Tag Archives: expat

Excuse me while I take a #stemfie – #ep2014


Me making a crucial decision.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this one here > Apathy in NL… Oh! Selfies! taking a selfie, or a #stemfie in a Dutch polling booth isn’t illegal. The word stemfie comes from the Dutch word to vote, stemmen, and selfie, and it seems to be a ploy to get young people out to vote, because face it. Here in NL voter turn out will be a low one.


Security is tight at the Dutch polling stations.

As you can see from the photies we are spoiled for choice. We get to choose one candidate from 345 standing in 19 parties.

Not all the people on the list are actually standing for election. Some are just on the list to show their support for that particular party and are placed at the bottom of the list where they have no chance of being elected. Which makes it very tempting to vote for them.


Spoiled for choice, that's not the full ballot paper...

Which party did I vote for?

Tsk, it’s a secret ballot!

Just saying I voted for a social liberal party in a tactical vote against a Redneck party.


Apathy in NL… Oh! Selfies!

Ach, blog ideas, just like buses. You wait a while for one to come up then two arrive at the same time.

Was having a gander through one of my favourite online media outlets, that’ll be a news site or blog then, when I came across these two.

First up, this.
Just 20% of Dutch Voters are Interested in EU Elections.
Just 20% eh? That does worry me. Now I am pro EU but even I can see that they can be they’re own worst enemy at times. An organisation that could be slimmed down. Do they really need buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg? Must there be so many rules and regulations? Sometimes I feel it’s full of Civil Servants, in offices, coming up with random ideas just to justify their jobs and expences.
But for all their faults I would rather have the EU than not. We need more transparency. Give us a reason to vote.
My big concern is the apathy of many will provide a back door for the Euro sceptics, fruitcakes, swivel eyed loons, closet racists and general Rednecks into some real power in the EU because moderates chose not to vote.
I’ve been that cynic. A quote, one I can’t remember who originally said it, went “If voting changed anything, it would be made illeagal.”
I believed that, sometimes I still do, but the referendum on Scottish Independence in September has brought back a belief in grassroots politics. The Dutch local elections where local parties did well and took votes away from the mainstream parties also caught my eye.
Your vote can make a difference. Even if it’s a spoiled paper.

And then there was this!
Ballot Box Selfies NOT Illegal, Say Dutch Court

Is this a ploy to get more people to vote?! Wouldn’t suprise me. Go on get your vote in and take a photie while you’re at it. Your big smiling face next to your ballot paper with the big Anarchy symbol you drew in with the wee red pencil they supplied you with. Who am I to stop you? But seriously though, make an informed decision. I have a feeling this years EU Election could be a big one and I’d hate to see the rising tide of Euro sceptics turn into a Redneck tsunami.

You could do worse than have a look at this link here.

From Polaris to Trident to #IndyRef

This is a brilliant read, and an eyeopener for me. I also post this as an ex employee of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service and latterly Serco Denholm in Greenock. So jobs wise I benefitted from Faslane. Would I still vote Yes if I could? Hell yeah!

Macmillan’s sell-out a vital lesson for Scotland | Herald Scotland

#IndyRef – An Expat’s Twa Bawbies Worth

I’ve been reluctant to write this blog, being an expat and no longer living in Scotland. In fact at the time of writing I will have spent roughly a third of my life here in The Netherlands. And especially now with the news of the death of independence campaigner and politician Margo MacDonald today.

But I feel the need to share the feelings of at least one expat who will be affected by this.

I’ve always considered myself Scottish, always been my Identity. Scots first, European second, never felt British, and could never understand from a young age why Scotland wasn’t her own independent nation.

Voting Past

In the past in Scotland I always voted SNP, the only pro independence party I could turn to back in the day. Not only for their independence ticket, but also their social democratic stance as well, yeah social democratic, not socialist nationalist as many Cyber Brits wrongly label them. The name Scottish National Party being the clue NOT Scottish Nationalist Party.

Despite a period when I became cynical with politicians and politics, and still am, I still voted Yes Yes in the devolution referendum in 1997, voting to create yet another group of “them”. I saw through that cynicism and voted for more powers for Scotland and that slippery slope to independence the Tories and other nay sayers feared. A proper Scottish Government with real international presence and not just Scotland Regional Council. still hooked to Westminster. Just a wee pretend parliament to keep us quiet.

Voting Future

Should I return to live in an independent Scotland how could I vote? Could I vote Labour? I wouldn’t rule it out, wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole in their current Unionist guise. They’d have a lot of work to do though. They would have to get back to their traditional roots and rid themselves of the Red Tories of Darling, Sarwar, Lamont and failed Prime Minister, turned backbencher, Gordon “Northern Britain” Brown etc etc etc. Sounds to me to be too much work for them.

After sleeping with the enemy in Westminster, the Lib Dems are dead to me. I did vote for them once, once. In a local election, as a tactical vote. Living in a ward where SNP were routinely beaten into fourth behind the Tories and Labour v Lib Dem being neck and neck I voted for a new face. Won’t be happening again.

I could just stick with SNP, or I could turn to the Scottish Greens, but if another post indy social democratic or social liberal party catches my eye, well who knows.


I honestly don’t think a celebrity endorsement has ever swayed me to buy a product, never mind vote in a particular way, but it is nice to know that creatives are getting involved in the indy push. Having said that, David Bowie and Eddie Izzard, I still admire your work, but don’t worry, Scotland isn’t going anywhere. Nobody is sawing Scotland off at the border, turning our wind turbines into propellors and sailing off into the sunset. You’re still welcome to visit, and if you want I’m sure we’ll even let you move in.

English Tories

I always thought English Tories would be glad to see the backs of us. A “region” that constantly rejects them. A chance to get rid of several Labour votes and make a Westminster win that bit easier for them. But of course that would mean a loss in oil revenue, WMDs at not quite as safe a distance from London as they are now and I’m sure it would irk their institutionalised colonial senses.

Cyber Nats v Cyber Brits

Sounds a bit like a Saturday morning kids cartoon to me, but while there seems to be plenty of moaning and whining from the Unionists about nasty Cyber Nats I haven’t heard much about the Cyber Brits, and they are out there. A quick trawl through social media will find many there. Poisonous attacks on First Minister Alex Salmond as if he is the lone face of the Yes campaign. Mainstream media has been quiet on that one.

Seems to me the Yes camp are getting the grassroots thing right, and the No camp, so wrong.


What doubts? I don’t have any doubts that Scotland can do this. A resourseful and inventive people famous for grasping the thistle. A sensible forward thinking immigration policy attractive to bringing in new talent would surely help.

I have no doubts about our place in the EU, I have no fears that my residents rights / privileges of living in The Netherlands will change.

I have no doubts about keeping the pound, I’m already used to being ripped off by the Dutch Grens Wissel Kantoor when I come home from a trip home with leftover Scottish bank notes.

I don’t worry for Scotlands security. I still don’t see headlines where Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Finland are fighting off intruders from their borders.

I know the oil won’t be around forever. Another reason I’m angry with Westminster for NOT creating an oil fund similar to Norway for when that day arrives.

I’m sick of the Stockholm Syndrome amongst some  Scots, that no matter the crap that Westminster, and in particular the Tories are always willing to put us through, they’ll stick with it regardless.

I’m sick of the better the Devil you know mentality. Not something I recognise amongst the creatives, inventors and explorers our nation has produced.

Look that devil in the eye and tell them “Sorry honey it’s not you it’s us, you can keep the WMDs, but we’re taking the oil and creating a trust fund for it.”

I’m looking forward to the day we can become the brand spanking new, but also ancient nation we know we can be.

Losing the Essence

This is one of the frustrating things about this blog. Losing the essence of the piece I want to write, and the blog has suffered as a consequence.

Happened again to me recently. Two nights ago I went along to a  Cultureel Cafe event here in the Boondocks and was keen to write a piece about it here on the blog. But I got home after 1am and with my alarm going off for work at 6am I thought it better to get some sleep, I’ll work on it after work.

It never happened.

Once again I lost the essence. I have a job that doesn’t tax my mind too much, and that’s where most of my writing ideas come in, trouble is I don’t have the chance to jot them down and then it disappears into the back of the unknown realms of my mind.

I would love to become a writer, The original idea of this blog was to be a sort of expat’s Dutch Diary, commenting on social and political issues of the day as well as whimsy and farting about. I have four or five novels swimming around inside my skull, two or three with the potential to become a series, but the chances of them seeing the light of day on paper or screen is slim to say the least.

So I’m going to have a beer, fart about on facebook anf twitter while giving this a right good thinking about.

Treating Tea With Suspicion

My tea bag supply ran out. Not just any tea bags but the tea bags that are flown in from Scotland because to be blunt I don’t really like the tea you can buy here in the Netherlands. I just find it very weak in comparison with tea from back home. When you have been brought up with Builders Tea all your life and arrive in NL, go shopping and find Engels Melange, or English Blend prepare to be dissapointed. It’s been a bug bear since I moved here and my family send emergency airdrops of the dark stuff on a regular basis, but that supply is done. Instead of sending a carrier doo with a ‘Send tea quick!’ message I’m venturing out to the shops to find something to satisfy my needs.

Whenever I am not at home and am offered something hot and steamy I’ll usuallly plump for coffee, at least with the Dutch you know where you are with coffee, not always with tea. I have often been offered tea because I am from the British Isles and they look in wonder as I leave the bag in the cup as I drink, they also look in wonder as I add milk. How can I drink such black tea they ask, and with milk?! I have tried Earl Grey, which I like, but  because I got a dodgy brew once it was very dry and left me wanting a proper brew of Builders Tea to quench my thirst. I have treated it with suspicion ever since, and am now only out of need bringing it back into the house.

I’m on the hunt for something new, can’t use Lipton since I heard they are linked with Monsanto and am trying to boycott that as much as possible, so am really limited to supermarket own brand here. Rediscovered Earl Grey and am enjoying that, remembered a good Fair Trade African black tea in a New Agey shop I tried a while back, so not all doom and gloom, but all this talk of tea is making me thirsty, I quite fancy a cup of tea, probably Earl Grey.

Builders Earl Grey that is…