Thursday, April 30, 2020

Too bighearted?

Well, this is going to be controversial but it does help sometimes to see ourselves as others see us...

I have lived in Denmark for nearly a year now. I have previously lived in Italy, France and Germany too and of course both my husbands have also been foreign nationals. One thing that surprises a Brit abroad or conversely a foreigner in the UK is that whole charity and fundraising culture back home. I'm not saying Europeans won't try to fund raise for a worthy cause; they might sell some plants or cakes they've baked to try to amass enough money to build something fun and extra but not for an essential service. That whole idea of if I sit in a bath of baked beans and everybody gives me a pound for doing so, I'll pass it on to a good cause is completely alien to every other country I have lived in. In other European countries people expect their government, using their taxes, to pay for essentials and if they don't, they vote that government out, or they strike or they protest. It sounds simple, but they just don't get all this sponsored this or sponsored that.

For example - in Scotland my kids went to Kirkhill primary. It is a wonderful school because the fundraising committee for the school is phenomenal. They raised tens of thousands for playground equipment, chrome books, library books and all sorts. Here the education budget provides the kids with their chrome books so you don't end up with that kind of system where those who have fund raise to get more, and those who don't fall behind. It leads to a much more equal starting point for all kids. When we went into lockdown, everyone could be educated online from day one as all the schools already had chrome books for all the kids.

I can see from social media what a lovely warm and fuzzy feeling Brits are getting at the moment from watching some 100 year old gentleman walking about his garden to raise money for the NHS, and that that feat is encouraging them to dig deep but seen with my already foreign but now even more foreign eyes... why? Why do you only give the money if he does the walk? Firstly, if you have the money in the first place, why only give it if someone does something for it? And more importantly, why do you put up with paying taxes, then having the government renege on its responsibilities while you pay up a second time? Especially when you know of all the tax loopholes those people and companies (and politicians) who can actually afford to help are jumping though! You live in a country where the general public raise millions every year for Children in Need, ex-servicemen (through poppies) and so on, while the government does not see it as anything to do with them.

I am utterly flabbergasted to see the likes of that old man, and Chris Evans on his Virgin radio morning show pulling out all the stops to try to provide front-line health workers with essentials so they don't die, while the government fiddles the figures and condescendingly pats you all on the head for your wartime spirit as you pull together. I think there are so many wonderful, bighearted people back home and the government is relying utterly and unashamedly on milking them for all it can get.

Are you aware that the rest of Europe is scratching its head (not for the first time since the beginning of you Brexit circus) in utter disbelief about how you put up with being shit on constantly from a great height!

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