The day was September 14th 2014 and there I was, a newly settled English student in Edinburgh, awaiting the results of a critical historic referendum. I can still distinctly recall my UK fervour at the time.
Back in 2014, I was adamant that there was no need to bring a successful 300-year union to an end. After all, as a union, we defeated fascism together, developed an effective welfare state and, of course, produced a Wimbledon winner. Anybody who called to break apart our union both confused and angered me. Nicola Sturgeon to me represented divisiveness and the very worst form of demagoguery. Proudly, on the day of the vote, I put a cross in the ‘No’ box while draped in a Union Jack flag.
Fast forward to 2016 and Nicola Sturgeon is once again calling for independence. At an SNP conference in Glasgow, Sturgeon announced that an Independence Referendum Bill would be published for next week. Defending the decision to call for a second referendum, she said: "I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence and to do so before the UK leaves the EU – if that is necessary to protect our country's interests.”
This time around, I’ll be on Team Independence.
The current state of British politics is shameful. Brexit has led to a 47 per cent rise in homophobic attacks, racist hate crimes have risen by 42 per cent, and, as a nation, we are woefully divided. On top of this, the Labour Party is in a state of disrepair so dire that it may never recover and the Lib Dems are still wallowing in their insignificance. Meanwhile, the right are storming ahead with their conservative agendas and my generation, a deeply pessimistic and disenchanted group of people, have been left behind feeling neglected, disconnected and hopeless. Under Theresa May’s government, the prospects for young people seem very bleak indeed.
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
If Scotland was to go independent, however, we’d have a socially liberal utopia just north of Hadrian’s Wall to escape to. It is well reported that Scotland is generally more liberal than the rest of the UK – and I’ve witnessed that anecdotally. Compared to my encounters in England, I’ve always witnessed a far more outwardly respectful attitude towards minority groups, such as immigrants, the poor, the LGBTQ+ community and others in Scotland. The warmth and open-mindedness of the Scots has never failed to amaze me.
Statistically, too, Scotland seems to be a driving force for liberalism. To cite some examples, it tops the leagues in Europe when it comes to gay rights and when it comes to the environment and immigration issues, there’s a clear divide in ideas with England.
My generation – the so-called millennials – are supportive of the European Union, about as socially liberal as people can get and are deeply concerned by issues such as a shrinking NHS, rising unemployment and the worrying level of wealth inequality. We are at odds with the majority of the United Kingdom and an independent Scotland would give us an opportunity to heal the sores of a divided society and create a new society which would be kinder and more in tune with our ideals.
While initially I was fighting against unnecessary division, I now feel that in a society as divided as it currently is, the only way forward is to distance ourselves from the hate and the anger. Post-Brexit, and with an independent Scotland, young people can work towards building something which works much better for all of us.Reuse content