Why I’ve changed my Mind about the Future of Scotland

Claire Fox, a young woman from Northern Ireland and an aspiring journalist working in London, published this short opinion piece on her Tremr blog nine month ago. It charts her change of heart on the question of Scottish independence – her own Journey from No to Yes – in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. With the kind permission of the author we are reproducing it here on the Butterfly Rebellion for two reasons: Because it is a wonderful insight into what is shaping the No-to-Yes transformation here in Scotland and because we want to publish Claire before she is famous. Enjoy!
The Editors


BY CLAIRE FOX
Since writing my previous article, in which I was fervently against Scotland leaving the UK, I have had a serious change of heart on the matter. Having stayed up all night while on my year abroad in Toronto in order to watch the Scottish referendum in the hope they would stay in, I was very much a part of the Better Together camp within the UK. I felt that if Scotland left, it would spell the end of the UK as we know it and would have dire consequences for Northern Ireland (if you’ve read almost any of my articles you’ll have read that’s where I’m from and like to rant about on multiple occasions).

Unlike Scotland, Northern Ireland has none of the resources they have. We’re pretty much a drain on the UK economy, depend highly on UK taxpayers and would struggle to last more than a week on our own. Furthermore, I felt that if the predominantly left-wing Scotland stayed, we would have more ammo against a conservative monopoly ruling over the UK from England. I really didn’t want Scotland to go. But something has changed for me, and I’m pretty sure it’s my devastation over the Brexit vote.

I’m an angry, frustrated and disgruntled Remain voter and nothing from the Leave campaign and the ensuing fall-out has shown me anything to persuade me otherwise. I’m scared and worried about our impending doom. I mean, impending departure from the EU. It’s made me very much feel like saying ‘f**k it, let it all burn.’ If Little Englanders want Little England standing alone, let Scotland leave. Many say Theresa May ‘wont’ let them leave’ which I think is a very dangerous idea to buy into. The more an English PM (yes she represents the entirety of the UK, but to many Scots she’s a beacon of England, and England alone) and the more she pushes authority over the region of Scotland, the more they will push back.

What would the rest of the UK look like without Scotland?

If Scotland leaves the UK, it would be earth-shattering, as it would mean a break apart of the original two kingdoms deemed ‘Great Britain,’ that joined in 1707. The ‘Act of Union’ on January 1st 1801 formally created the United Kingdom (or Great Britain and Ireland) adding Ireland to the Union of England, Scotland and Wales. What would the future of the UK look like though? Individual sovereignty seems to be a possibility. Check out Will Ranger’s article here for his view of the future of England. In his article, Will puts forward the idea of ‘England’s German Future’ which is definitely worth a read as the pressure heats up on Brexit talks and the departure of Scotland looks more likely every day.

The people of Scotland, led by Nicola Sturgeon will not be put off by Theresa May’s rhetoric that’s for sure – who stated she would not allow ‘divisive nationalists’ to undermine the UK. That there is no ‘opt out’ for Brexit. I feel like that’s waving a red rag to a bull in terms of spurring the Scottish people to action. For Scotland, there may be an opt out. Nicola Sturgeon has recently said Scotland would not be sidelined and they must be included in Brexit talks.

The more May attempts to enforce her authority over Scotland, and the more she pushes her control over Scotland, the more dire Brexit begins to look (for many of us, I acknowledge not everyone feels like this), and the less cooperation with the devolved governments and Westminster in Brexit talks, the more Scotland will want to pull away. The most recent decision by the High Court may appease Scotland for a time, as it’s stated the government must allow a vote in Parliament to determine what type of Brexit the UK will follow.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the ‘lord advocate,’ the most senior law officer in Scotland, will lodge an application to intervene in the government’s appeal of the High Court decision, which should add weight to uphold the decision. How May’s cabinet thinks they don’t need the involvement of the UK parliament is beyond belief. Whether the people voted or not, the type of Brexit is just as important as the referendum was.

What about the political situation in Northern Ireland?

With my Irish passport, I’m still able to be part of the EU which has made me incredibly happy to have it. I worry for the future of Northern Ireland. Brexit is already going to hit us harder than most – with the loss of a future £2.8 billion in funding form the EU that has been used to rebuild the under-developed Northern Ireland – we voted to stay (yes I know Brexiteers would become angered at me saying this, but it still makes a difference if an entire region voted to stay). Most Northerners (in the NI sense) know what side of their bread is buttered – despite how head of the DUP and current leader of the ‘keep/take Northern Ireland back to the 1950s’ campaign, Arlene Foster seems to think Northern Ireland voted.

I worry that, particularly in some areas, the political situation is precarious, with sectarian violence peeking through every so often in some urban places in NI. I worry that if Scotland leaves, the Republican element could become more militant as many such as Sinn Fein believe an Independent Scotland would pave the way for a Reunited Ireland. Could a successful second referendum in Scotland lead to the calling of a referendum in Northern Ireland?

I saw the UK and specifically England as a prosperous place for my future. However, I saw this future as one in a ‘United’ Kingdom that allowed me to move and work in the EU. Not a UK cut off from the EU. Myself and many of my peers, like a large proportion of young people in the UK, now aren’t seeing our future in this kind of UK. Instead, many of us are beginning to look abroad for our future prospects. Or some are trying to find out if their grandmother was Irish… Anyway.

I say more power to Nicola, the SNP and Scotland. At least they are looking out for the interests of their region (again, unlike religious fanatic version of a Tory, Arlene Foster). I wonder how racist and fascist England will become with an unelected May at the helm. Debate on this matter would be very much appreciated – we could be heading towards a break up of the UK.


The Butterfly Rebellion
Claire Fox | Guest Contribution
011
London, England
Tremr

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11 thoughts on “Why I’ve changed my Mind about the Future of Scotland

  1. A very thoughtful article Claire,
    I would however make one very slight correction. Scotland is not a region but one of two national signatories to The Act Of Union. Just because Westminster treats us like a region does not mean we are one. Other than that I enjoyed your article and I’m glad to have your company on the journey to the restoration of our national sovereignty .

    Kind Regards
    Gayle

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Right. I have seen it as the only path for Scotland from where I stand in Minnesota. Saor Alba Gu Brath! My father’s ancestors would be delighted! They migrated to Canada and then Minnesota in the 1800’s to have FREEDOM!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Scotland is a country, not a region and we never joined the Act of Union voluntarily, Scotland was sold to Inglind without consultation of it’s people and there were riots when they later found out, but that was in the days when things were done that way then enforced by might

    Funnily enough not much has changed, a vote in Inglind is worth 11 to 1 of Scottish votes so where’s the equality of Nations that David Cameron talked about when he lied to Scotland about that

    One minute we’re four equal Nations the next we’re one Nation then we’re partners then we have a referendum but the four Nations are ignored for the one Nation again, how many ways do the British Inglish Great Britains United Kingdom people want it

    Oooh! I know, every way but Scotlands because we don’t count just like every other country who’s left the UK and funnily enough aren’t on the phone asking to come back to the wonderful UK who ripped them off and that’s why they left

    Guess who’s next…… Postcards?

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  4. The referendum result horrified me. Thankfully, I got my Irish passport 11 years ago – must have been a premonition – and it now feels like a lifeboat. Now that I have been abandoned by Britain, the country of my birth (I live in France), I too have had the “let it burn” thoughts, although I worry about the future for my grandchildren. I have perhaps more sympathy and concern for Scotland and N.I. as they are now more akin to my situation.

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  5. After many years working hard with my husband in our country of birth (England) providing employment for ourselves, training and hope to young people, career opportunities and participation in a small business to those of my own generation, paying contributions to the various Governments’ coffers and to our staff’s pension plans, we decided it was time to retire and use our capital to try a new life – and we chose neighbouring France. I don’t think we even thought about the EU, it was just close, possible to reach by car, and somewhere we could live relatively cheaply. In 2005, we felt we had made the right choice. Our new neighbours were welcoming, we were becoming accustomed to the shorter opening hours of our local shops, the freshness of the food and we soon felt very much “at home”. I am PLEASED to say that I live in France. I am happy here. However, I am still English and I accept my pension from the UK Government reminding myself that I did work hard and I earned the right to it. “The Referendum” was a big mistake, a bad decision by our then Prime Minister who no doubt felt secure in anticipating a “remain” result. The morning after the vote, I woke to a shock result. My husband and I had been able to vote but there were many in the same position as us who were DENIED the opportunity to vote because that same Government had promised in its 2012 Manifesto to extend voting to include those who had been living in Europe for more than 15 years. I will soon have been here 15 years. Time flies past. Soon I will also be denied my say. I am still grieving for the country I consider to be my home. Although my current home is in France and I plan to stay here for my lifetime, I am sad, depressed and disappointed that the people of England (in particular, but not of course London and a few other “pockets”) could be so fickle as to vote “leave”. However, it was not their fault entirely – they weren’t given the full facts, the truth – so how could they fairly be expected to decide? We are slowly learning the facts, some say “too late” but we are “British”, and we should say “enough”. The 48:52 result was not conclusive enough, the referendum should be recognised as “advisory”. Dig our heels in, yes; demand a change in the EU setup, yes; stick together in the UK, yes. Let us, all parts of the Union, work together for a fair and hopeful future instead of killing the economy, dragging loyal and faithful “friends” like Gibraltar down the drain with us and throwing the “Great” away.

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  6. Claire, I’m glad you have seen the light about the England of your birth, but from where I sit, in Scotland, there is no way that a Westminster government will ever ‘work together for a fair and hopeful future’. There is no UK Union of equals, only a Tory government (and prospective Labour government) that sees Scotland as a cash cow (but publicly says Scotland couldn’t stand on its own) and a ‘car park’ for nuclear weapons. It arrogantly ignores (a) our democratic vote to stay in the EU and (b) the fact that Scotland is a country, not a region, and and now threatens the existence of our democratically elected, devolved Scottish Government’. All this, and their brainchild called Brexit, is part of a crippling take-over that can only end in one thing – Scottish Independence. Like the view you have of your life in France, I too will then be able to say, ‘I am happy here’…

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  7. Engurland voted to leave and if im correct they dont make enough food to feed themselves dont have enough water to drink have only one real source of Income the City of London financial Sector which shows signs of Imploading. Most leaving to the EU , also they dont have enough energy sources to keep the lights on without imports and worst of all leave the Eu france might open the gates of the migrant Camps and let them pour into England and say not in Eu we dont pay to protect your Borders.

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