A guest post by Samuel Miller
Two referendums in two years, the backgrounds of which this site and many another have gone over pretty extensively. Two winning campaigns roundly criticized for their negativity, lack of clarity, lack of honesty and ultimately their ability to deliver on their pledges and assurances. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m sure there’s a pattern forming.
Brexit is an unqualified and unquantifiable mess right now and that’s before the UK gets to the nitty gritty on how it plans to earn a crust in the world with a much reduced circle of trading partners and basically sweet fanny adams to trade with other than superb jam. The blame game is in full swing across the media at this point as you’d expect, with both sides claiming intransigence and only one of course being right. From the EU’s perspective, they aren’t going anywhere. They didn’t force anyone to do anything and didn’t kick anyone out, but they do have rules (as does any club). So far as they are concerned, those rules help ensure and facilitate peace, trade, access and rights between all of its member states. The remaining twenty seven nations agree to live by those rules and enshrined at the core are the four freedoms. They break those rules to accommodate the UK’s wish list and what point the EU? So, no. No I can’t see them breaking the rules, that every other nation in the EU adhere to, in order to sort the economic, political and societal headaches which the UK brought upon itself. The simplest of questions – Why is that supposed to be their responsibility? Their responsibility is to the European Union and the remaining twenty seven member states surely?
But, y’know, the UK is back in control and it has sovereignty and … stuff. The world will queue at our door to do business (even though we told it to fuck off for being too furren) and the EU won’t just cut us loose because they need our trade (even though they’re furren too and we decided we didn’t want to play with them anymore). They’ll come round to what we want. Wait and see if they don’t.
That is the common perception of the Brexit vote you know? That it was, if not driven by, certainly tainted by more than just a hint of xenophobia, isolationism, protectionism and selfishness. It doesn’t matter whether, as a leave voter, that was your driving issue or not. THAT is how the Brexit vote is perceived and not just in our own press. You look at the comment sections beneath any Brexit story in today’s UK media (though dear God, do NOT go anywhere near the Mail comments) and it’s hard to argue otherwise. There’s a lot of that attitude on display.
‘Course no one seemed to consider the economic repercussions much during the campaign. Just what effect removing entire demographics from the tax and investment base might do to the UK economy? No one thought much about those furren firms who based their manufacturing units and their brass plaques in UK cities specifically because of those existing trade agreements or because they wanted access to EU markets. I don’t suppose it crossed many horizons either to think about research facilities, university programmes, subsidies, grants, even low paid industrial or rural economy jobs many wouldn’t do themselves. The perception is that few even considered the wider effect on society. On people, human beings.
Is it all they hoped for so far d’you think? The movers and shakers of the Brexit campaign/narrative. Is the reaction from the EU, the individual nations of the EU and near half of the UK’s population what they expected? It’s not done yet. Not by a very long way.
Across the UK there are around three million people of continental origin resident. Some 190k (119k from accession states), of those are resident in Scotland. About now, they have every reason to feel more than a little concerned. They have more than a little reason to feel betrayed by UK central government and the wider UK population. They absolutely have more than a little reason to wonder what comes next? They just had the ground ripped out from under their lives and their belief in some things they thought to be certainties has been more than a little dented. Those feelings sound familiar to anyone in the YES movement?
These people are Scottish citizens, new Scots if you will, but Scottish citizens. Individuals, families, people who have done us the honour of selecting our nation to either work or settle in. They chose us. They chose this nation and this land to make their home. It doesn’t stop there though, does it? What of nationalities from all over the globe who have chosen to make Scotland their home? People who have chosen to become Scottish citizens. How do you feel about Westminster parliament deciding who your friends are? Who gets to stay? Who gets told to leave? Who has rights and who doesn’t?
Don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not entirely happy on being labelled a bad host. I’m definitely not big on turning away friends or those in need. Maybe that’s just me though.
Scotland, Scottish citizens. Quite a concept, eh?
Maybe something to think about.
This will be my last post before our host and the dug return from a much deserved break. I’d like to take this oppurchancity to thank all the readers for bearing with the site and myself over the past couple of weeks. Your great comments and patience with yours truly are very much appreciated.