Valerie Scott is voting in Luxembourg parliamentary elections for the first time this year. She shared her perspective on the poll with Delano. Library picture: Olivier Minaire (2011)
Ageism is a problem across Europe according to Valerie Scott, a 66 year-old first-time voter in the forthcoming elections and a resident in Luxembourg for 27 years.
“When someone loses their job in their 50s or 60s the attitude of companies is one that severely discriminates against older applicants. I believe companies are missing out on opportunities here. Older people have a wealth of experience to offer, do not necessarily cost more, and may welcome a reduction in responsibilities from the senior positions they may have held before,” says Scott.
Equal pay and more women on boards
She also believes equal pay should really mean equal pay, and calls for greater transparency of salaries both in the state and private sectors. And, although she admits that there are good arguments both for and against positive discrimination, something needs to be done to see more women on company boards in Luxembourg. “Perhaps encouraging more women to take leadership courses after completing university,” she suggests.
“On a positive note, it’s good to see that many of the candidates in all the parties are women.”
Although Scott has lived here a long time, she admits to never having taken much interest in politics and political parties. Now that she’s obliged to vote, she has done some research via the internet and from pamphlets delivered to her letterbox. “I have also been asking around my Luxembourgish friends and others who are more politically savvy than I am about the parties and how they decide to cast their votes,” she says.
Who you know
The responses she’s had from her friends have been interesting and varied:
“They vote for someone because they went to school with them, they vote for women or people they like the look of, or if they are a friend of someone they know. It seems to me that there is very little to choose between the CSV, DP, LSAP, and Déi Gréng--they are all centre, some centre-left others centre-right, although they may have some burning issues to champion. Dei Gréng [the Green party] obviously wishes to protect the environment.”
“It’s quite telling that 13 out of the 21 candidates listed for me were from Dei Gréng. So they will certainly be getting some of my votes, but I will continue my research up to the last moment in order to be as well-informed as I can be,” says Scott.
Schwätzt Dir Lëtzbuergesch?
Aware that these days there are proportionally less native Luxembourgers to foreigners or naturalised ones living in the country, Scott hopes that all residents of the grand duchy can get to know each other better through working together as volunteers on local neighbourhood projects.
Scott has taken Luxembourgish language classes for two years at the INL, but admits that when the teacher asks if anyone spoke the language during the Carnival, Easter, Whitsun and Toussaint breaks, everyone replied “no”.
“This is the downside of living in a country where everyone who went to school here can speak at least three languages, often four or five. This, coupled with the fact that there are many transfrontalier [cross-border commuters] crossing into Luxembourg, makes speaking the national language on a daily basis very difficult,” she says, although she admits there is no straightforward way to resolve this issue.
“The best place to speak Luxembourgish is the post office--but there’s a limit to how many stamps you can buy each week,” she concludes.