Archive for the ‘Southampton’ Category


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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