I am writing this post as I have already directly met with the question of whether I support Scottish Independence multiple times since the results of the EU referendum and I would like to succinctly state the reasons for my answer, which is no, in one place. I don’t hate you if you support independence, that would be ridiculous, so please respectfully consider my own feelings on the matter.
I appreciate the kind place in your heart that any condolences for Scotland are coming from and your assurances that you support Scottish independence but here is why those direct tweets and youtube comments don’t make me feel better.
Look at what this EU referendum has done to the UK – it is a divided nation where almost as many people as are happy with the decision to leave are devastated. We face a new struggle, our economy is precarious and our movement and freedom to work in this world is about to be further restricted.
The last thing I want right now is another referendum. A referendum which divides my country and pits friend against friend. A referendum which has people shouting the same things as were shouted in England during the EU referendum: ‘Take back our country’, ‘they get too much of our money’, ‘we are better alone’.
Of course I am crushed that despite voting to remain in the EU the UK has voted to leave. I am as crushed as every other soul in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales who voted to remain. Yes Scotland had a higher percentage of remain voters but every individual in this country had there voice heard as strongly – each vote counted the same. London and Norwich too had a majority of their population voting to remain (and many others along side them).
Not to mention in Scotland our turn out was lower than in England, even lower in Northern Ireland. Next time someone tells me Scotland has no say and can make no difference in the UK I would like to remind them of the less than a 1.3mil margin that attained the leave campaign their win and point out 1mil people in Scotland voted to leave and 33% of our electorate register didn’t turn up to vote. Scotland and Northern Ireland had every opportunity to sway this vote but those who did not fully believe in the remain camp and chose to vote leave or abstain had their voices heard to.
The worst bit for me is that referendums, whether to stay in the UK or the EU are a distraction. People surge in their millions to campaign and demand a say on a single issue and dedicate months if not years of their lives to fighting for remain or leave. In the mean time FE Colleges are hacked away at by governmental cuts, our local council services are outsourced to private companies, our libraries are loosing funding by the week, our once national rail service is left in the hands of private companies who are cutting jobs and risking passenger and staff safety, our university places are being tightly restricted whilst only 8% of those from low income families are attending university at all and those are only some of the things going on in Scotland not to mention the austerity measures throughout the UK. These are not decisions imposed on us by some overshadowing body like the EU or Westminster but decisions taken by those in power in our parliaments.
What I wish for is that the passion that rises up during referendums could be channeled directly at the cuts in this country which are effecting the worst off and the most vulnerable right beneath our noses. After a turnout of over 80% during the last Scottish referendum a mere 55% turned out at our next Scottish Parliamentary election. An election where the Conservative Party became the 2nd largest party in the Scottish government.
I wish we hadn’t left the EU but Scottish independence is a far more complicated and far reaching issue. Our economy is unstable, oil is no longer the source of long term income we believed it to be and we have very few other major trade industries in this country. At the moment the rest of the UK is our largest trading partner and after the EU referendum the only place we are currently guaranteed free movement and the right to work outside of Scotland. Our current government in Scotland refuses to raise taxes on the richest in our country but is considering slashing airport duty tax which is a major source of income for the parliament; money that could have been used to fund public services like our schools and NHS and create more jobs.
Since the last referendum we have had an increase in devolution from Westminster and I’d rather see our government in action, making a positive change using the powers they do have before I commit to giving them sovereignty over my future and the lives of others in this country.
Honestly, right now I’m exhausted, yesterday’s decision was hard for many of us. Understandably people are getting riled up and rallying to look for any alternative to what has happened. Now is the time to unite, however, to protect those who need us to from cuts that could leave them destitute, without proper work or a home. This energy could be directed towards direct political action that fights against those at the top who benefit from our current system and wish to keep it in place, rather than spreading further discord amongst more people in this country.