Thoughts on the EU Referendum & Scotland

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.

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4 thoughts on “Thoughts on the EU Referendum & Scotland

  1. I’ve had really mixed feelings on this – I’ve always fought for my British identity. My dad is Scottish, my mum is English, and I have always fought to retain both of those identities and am equally proud of both. When there’s a form where I have to state which British identity I personally align with I always fight for both, if I have to pick I always end up saying “dual national of England and Scotland” if British isn’t an option. But in the wake of what has happened, I’ve never been more ashamed or conflicted about my British identity. I’m very proud to be half Scottish, and I’m very proud that I’ve grown up in Norwich too but I don’t align with being British any more. I’m actually, frankly, embarrassed to align myself with what Britain is now associated with on the global scale. And while it’s nothing in the grand scheme, I feel like I’ve lost my identity in fall of this referendum, which isn’t anything compared to the economic or global problems which this is causing and I feel bad even mentioning it!

    I was very much in the No camp in the last Scottish referendum, and I don’t think the UK/Great Britain needs fragmenting more. But today I’m confused as while those arguments for remaining in the union still exist, so does Scotland’s right (and Northern Ireland for that matter) to remain in the EU which has pretty much been ripped from it by the majority of the south which I just don’t agree with. While a second independence referendum could be really messy, if it’s the only way for Scotland to retain EU membership – something it as a country feels strongly about – then it should go for it. I stand with Nicola Sturgeon in that she said all 4 nations should have to agree to revoke the EU membership, and the fact that 2 countries of the 4 in the UK didn’t something should definitely be done.

    On a lighter note, there is already a petition for Norwich to become a micro-state in its own right to disassociate itself with the rest of the eastern region. Norwich as a city is sad that it keeps being forgotten about and banded together with the rest of the eastern region. We may be small but we are mighty! Being in the city centre yesterday was largely a city in mourning. Many of my friends – who are dual nationals – are actually researching getting a second passport to retain their EU access. One of my friends sisters is researching degrees on the continent as an international relations degree from a UK university in the next 2 years is going to be so confused.

    The face of UK politics, and potentially the face of the UK, is going to change enormously in the next two years that’s for sure. I’m scared, for my personal future and the future of the country as a whole.

    This reply has turned in to a mini-essay. For that I apologise! But thank you for talking about this. I was going to discuss my own thoughts in my own post, and I still may, but you have just made me actually sit back and think and formulate a clearer discussion about my feelings! So sorry for the essay, but thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes but just because 1.6 mil voted stay as opposed to 1mil who voted leave in Scotland that should not eclipse all the political issues and it does not make Scotland perfect. Scotland has a UKIP MEP, not that we’ll have MEPs for long but in the last election UKIP had thousands of votes in Scotland although not enough to get power. Racism and anti immigration sentiment does not simply exist in England and even if you could show me it is less in Scotland we have to fight that bigotry as a whole with better education. We’ve just voted in more conservative politicians in Scotland than ever before. The right is strong in Scotland from my perspective. We also have 33% of people who could vote who didn’t know enough or care enough to even make a call on the EU referendum. I completely support the pursuit of Scotland retaining a relationship with/ place in the EU as a separate deal whilst still remaining in the UK as they are currently seeking (some areas in Finland have this) but there is no guarantee an independent Scotland would get a place in the EU as a separate state. Many countries want into the EU and it isn’t simple to join. Also what would we trade? How would our relationship with the rest of Britain be affected?

      I completely understand your despondency and being upset, I feel it so deeply too, on a person level I have just lost the ability to apply to a number of PHD scholarships that are set up for EU members. But I cannot see how an indie referendum (regardless of how the vote turns out because independence is not guaranteed by the EU referendum) will help us or solve our problems but will instead fuel more anger and division. I’m already seeing arguments erupt on my Facebook feed, demanding independence and calling those that voted no ‘not true scots’ and ‘betrayers’. Not to mention whilst the campaign for independence or no independence champions people forget to campaign against the things that are destroying lives like disability benefit cuts and education cuts.

      And don’t apologise about the essay aha I love having a full discussion about things, otherwise we never get anywhere. I’m really glad you commented and I hope you don’t mind my return essay. There is just so much to cover and I have so many feelings.

      Don’t forget 16million people voted to remain, across the UK, only a little over 1mil less than voted leave. Most of those people live in England even if most of the leave votes came from there too. We can fight for our country, to make it better, to stop those that wish to benefit from others’ suffering and spread fear and hatred.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is sooooo hard. As a black immigrant in this country who has lived here for eight years (and who is/was planning on applying for British citizenship very shortly), it’s making me feel a lot of different feelings but I am really anxious in general. I don’t think all Leavers are racists and xenophobes, but I cannot pretend I am not worried about how this whole debacle has sort of legitimised xenophobia and it does scare me a bit. The UK’s recent trend towards isolationism, makes me wonder how people generally feel about me. Should I keep my mouth shut and my head down? Do I want to live in a place where I have to wonder about that? Am I just overreacting? There are a lot of questions that come up for me (especially when posts about the abuse a lot of people have already been suffering because of it). Again, of course I know that most of the UK is not like that. But it only takes a small handful to do a lot of damage (actually, that’s clear from Brexit).

    Also, I do and don’t want to believe that there are as many people who regret Brexit as it seems. On the one hand, it’s nice to think these people just made a mistake and were misguided (in which case, there should be stronger legal action against political lies and misinformation…and mixed feelings about whether the level of misinformation IS grounds for a second EU referendum come up). On the other hand, it is frustrating to think that so many people are regretting a vote they made knowing they hadn’t looked into anything beforehand or, worse, some people have completely made a mockery of democracy by making ‘protest’ votes in favour of Leave (why not just spoil the ballot instead?). And all in spite of the many reputable sources from lots of different areas of society. Meanwhile, many Remainers are fighting for Leavers’ right to have their democratic win and denounce the idea of having a second EU referendum. It’s very frustrating.

    Since you and I seem to have very similar political feelings and I really do respect your thoughts on things, I’m curious to know what you think about Sturgeon’s idea of vetoing the decision. I assume that you’re against it? And something that perplexes me about everyone saying how democratic the vote was is that none of the EU citizens living here were able to vote. (There are probably just enough of them to have gained a win for Remain…) Was it really democratic to have excluded them? Even if those who have only moved here in the past 5 years, say, were excluded, wouldn’t that be more democratic than barring some of the people whose lives are most affected by it from voting?? :/

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  3. Such a great post! I totally agree that it is so important to come together now and not focus on the hatred and division! The current turmoil within the Labour Party is not what we need right now! I think we need to unite under him and make the best of the situation we are in! Great post!

    Like

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