I am not allowed to vote in UK because I’m not a UK citizen. (True, I can vote in local elections, but whoever cares about that. Well, maybe you do if you’re a fan of Parks and Recreation but otherwise?)
So in UK, the way it works, Commonwealth citizens are eligible vote in General Election, but EU citizens aren’t. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived here five years or fifty. That’s why the government is able to play us like a game of chess. We don’t matter.
Honestly, it never did bother me–how much difference does one person’s vote make anyway–until the 2016 Referendum. Then it very much bothered me. You see, I have this issue with being denied a vote in something that will affect my life.
This snap election has a lot to do with Brexit, as we know. So I’ve been feeling kinda like this:
I never take selfies, you know.
I decided I’m getting a pizza on Friday, regardless of the outcome. Pizza, not politics. Like I said before, Breakfast, not Brexit. I have nothing to lose in this, anyway.
So, if you’re here and you can, please don’t forget to go out and vote!
Since I started talking about eligibility to vote, I should also add that UK citizens that have lived in another country for more than 15 years lose their right to vote. I feel I need to mention it, because those British that live in EU countries are the same bargaining chips as us.
I like to refer to Manchester as my adopted hometown.
I came to Manchester in 2003 on an au-pair placement. Oft-times I think of how lucky I was to end up here. A city, but not as huge and frantic and loud (and expensive) as London.
I first heard about the attack late on Monday night. It was reported that there was a loud bang at the Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert and at the same time, Metrolink (which I use for my everyday transport) tweeted that services were not going through Victoria Station due to a police incident. Shit, I thought, I bet this is gonna last till tomorrow morning and how will I get to work?
(To clarify, Manchester Arena is next to Victoria Station, the box office entrance is through the station. I pass this station daily, it is physically impossible for me to avoid it when going to and from the city centre.)
As the reports coming in became clearer and clearer, my getting to work stopped being a priority.
You hear there are fatalities. And then you remember, Ariana Grande’s fanbase is young. Very young.
You hear about an attack like this and you want to be a good person and not believe that it is that thing it usually is and then it turns out that it is that thing that is usually is. But this is not what my post is about.
Times of tragedy bring out the goodness in people. Taxi drivers offering free rides. Cafe giving out free coffee to emergency workers. Hotel giving shelter to frightened teens returning from the concert. A homeless man rushing to help the injured.
Terror threat has now been raised to critical and it’s likely we will see soldiers on the streets tomorrow. I will get up in the morning and go to work and do my job as usual and when I finish I will go home and do shopping and cook my dinner and feed my cat and watch my shows and read books as usual, because I’m damned if I let any fanatical terrorist do anything differently.
It is a cliche to talk about the friendliness of the north. Manchester has problems just as every city does: nowhere is populated by saints, everyone is capable of unkindness or worse. But whereas, in other cities, people can be in too much of a rush to bother with niceties, where icy politeness is a substitute for warmth, Manchester stands out. Strangers ask how you are, and mean it. People who have never met can strike up conversations on public transport and on the street: in London, that is seen, quite frankly, as a bit odd. That would have happened in that concert yesterday. That’s just what Mancs do.
Yesterday, Manchester was one of the greatest cities on earth, and it remains so today. The warmth, the solidarity, the unique Manc humour, all of that will thrive as much as it ever did. This was the city that helped bequeath modern industrial civilisation; it is a hurricane of creativity and talent, like the music of Oasis and The Smiths, the art of Lowry, Corrie, the football, the athletes, the comedians, the suffragettes, the LGBT activists.
25 March 2017 marks 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – which eventually led to the formation of European Union
This entry is unapologetically Eurocentric.
EU has always meant a lot to me. I was born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, in former Czechoslovakia. I was nine when Velvet Revolution that overthrew the Communists happened. I still remember bits of it; my mum taking me with her out to the streets, the banners, the slogans. This was 1989. Mere fifteen years later, both Slovakia and Czech Republic joined the EU–an astonishing achievement. It enabled me to make something of myself in UK, where I first came to in 2003 as an au pair. As 2003 was before we joined EU, I still had to wait a line outside the British Embassy early in the morning to obtain a visa.
I’ve never been patriotic, I’m just not wired that way. I’m a European. I am fiercely loyal to my home city of Bratislava (don’t let me hear anyone badmouthing it!) but that’s about it. People usually call me Eastern European, however I reject that label because that’s not what I am.
Bratislava sits on the border of both Austria and Hungary, the only capital city in the world located at a tripoint. You can easily walk between the three countries as you would in your favourite park. Some people even pass the border twice a day on their commute to work.
I came across this article by Guy Verhofstadt published in Guardian. Guy Verhofstadt is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, a Member of European Parliament and the leader of Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
In the decades since [the Treaty of Rome] was signed, European countries have worked successfully to fight against the return of the rampant nationalism that led to two world wars and the slaughter of millions of Europeans, finding a way to work together to create a largely peaceful, free and prosperous continent.
In 2017, the EU stands at a crossroads. Our common project is consistently attacked and denigrated by nationalists, often working with authoritarian regimes outside the EU, who wish to destroy the EU and once again set our communities and societies against each other.
It is ironic that, as we saw in the Brexit referendum, the postwar generation that benefited so much from European integration is now driving an explosion of Eurosceptic nationalism. Young people, a majority of whom deeply value their European citizenship, too often face barriers to full political participation.
Ah, but Brussels demanded they use low-energy light bulbs… or something.
Nationalists tell us that the nation state is best placed to deal with common challenges, but their argument fails the test of reason and ignores the nature of the trans-national threats we face. Climate change, international terrorism and the negative consequences of globalisation cannot be tackled by individual countries acting independently. If the European Union of today did not exist, we would have to create it.
And you know what’s funny? You can argue that UK is NOT a nation state. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
Ultimately, nationalism will be rejected because its politicians are incapable of resolving the challenges we face. It is time for those who believe in a united Europe to stand up and be counted.
Beautifully put. I hope he’s right.
28 Members of EU
UK (for now)
I love you all.
Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, an Anthem of Europe, performed by Banco Sabadell Flashmob:
Today I want to share with you two phone camera shots I took the other day in Manchester City Centre. Both make a clear statement.
This is on the wall on Oldham Street, Manchester. Oldham Street is part of Northern Quarter, a centre of alternative culture, independent shops and suchlike. (Come to think of it, this blogs needs some pics of that area!)
Brexit and Trump seem to get mentioned together a lot. Imagine one day in the future someone who is a baby now, or not born yet, asking you: “What were they, some comedy duo?”
I wish. The difference is, The Donald won’t be in charge for more than 8 years but Brexit is final.
Window of a Diesel shop on Deansgate says Make Love Not Walls.
This politics thing is getting a bit tiring, isn’t it.
In the aftermath of the EU referendum, many UK-based Europeans have been left with feelings of insecurity and anxiety about what the future might hold for them and their families.
This project offers a snapshot of their experiences, capturing their thoughts and emotions following this momentous and potentially life-changing political decision.
“On the day of the referendum, I [Simon] was working at a theatre workshop in London with people from all over the world. We were all devastated. Then out came the stories in the press about people telling European waiters to go home. It was disgraceful.
Some people say that the Leave vote was a vote of punishment against Cameron and the Tories, but I think the voters are only punishing themselves. I see no positives at all in this situation. Things seem to have calmed down but you can already see some repercussions.”
“I [Maria] experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety at the beginning. It [Brexit] made me question whether this was really the place for me in the long term. I felt left out at a time when I was working hard to fit in and adapt to British culture.
However, I have had a lot of support from some sectors of society, like work colleagues and my own students. This has made me feel a bit better. I am not sure where I will end up, I’m young and there’s a whole world out there to explore.”
“It was sad to see how most of the Leave campaign was focused on immigration, blaming people like us for some of the biggest problems of this country. After the referendum we experienced a mixture of emotions – fear, frustration, anger, a strong feeling of being unwanted. We felt it was very irresponsible of politicians to pit one section of the population against another for their own interests, not valuing foreign workers like us for the contribution we make to the development of this country. We are worried that this could greatly affect the peaceful coexistence between nationalities in this diverse and multicultural country. ”
“I believe in a world without borders and think this [Brexit] is a step backwards from that. I am not concerned about my situation as a EU National in the UK, perhaps because I have been here for longer than the London Eye and I am both practical and resourceful, or it could be that I am still a bit in denial, I wouldn’t know. As Murakami says in one of my favorite books, sometimes “You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring.”
Me: At least I’m not on my own. Even though I haven’t got a PhD, Master’s degree, nor do I run my own business.