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Archive for the ‘Glasgow’ Category

UK Bus Tour, Part IV: Leeds – Stirling, May 22nd – 29th 

Wednesday, May 27th 2009 


The night before we were more tired as we used to be, maybe our walks around Sunderland on Tuesday were much more efficient that we had thought… I am not sure, but whatever it was made us get up before 10 AM without any problem J. That was going to be the last morning we had breakfast in The George Hotel in Osborne Road, Newcastle. 

We took all our stuff with us again after 3 days at the same place with new destination: Glasgow! The biggest city of Scotland! It took us 3 hours to get there with the super-van driven by Miha (as usual), maybe more because the GPS sometimes got crazy and changed our route… very funny. But anyway, in the middle of the way we stopped the van in some private property in order to see the remains of the Hadrian’s Wall, the wall that marked the northern boundaries of the Roman Empire in Britain. While some of us were taking pictures on it, the rest of the group stayed at the van just in case the owner of the house complains about our parking… 

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At the same time the van was being invaded by loads of  animal manure smells every 10 minutes, I was looking at everyone of us. Half of the group was sleeping with sunglasses covering their morning faces, Thomas was typing his day on the blog with the laptop, Casper was checking our route on the GPS and Miha was driving perfectly as always… 

We reached Glasgow at 2.30 PM. I still do not know how but we could park the van in one of those streets. Quickly we took all our promotion material and looked for Caledonian University in order to stay there 3 or 4 hours doing campaign. During those hours we met more people than any other day, why? Because we had such a great stand in front of the library. Actually it was a very good idea because students had their finals on that week, so lots of them were studying over there. A bunch of them approached to us to get to know what we were doing. 

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We got lunch at the cafeteria, splitting the group in two teams. I think street action that day was one of the best we had in the whole week. Although young people might not know about politics as much as old people could know because of the experience in life, it seems to me that they are more open-minded so it was easier talking to them about European Elections and encouraging them to vote the fourth of June. Some of the old people I found on the streets during the tour think that European Elections are a waste of time because nothing is going to change… that is what I am talking about… 

But hey, we had a new surprise! Thomas brought a new girl into the group while he was holding one of the posters on the streets. She introduced to us (she was from Czech Republic) claiming that she wanted to help us because our work was so nice J 

After our street action, we were taken to the European Restaurant in the centre of Glasgow by Marco, one serbian friend of AEGEE living in Glasgow, who took us to watch the UEFA Champions League Final: Barça – Manchester (It is not necessary to say who won it… hehe – just in case Barcelona! -). 

After the game we went to the hotel, changed our clothes and got ready for an international party in some cool club. I do not have to point out that we danced like party animals (as always) and we had lots of fun… Even going to bed late, we know the next morning we will do our best for sure!  

 

Belén, AEGEE-Alicante

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UK Bus Tour, Part IV: Leeds – Stirling, May 22nd – 29th

Day 6: Glasgow


Thursday morning, street action in the centre of Glasgow, somewhere in the shopping mile of St. Enoch. The AEGEE company is peacefully promoting the European elections, talking to people on the streets, distributing flyers to the adults and balloons to the children. But in the course of the week, we have been developing other strategies as well, such as singing a song on the melody of „Frère Jacques“ with the simple lyrics „European elections, June the fourth“ or just shouting this phrase into the streets at the top of our lungs. Public attention is guaranteed. Another strategy makes a particular impact: simple posters with once more the same „lyrics“ which we hold high up in the air while doing something extravagant.

These extravagancies may consist in imitating Monty Python’s „Ministry of Silly Walks“ in the middle of the shopping mile, tailing innocent people until they notice (sometimes after more than one minute), or in disturbing a street artist’s performance, drawing the attention of a considerable audience (a rather impolite version). Another version is performed by myself, remembering the Peruvian methods I once practiced: standing in the middle of a two-lane one-way street, just in front of the traffic lights, consequently suffering a load of vehicles passing me on both sides every minute. It does not only ensure close attention from the car drivers, but also from the pedestrians standing on either side of the road, wondering why this guy is „risking his life“ there for a simple slogan written on the backside of a colourful AEGEE poster.

As is to be expected, drivers start to express their concern about my strategic concept before long by making excessive use of their claxons, which in turn promotes my purpose of drawing public attention. However, approximately after the tenth wave of traffic, one taxi driver loses his temper, parks his car next to me in the middle of the intersection, and with a sonorous voice addresses me with the following phrase: „Get your arse off the road, you fucking idiot!“

I instinctively decide to ignore him, but as he eventually moves on, I start to realise that I was just called an idiot. Being a Political Science student, I learned the etymology of this word, and that it used to be part of the ancient dichotomy politikos – idiotos. Both terms describe an opposition of characteristics of the democratic citizen: while the „politician“ assumes his duties as a citizen, taking actively part in society and decision-making in particular, the „idiot“ just cares about his personal fortune and leaves the shaping of his society to others…

Isn’t that exactly what our campaign is all about? I am kind of pleased by the irony of this incident, although the incident itself eventually leads me to abandon my activities in the middle of the road. Soon after, we move on to Stirling, leaving this morning’s events as a mere part of the campaign history. But I will remember this as one of the brighter moments of an electoral campaign with many frustrating and encouraging experiences.

 

Thomas, AEGEE-Köln

 

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