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Travel broadens the mind… July 7, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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At the weekend I was talking to people I know who happened to go on a holiday around the Baltic for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. There were a lot of English on the trip, and they were vocal in their support for Brexit – this being in the run up to the referendum vote. And they were clear that – for them – the primary objective was to stop immigration, indeed those I was talking to made the point that there was an absolute unreality about the conversations they had, as if the day after the referendum immigrants would be marched to the ports and airports and deported. Well, what can one do, such toxic naivety is difficult to push back in the short term.

But they related a story which underlines that naivety, and a certain arrogance. Arriving at Oslo seaport one of the English passengers was particularly vocal when looking at some construction works there in making the point ‘that’s our taxes paying for that [ie UK subsidisation of the EU]’. Cue general approval.

Those I was talking to hadn’t the heart to point out that whatever else about Oslo, which is in Norway, it most certainly isn’t in the EU.

As to what Norway does contribute through membership of the EEA and what it receives back… well opinions vary but let’s note that the latter is a fraction of the former. That’s the EEA EFTA for you.

 

 

 

 

Comments»

1. sonofstan - July 7, 2016

I was in Norway a few years ago with some (English) students on work placements, who were equally insular in their attitudes – complaining that Norwegians would talk to each other in Norwegian in front of them and that this was ‘rude’ etc.
It was an eye-opener, because whatever else, the Irish tend to know better- or have better manners – than to complain about their host nation, at least in public.

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WorldbyStorm - July 7, 2016

+1

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EWI - July 7, 2016

I was with a tour of mixed Irish/British a number of years ago (convention in Cork). The comments and complaints about ‘the Irish’ went all week. We were brought out to see Kilmichael, and the comments got (much) worse when it was explained to them what was commemorated by the monument…

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WorldbyStorm - July 7, 2016

Heheh, that must have been fun.

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gendjinn - July 8, 2016

Germans on a tour bus in Greece is probably worse again.

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WorldbyStorm - July 8, 2016

Depends on the bus I’d bet. I was in Crete in the mid 90s and in a restaurant half way up a mountain side I frequented there was a then elderly German man who it seems had visited there during the war. The people in the restaurant were all socialists – self-avowed no less, and pretty militantly too so, but they all seemed to get on well.

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gendjinn - July 8, 2016

Indeed. About 10 years the parents were in Greece, took a bus into the countryside and the operator was telling them how the Germans did killed so many here, bombed there and so on. Until word came down that another tour operator had broken down and they’d be picking up their people.

The other tour bus was all German tourists, and so the operator made no further WW2 references.

But the feeling runs deep, recall the German comedy show clip about Greece, Syriza & WW2 compensation?

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WorldbyStorm - July 8, 2016

Yeah, that’s a very fair point gendjinn. It’s funny, I was thinking after writing my comment – what was it like to be that German. Apparently he returned every year. What was his motivation? Did he like the place, feel some sort of link to his youth, must have been very strange in a way to have been part of an occupying army and then decades later…

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2. Mike Atkinson - July 8, 2016

“I was in Norway a few years ago with some (English) students on work placements, who were equally insular in their attitudes – complaining that Norwegians would talk to each other in Norwegian in front of them and that this was ‘rude’ etc.”

And on that note, aren’t there holiday resorts in Spain where they only serve English food and only sell “The Sun” and “The Daily Mail”
in the shop’s newspaper sections?

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Jolly Red Giant - July 8, 2016

I do have to say that I find that annoying and have regularly taken English people to task over attitudes like this – including the odd person on the English left.

It is actually funny to see some on the far left praising the IRA campaign and then showing this outlook when they are in a social situation in a foreign country.

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3. roddy - July 8, 2016

For anyone who thinks that us Northerners are being “sectarian” in refusing to have a “British” identity,I defy anyone to trade in their Irish passport for a British one and watch the reaction from the “natives” in any country you visit. A friend told me of how he recently spent a motor bike holiday touring France. After a long day he sought accomodation in a village at the foot of the Pyranees and asked was their anywhere for he and his colleagues to safely park their bikes.The landlady said no and they decided to check in anyway.He produced his passport and she said “oh you are Irish” and promptly led them to her private garage and locked the bikes in for the night!

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Jolly Red Giant - July 8, 2016

Ah now roddy – there are many parts of the world where having a British passport is far more beneficial than an Irish one – and we all have little anecdotes like you do.

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CMK - July 8, 2016

One of the biggest shocks I got over 25 years ago on a J-1 visa in the US was meeting and socialising with loads of Northerners from staunch nationalist and republican areas who had made the same journey, visa free, courtesy of the British passport. It was quiet the done thing. British ‘subjects’ could go to the states visa free at the time, while Irish passport holders had to jump through hoops. Fair play to them and needs must and all that and I suppose the prospect of a couple of months fun in the states away from the Falls or the Bogside was worth the compromise of getting a British passport.

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4. roddy - July 8, 2016

Swap yours then!

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5. roddy - July 8, 2016

Aye ,”loads of Northerners” my arse.

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