How does UK compare with Holland? I’m asked about this once in awhile. To be honest I should be asked this more often by Brits. Because despite the relatively small amount of water between the UK and the Netherlands, the differences are staggering. Maybe not if you’re a comfortably well off Brit in a village in the shires with your eyes closed to what is happening beyond your comfortable bubble, but I digress.
I’m a Scot who has lived the last 14 years in Holland. Going back to the UK is a strange experience for me. On the one hand it’s great to be back in the familiar culture (which had changed to be honest), language, friends and all that, but within a few days it begins to grate and disturb.
Sometimes someone in the UK will say to me something like “Yes but you must pay so much tax in Holland.” Well maybe I do pay more than in UK and indeed if your raison d’être is to pay the least amount of tax on your pittance then it may not be the best country. If however you as an average kind of person want to earn more, live in safety, have a clean environment, have no poverty to deal with or witness (in the UK sense), have smooth road surfaces and an excellent road network, an affordable and reliable train system, be able to bike everywhere on dedicated bike paths, have a proportional representation electoral system, not swing between drought and flooding every six months, have good housing, have good education, have extremely low teenage pregnancy rate, have relatively low drugs problem, have no pensioners freezing to death in winter, etc, etc, then it may just be the country for you.
You see the main stream media in the UK does a good job at keeping the loyal minions in their place by either misreporting news from our European neighbours or simply not reporting at all. Years ago when I lived in Scotland the only TV programme that consistently reported on Europe was in Gaelic: Eòrpa.
If someone wants to transfer money from UK to me in Holland then with most banks in the UK this is a big issue. You’ll need to go into the branch and fill out some paper forms. In most of Europe the process for paying someone abroad is IDENTICAL to paying someone around the corner: on-line banking, same IBAN number based system for people at hone and abroad. Free. Yes in UK we’re so cut off from the reality it beggars belief. Phone roaming charges? EU is normalizing these. UK lags behind in implementing.
I could go and on. The point is that the UK feels very backward. Are the average people genetically different? No of course not. The difference is in leadership. The UK has been run by an elite for hundreds of years that have no interest in the lot of the majority of people. There is no sense of representing the people or doing what is in the long term best interests of the country. The super rich are a nation unto themselves, free of borders.
Scotland has the perfect chance to break this stranglehold and demonstrate what a modern, egalitarian country can achieve. There is no real satisfaction in having an extra few quid in your pocket when the infrastructure and society around you is collapsing. So I’ll pay my extra few percent taxes in Holland. It’s not perfect here, nowhere is, and there are many things I miss about the UK, but it truly puts a smile on my face every day that I drive on pot hole free roads, that my wife can ride her bike back from the station safely at midnight and knowing that there are no kids going hungry, cold or suffering from TB and other illnesses that have no place in a modern society.
Vote YES on 18 September and return to a reality where normal folk come first, where a decent, respectful life is the priority and not some every man for himself game of cut-throat survival.
A few years back, I spent a weekend around s’Hertogenbosch and I was struck by how much more civilised it seemed by comparison with the UK. People seemed friendlier and more relaxed, even the rural roads appeared to have provision for keeping cars and bikes apart in a way I could only dream of here in Cumbria. I noticed several flats with bikes chained to the outside of the verandas and remember thinking they wouldn’t last long tied outside like that over here. I’ve wanted to get out of the UK for over ten years now but professional commitments and lack of marketable skills have prevented it but though I’m ten miles short of qualifying for a Yes vote, a Yes victory will allow me to escape purely by moving house. Please folks; get me out of here – vote Yes! 🙂
Well the Dutch are also master bike thieves & can out steal any British thief. However they are also master bike locker-uppers. Those chains are made from unobtainium and kryptonite.
The Dutch have a completely stupid semi-private health care system that means healthcare providers need to deal with 30 different insurance companies all with slightly differing rules which means it’s a complete lottery: need to guess what illness you might get in future. Other than for the basic packages you can’t switch insurer once you’ve got something, no one will take you.
Dutch are also the master tax thieves of Europe allowing multinationals like IKEA, Google and Starbucks to set up empty shell companies with just a postal address and agree on secret tax rates with inland revenue.
But at end of the day the life in Holland is very, very comfortable for the average person.
I believe Scotland can equal this and better Holland in terms of healthcare and being ethically sound. You’d more than likely be made very welcome in Scotland. It’s one of the few countries that is remaining open to immigration. I mean the place is empty and we’ll have a nation to build: infrastructure to be brought into 21st century, NHS to be improved, education to be made the highest priority, huge new oil fields, renewables to be mastered… A lot of work to be done.
Well it’s always good to get a full perspective on a place. After all, I believe the British learned the art of carpetbagging and questionable financial activity from the Dutch.