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.