I remained silent on my political opinions around the time of the first Scottish independence referendum. September 2014 was a really big month for me, it included moving out for the first time, finding my own feet and starting university. It wasn't a time for blogging and quite frankly I was a little scared of opening the can of worms and blogging about politics. It seems that it's almost impossible to do so without attracting some form of anonymous trolling.
But the thing is... I regret my vote against Scottish Independence.
I don't want to stay silent second time around and I think it's important that we promote discussion. So I ask that you treat my opinions and the opinions of any commenters with respect. You don't have to agree with them, but we have the right to have these opinions. In this post I'm going to open up as to what I've been thinking with regards to another referendum, Brexit and my Scottish identity.
I guess that you could say I've been having a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to what I consider to be my nationaility. My Scottish identity is much, much stronger than my British identity. I think a lot of people feel this way. Generally, people will use the word British and English interchangeably and this bothers me and a lot of other Scots. Understandably we make up a very small percent of the overall population. But as a country we have our own culture, history and even languages.
When I hear the word British, it's not really a word I feel comfortable using to describe myself. I'm not trying to say that there's anything wrong with being British. But there are certain connotations that come alongside the idea of being 'quintessentially British' and there are quintissentially unlike me and the people who surround me. I feel a bit lost.
Let's go back to September 2014. I voted no. My main reasons for voting that way were: the EU, uncertainty with currency and well, fear. But it's a decision that I've come to regret. I was pretty firm in my decision until a few months later in May 2015. The UK General Election. I remember waking up in the morning, looking at the results and thinking 'shit'.
As you can see from the map, almost of the entirety of Scotland voted differently from the rest of the UK. The SNP absolutely dominated the election in Scotland. This was for me, the beginning of a realisation: Scottish people want something different from the rest of the UK. And yet again when we voted for Brexit. The results? Another stark contrast.
I understand that this is how democracy works. That if you vote for something it might not be what you get. And that's fair in most regards. But when the entirety of Scotland votes differently to the rest of the UK? It's pretty clear that we want different things. Especially when a lot of people, like myself, voted to remain in the UK because we were told by politicians it was the only way to secure EU membership. Now we're being dragged out of the EU against our will.
So the conditions under which I voted no have totally been changed.
I wanted to stay in the EU. Brexit happened.
I wanted to keep the pound. Brexit destabilised it as a currency.
Either way, the reality is that Scotland is going to end up outside of the EU. But at the moment, I feel I'd rather be an independent country. Purely because I feel we really want differently from the rest of the UK and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
I'm prepared to put my hands up and say that I'm not the most educated person when it comes to politics.
I went on a date with a politics student once and he had absolutely zero chat and I can't say it really sparked my interest in politics. I try my best to educate myself where possible but in reality, I still have a lot to learn. I can't explain the ins and outs of the economics of independence but I don't get the impression a post-Brexit UK is going to be the best-organised place either. This is, unfortunately, a massive game of chance.
We are still along way off another referendum. And we need much more information before a really firm decision can be made.
But this time, I look towards an independent Scotland with hope and not fear.