results? I never, ever want to experience that again, ever.

It’s exhausting and I’m tired of it.

So–what now? This now.

It was the song.

You know when you listen to a certain song and it, like, does something to you? I’m sure most of you have experienced it. So, I was listening to The Beatles–which is unusual for me as I normally favour 90s to present music, but I bought a ticket to see their museum in Liverpool, so I thought I should play me some of their tunes. Now, I’d known this song since forever, of course, but this is the time I fully and completely and 100% appreciated it.

This was back in April and I was thinking about how it would be a year since the referendum in two months’ time and I should mark that anniversary somehow; I don’t remember exactly how it came about, I just know it had something to do with the song. Then I’ve been coming across some quotes about forgiveness and how holding a grudge is like letting the person live rent-free inside your head and all that and I made a decision.

So today I want to say this to the Leave voters: I forgive you.

You really had no clue what the fuck you were doing. And even if you did have a clue, I still forgive you anyway.

Paul McCartney wrote the song after he had a dream in which his late mother spoke those words “let it be” to him. His mum’s name was Mary, so mother Mary is actually her, but he said if you want to interpret it religiously as Virgin Mary, then you can. I see her as a very wise mature lady who knows better. I should probably listen to her more often!

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Some things I want to add:

  • at times when I felt so hateful towards the whole of UK, I took a few deep breaths and repeated to myself, the 48%, the forty eight percent, THE FORTY EIGHT PERCENT and thought of everything I liked about this country or that came from here (English breakfast, Agatha Christie etc) and I thought of the children, who have lost their chance at being EU citizens before they even knew what it was
  • my line manager at work has been an absolute rock
  • the Facebook group for EU citizens in UK and Brits in EU has been massively helpful to me. I’m prone to anxiety and sometimes I think I’m the only crazy one, so to read that other people are as much worried as me (while the outside world keeps saying oh, but you’ll be alright, they can’t send you back) certainly made me feel better. So much blame is thrown on social media but positives are overlooked.
  • there was a hilarious article in a Swiss paper (link to translation). Switzerland is not in EU and keeps neutral, so I think I can trust their judgement

Over to you, Fab Four:

I wonder, if anyone would like to share in the comments: is there a song that has made an impact in your life or is important to you in any way?