Voting, blogging, times tables, and Aberdeen

Apparently we can vote here. Amazing. I was under the impression that we couldn’t vote since we don’t have permanent residency but it seems I was wrong. When I arrived back from Barcelona in early January, I caught a taxi home from the airport and the taxi driver was talking to me about voting. I told him I wasn’t eligible to vote because I’m a foreigner. He replied that his daughter’s boyfriend just recently moved here and he’s a foreigner too, yet he is eligible to vote. I asked him where the boyfriend is from and he replied, “England” 🙂

I’ve made lots of friends in the blogging world and although I feel as though I know some of these people quite well, most of them I will probably never meet. But what happens when a blogging friend simply disappears? Someone who always posted everyday or almost everyday suddenly vanishes off the face of the earth? As blogging friends we only see one part of someone’s life and so we have no idea about all the other aspects and they’re under no obligation to keep us informed. But when someone vanishes, I can’t help wondering what happened. Is everything ok? Are they still alive? It doesn’t seem fair that we might never know.

Last weekend Elizabeth asked me about the times tables and I explained that two times three is the same as adding one group of three with another group of three. She seemed to understand this and began drawing dots of the seven times tables. For two times seven, she drew a group of seven dots and another group of seven dots then added them all up. Then she tried seven times seven. She drew the forty-nine dots perfectly but when she added them all up she accidentally counted one dot twice and ended up with 50. There were tears.

It’s coming up to six months in Aberdeen now and I really like it here. The people are so friendly and there’s a wonderful mix of nationalities. So far I’ve met people from Scotland, Ireland, England, Australia, Iraq, Egypt, Malaysia, Lebanon, France and Holland. I’ve heard other languages but I’m yet to identify them all. The climate is mild: not too hot and not too cold and we can walk and cycle everywhere.

31 responses to “Voting, blogging, times tables, and Aberdeen”

  1. If you are a citizen of another Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland then you are entitled to vote in UK local, European and General Elections. The Republic of Ireland has a reciprocal arrangement with the UK. If you are citizen of another EU country, then you are entitled to vote at local and European elections.

    Given that a large proportion of people in Northern Ireland self-identify as Irish and not British (though some identify as just British or as both), then it would be perceived as undemocratic to deny them the right to vote. I don’t understand though why citizens of other Commonwealth countries should be allowed to vote in UK elections though.

    Allowing citizens of other EU countries (besides the RoI) distorts the results in favour of supporting the EU, which a large proportion of UK citizens no longer do – even in Scotland. We have never voted to join the EU; the one and only referendum on membership of the EEC (the ‘Common Market’) as was took place forty years ago.

    Should the UK cease to exist in the forseeable future, then I expect voting arrangements will be revised. Personally I think that after Scotland has gone its own way, Northern Ireland will follow soon after as English taxpayers are already fed up of subsidising the place. The ‘UK’ (what’s left of it) will be England & Wales only.

    • Yes, it does seem strange to allow citizens of other Commonwealth countries to vote. I don’t think Australia would offer the same in return. I’m pretty sure only Australian citizens can vote in Australian elections. New Zealand is more generous and I think all that is required is permanent residence.

      I can’t see how the UK will cease to exist, not in the near future anyway. The Scots voted no.

      • It is English Nationalism that will break up the UK and this will be hastened if we end up with a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP, seeking to squeeze even more of out of us via the Barnett Formula.

    • Allowing citizens of other EU countries (besides the RoI) distorts the results in favour of supporting the EU

      But they can only vote in local or EU elections. In the former case membership of the EU is not an issue, in the latter I guess the fact that they have taken advantage of one on the major benefits of the EU, freedom of movement, might make them more inclined to vote for pro-EU parties but that’s hardly a “distortion” – people do tend to vote for parties whose policies tend to benefit them.

      We have never voted to join the EU; the one and only referendum on membership of the EEC (the ‘Common Market’) as was took place forty years ago.

      So we did vote on it, the fact that the institution we voted to remain a member of has changed its name since then is hardly relevant.

      • It is the subject for a separate thread but the creation of the European Union in 1992 was and remains a lot more than a name change from the European Economic Community (as was), which most voters of the time believed was nothing more than a free-trade area with nine participating members. As for the ‘we’, I am 48 years old and along with the rest of my generation I have been allowed a vote on the issue.

        From having lived in Scotland during the early 1990’s I am aware of the SNP’s oxymoronic policy of ‘independence’ within the EU. The SNP haven’t learned their lesson from the Republic of Ireland, whose citizens are finding out the hard way through the austerity measures imposed by the European Central Bank that loss of fiscal sovereignty to be ‘good Europeans’ isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

      • I find it hard to believe that people really thought the EU (or EEC) would stop at 9 members, as far as I can see it was inevitable that it would expand further and further. I’m about the same age as you so haven’t been able to vote on EU membership either, but then there is a whole lot of stuff which was decided before I was old enough to vote which I have to live with. Of course that doesn’t mean they are set in stone, we can try to change them, and I’m not violently against a referendum on the EU (an opinion poll last week had 45% to 35% in favour of staying in on current terms BTW). But I don’t think there is any particular obligation to have one just because some people didn’t get to vote the first time.

      • The only way to find out is by having a referendum which has been continually denied to us ever since 1992. Back in 1975 there was never any inkling that the EEC would develop beyond nine members or that it would morph into a fully fledged political union. It is bizarre enough that the electorate in one of the four parts of the United Kingdom was recently permitted a referendum on membership of it when the electorate in the other three parts weren’t.

  2. Ahh…poor Elizabeth. She is so smart though. Can’t believe it’s been 6 months Rachel, where does the time go? So glad you are happy there. And yes, I’ve ‘lost’ a few bloggers lately like that and feel quite sad about it, knowing that we will never know what happened and if they are alright. Quite upsetting I think.

    • Yes, it is upsetting not knowing what has happened to other blogging friends. Especially when they usually post so regularly and then quite suddenly vanish.

  3. I’ve managed to link up with a couple of folk on Strava, another way of seeing how we are doing. It’s magic to be in touch with people from around the world. If I’m ever up in Aberdeen?

  4. I always worry when I don’t see someone around. You wonder what happened. I especially worry when someone stops coming around yet they are still around. 😦 You never know when you post something or write a comment that made someone not want to read you anymore. We can’t let what others think keep us from posting something controversial. I remember when I posted something and got a comment that lit into me. My post was all in fun and I took it down and even put my blog for subscribers only. I had only been posting about a month or two. I picked myself up, brushed myself off and started all over again. 🙂

  5. I am a bit surprised over the election policies ! Good to know that you have almost settled in and beginning to enjoy it 😀
    I agree bout vanishing,I have felt the same way too …. Seeing the faces/logo everyday or frequently makes me happy to know ,they are well. Not seeing the regular faces for few days and I wonder too if everything is alright. I may never meet them but still it feels normal. I guess,that’s what we call ‘Friendship’ 🙂

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one to notice this. It sounds like we all sit and wonder what happens to bloggers who vanish. I guess we can imagine that things are going well.

  6. I also miss bloggers when they suddenly stop posting. And tho I am not entitled to an explanation, I do wonder what happened, and if they are coming back?
    Recently I was missing someone’s posts in my WP reader, so I visited their blog, and they were still very much active. Just that their posts no longer showed up in my reader. I don’t know why.
    Poor Elizabeth! She seems quite young for the 7 x table!
    And I agree with others, can’t believe it is 6 months already that you’ve been in Aberdeen! Glad you like it there 🙂 Do you have a Scottish accent yet??

    • Yes, Elizabeth is way too young to be doing the times tables so I feel compelled to say that I’m not forcing her to learn them. She asked me about it! I think she overheard Daniel doing it and so this triggered her interest and I didn’t want to say “you’re too young” but I’m not one of those pushy parents.

      • It never crossed my mind that you were forcing the times tables on Elizabeth! I have had 2 really bright kids myself, and I understand, you just tell them what they ask, and they will absorb as much as they are able at each age. It is wonderful to have young enquiring minds 🙂

  7. If you’re getting to grips with differing nationalities and cultures being in Aberdeen – have you come across the locals of the NE of Scotland that speak broad Doric yet? Now that is another language – ye’d just hae to pick it up ma quine!

    • No, I haven’t heard that yet. I love the Scottish accent though. I think it’s just one of the nicest accents so I’ll listen out for Doric.

  8. Interesting, you did not bump into Indians. I’d like to believe that wherever you go there are Indians. They are, in most places. 🙂

    I was pleasantly surprised I was allowed to vote in 2011 elections in NZ given I was in country for less than 6 months at that time.

    Good on Elizabeth’s learning and I am sure she will continue to impress you.

  9. If I ever pass Aberdeen, can I come and say hello? I have become rather “vertical” in my blogs recently, trying to keep in touch with maybe half a dozen to a dozen? I am too busy writing and being a school governor, but I have found some amazing people through blogging. I think I find it more meaningful to concentrate on a few people rather than lots.

    • If you ever come to Aberdeen you absolutely must come and visit! That would be great. I could even take you for a ride in Busby 🙂

      I think it’s a good idea to focus on a few blogs you’re interested in. There are so many wonderful blogs that we could easily spend our entire lives just reading blogs and then we’d never get anything else done.

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