It’s tough being an expat at election time. Especially a well assimilated foreign national from a large EU member state who speaks Dutch and follows the local media. First you have to get your head round all the parties taking part. There are so many, that the final televised debate on Tuesday night had to be split into two leagues like the premier and the first division in soccer.
Then you have to endure the complex nitpicking over minor differences in the party programmes. Yesterday’s premier league debate was like primary school football when all the players converge on the ball at the same time, with the ball getting stuck in the middle of the melee.
But worst of all is the comment from Dutch friends or colleagues: ‘What are you going to vote?’ they ask. Followed immediately by: ‘Oh, but of course you can’t vote – you’re not Dutch.’ No, you think, I just pay my taxes diligently so that you lot can finance even more whacky parties.
On a serious note, and fully in keeping with the borderless spirit of the EU, it is unacceptable that those who pay taxes are not allowed to determine (however indirectly) how those taxes are spent because they are barred from voting in the country they live in. Maybe it’s time to set up another party for the free movement of voting rights. Send in the suffragettes.
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