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Archive for the ‘Liverpool’ Category

So I arrived to Liverpool on Saturday at 3pm waiting for bus but Miha and his favorite GPS lady lost as usually so I had to do city tour on my own. I went to Albert Docks and city main shopping mall where I found Macdonal for first time with free WIFI! So I started to mail my friends where I am! the bus with Woulter, Thijs, Mira and Mona arrived about 8 pm to Formula 1 hostel full of british labourers 😛 We went out for a mexican dinner and met Hannibal AEGEE Sheffield member and Alberto, vice president of AEGEE Brescia who has come to Liverpool with aim to find an internship ( what he managed to do ). Hannibal took us for a short night walk and to his apartment where he is living with crazy polish guy – Gwidon. They are studying in famous Liverpool Institure for Performing Arts – Hannibal sound engineering and Gwidon theater play. This party was one of greatest social meeting in my life. We were drinking a bit of various alcohol, smoking sisha and dancing with music from our countries. Finally his arti-farti friends has come what made the party more cultural and freaky. Thank you mates! As usual we finished party on sunrise going to hostel and meeting crazy British teen guy who really couldn’t remember where does Miha comes from. Slovakia?hahahah

On Sunday we started hard work day with disccusion based on paper from  Center for European Reform about British euroscepticism. We found out that the main reasons of this are geography, role of press and lack of education in UK in terms of european affairs. Later we keep on with sightseeing the city and trying to talk to “scouts” about elections what was quite hard. At snack time in Mcdonald we did Liverpool exploring from books and internet where one person had to prepare Liverpool- culture and arts, second economy and politics and third history and landmarks. This way we learned more abotu this interesting city. We visited famous Anglican cathedral – one of the biggest in the world, beatels store, and we went for a chinese dinner. Then some small pub crawling in british style. This night Dragan has arrived.

Monday we picked up fast our staff and moved to Bolton to meet Helena Mercer from YMCA Bolton. she helped us with great street action in main square of Bolton. We did an arch of balloons between lights what was very visible for pedestrians. At evening we had nice theater visit “Octagon” at play “Oleanna” – story about human trafficiking. Last great highlight of this day was great Indian food.

Tuesday – this day we moved to Manchester. We parked our van and went to see Manchester cathedral and main sqare. We were positive amazed by European Parliament Choice box – so immediatelly when we saw that we went there to record our message. Lady reponsible for that was very amazed what we are doing in campaign. Later my good friend Marek who is doing his erasmus in Salford University ( originally from UMCS, Political Science Faculty in Lublin – like me) met us for a coffee and city walk. We did some shopping in Primark and visited nice art gallery in city full of interactive attractions. In the evening we canvassed at university district with help of Alisdair and his friend from Manchester. We met very nice guy at booshop who was very interested in our project and recommend us some movie about european elections but in the end we skipped that. We moved our stuff to hostel and had nice dinner in Italian restaurant “ciao bella”

Tuesday we moved to Sheffield. We started quite earlly as AEGEE Sheffield was waiting for us with stall and place at University students union. Agnieszka – polish girl who is studying in Sheffield industrial chemistry hosted us very well. We had very succesfull campus action. We talked to many students, recording video material. It seems that this students were very consciouss about elections. In afternoon we had typical english dinner and unfortunatelly I had to leave at 8 pm from Sheffield to Doncaster airport having a flight at 22.50 to Poznan.

Czarek Y VOTE core-team

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We started in Stoke-on-Trent, a small town famous for its pottery. It was raining, so we had a workshop with Thijs from AEGEE Utrecht (NL). We were discussing our programme and expectations about the Y Vote project and ended in a heated debate about several EU issues.

Afterwards, we moved on to Liverpool, where it was raining again. While searching our hotel, we ran into a crowd of Everton fans, who just came back from a soccer game. So we took the chance and distributed balloons with the message “Go Vote” on it. We had great fun until we were attacked by a fan who threw his beer at our van. But of course that couldn’t stop us promoting our campaign until the evening. After having dinner in a Mexican restaurant, we met Hannibal, who is studying in Liverpool and  who invited us home for a drink, which ended in a great party. We were also joined by some Irish, Italian, Polish and Lithuanian people, so half of Europe was united in Hannibal’s flat. After that evening, our new favourite song was “Fairy Tale” from the Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest candidate and winner 🙂 As we stayed in Liverpool for two days, we had the chance to do some sightseeing in the Beatles’ hometown. Unfortunately, it was still raining all the time.

On Monday, we moved on to Bolton, where we did some really great street action, supported by Helena, a local student. We were hanging up balloons in the pedestrian area and tried to arouse young people’s interest. Our guys were doing a particularly great job by running around with a balloon chain and shouting “European Elections – Go Vote”. We continued this campaign until another heavy rain shower stopped us as well as a police woman who asked us to remove our balloons that we had hung up all over. So we took our balloon chain and taped it around our van, which attracted a lot of attention during the following days. The same day, we were rewarded for our successful canvassing by some cultural programme: we went to the theatre to watch Mamet’s Oleanna and ate yummy Indian food.

The next city we stopped by was Manchester, where we were welcomed by heavy rain showers, which continued the whole day. But we met other campaigners from the EU Parliament in front of the town hall. They had built up a Choice Box and asked people to leave a video message for the EU Parliament. We joined them until the rain stopped us once again.

The following day led us to Sheffield, where we met Agnieszka from the AEGEE local. She had organised a stand at the university campus for us, where we could put up our material and give it away quite easily. To our big surprise, the sun was shining and we could reach a lot of students. Most of them already knew about the elections, but unfortunately not all of them were interested. So we tried to start a discussion with them and supplied them with more information. It was a big success because we could catch the attention of many students – both UK and European exchange students. Later on, we did some sightseeing and at night, we went to a students’ party, where we had a lot of fun until we were kicked out at 2.30 am.

Today we are moving on to Bradford/Leeds, where new participants will arrive and start the Fourth Part up to the Highlands.

All in all, it was great fun: we met many, many really nice people from all over Europe and learned a lot about campaigning and European issues in general.

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uk2

Having said goodbye to the Y Vote bus three days ago, finally I’m in a prosaic mood to write about my impressions of the UK.
Let’s start with the weather; immediately one of the foremost positive things of my stay in the UK. I would definitively argue for MORE beach holiday in the UK advertisement in the rest of the EU. It would help mutual understanding.
At first I was worried when I noticed I forgot my umbrella from Y Vote Groningen. But it was all nice and shiny weather in London, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Oxford. While in my home country the weather was shit.

What caught my eye was the EXCEPTIONALLY clean streets (even in London, one of the biggest cities in Europe, apparently not one of the most dirty), and in those streets: young mothers with young kids hand in hand in the busily trafficked streets of Soho, King’s Cross, Chelsea…
London is a MULTICULTURAL melting pot, filled with students and working citizens coming from all over the world. The ambience of all those people from different backgrounds and with puritan working spirit does not make the city less attractive for the sporty Brits, as you can see them jogging along the river Thames, sometimes with their dog on a leash.

I experienced a large part of the Y Vote conferences. During our campaign, for example at the Vienna Launching Conference, we talked about multicultural, globalized, societies in Europe, and the necessity of commonly shared VALUES in it. Well, now I have witnessed daily life in London, I got a better understanding of British Euroskepticism. I can well imagine that the British think of the so-called ‘European values’ that Sarkozy and Merkel talk about, as words with an empty shell. Why? I think because in London they ALREADY live in a (largely) multicultural society with exactly those values that belong in the 21st century.

And London is a city that was atrocited by the bombs of Al Qaeda terrorists in 2005! Back then, several bombs caused a bloody massacre. They hit innocent citizens who used public transport daily. In fact; our hostel was nearest to that metro station where one of the bombs exploded; King’s Cross St. Pancras. We took metros from that station at twice a day. Anyway, it is a remarkable city. It is like a metropole that undistracted goes ITS OWN WAY, regardless of terrorist attacks, or some wacky Europhiles on the continent that criticize the city for not being ‘European’.

The last days I spent in Oxford, the world-famous university city. And there, living is equally remarkable. Everything in Oxford seems BETTER arranged than in my hometown (and I live in the Netherlands, generally not regarded as a backward country in these respects). People you see on the British streets are more fashionable, the seats in the bus are softer, the grass in the gardens is kept tidier, the mailboxes are more charming, the men in suits chose their ties with more care… In short, it’s amazing! Ah, and the English girls – they look fabulously. Not at all what I expected.

A shame that the people here are so ignorant of European affairs. Because they greatly benefit from European integration, only they don’t seem to realize it. It is up to us to make them realize.

The Y Vote Wolf

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