Going Dutch

Monday, May 9th, 2016 02:40 pm
tamf: jade dragon belt clasp. (Default)
[personal profile] tamf
The saleswoman at the garden centre was shocked and doubtful when I said I'd carry the bag of compost home on my bike. "Well, if you're sure..." she said anxiously after I'd told her about my bike's fabulous rack. Having a mishap after such confident assertions would have been embarassing, so I made sure I picked a bag without a hole in it and strapped it on. Wheeling off with 50 litres of compost at the back and a proud hydrangea in my basket, I imagined I looked quite Dutch. They are the ones that carry everything on their bikes, right?

It was in this frame of mind that I spotted my first pro-EU display in someone's front window. A cute and rather discreet garland of EU flags. The display was not in my village. The other display I've seen, which is, has much more of a pro-Brexit attitude.

This is the second time I'm the specator to an EU debate. The first one was in Norway in 1994, when I was too young to vote. It's interesting to compare the two. In the UK today, it seems to me that campaigners are talking mostly about economic issues, whereas most people have actually made up their mind pretty firmly already and mainly for emotional reasons. Either you hate the EU and think it's holding us back, or love it and therefore think we can't live without it.

In Norway there was a huge emphasis on the "Union" part of the EU, with the understanding that having fought hard and long to leave a previous union with Sweden (and now we're supposed to join a union with the Swedes and sundry other Europeans?!?!?!). The no camp won the referendum, which may of course also have had a teensy bit to do with the buoyant economy. And fish. Norwegians are precious about their fish.

There's less anti-union talk in the United Kingdom, not surprisingly. The no camp here seems to be really into the issue of immigration. Well, let me just point out that Norway, as an EEA partner, has had plenty of the same immigration that Brexiters so loathe. Also, now that the economy's less buoyant, many immigrants are leaving again. Seriously, immigrants are a good sign, it means there's hope in a country.

If I had a say and thought it would help, I'd vote against the unaccountable multinational companies that are taking over transport, cleaning and who knows what other services everywhere, from smaller local companies. Guess what? They're both in Norway and in the UK, and I doubt any single referendum's going to solve it. And I had another look at that hydrangea. Turns out it was grown in the Netherlands. It's globalizaaaaation... and it's here.
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