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So, we're leaving the EU.


2016_05_260009 - Brexit

Well, this is awkward. 

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post ranting about Brexit and how I thought it was a wast of time because no one in their rights minds would vote for it. 

Yeah...about that. 

Unless you've just woken up after a two day nap and my blog is the first website you've visited because you check it daily in anticipation (which, if you do, I'm flattered you lovely imagery person) you'll know that my prediction was wrong. 51.9% wrong in fact. The British public have spoken and they've voted ever so slightly in favour of leaving the European Union. And yeah I'm pretty fucking gutted. 

I didn't nearly campaign hard enough, because I honestly thought it was in the bag. I just can't understand - at all - why someone would vote to leave. I've had a keen interest in the European Union since we first studied it in primary school, I'm politically involved and don't cast any vote without thorough research and I have a degree in International Management where I wrote many essays arguing why globalisation is something we should hold onto for dear life. And I cannot think of one good reason why someone would vote to leave. Unless they hate things like workers rights, animals rights and anti-discrimination laws but enjoy filling out visa forms for a city break in Prague. Or they like Boris Johnson (ew). Or Nigel Farage (double ew). 

But what would it have mattered if I had campaigned harder? The bulk of the Leave votes came from Baby Boomers who live in England and Wales. I'm a millennial who lives in Glasgow. 

I'm not going to lie I'm scared. Really fucking scared. 

The thoughts that drove through my head yesterday morning as the news dawned on me. Will I ever get a state pension now? Will I ever be able to retire? Will the Tories and UKIP undo all the workers rights legislation the EU has implemented? What will happen to all my non-British friends? What about my cousin's Latvian girlfriend? What about travel? Will we need visas? Will the pound be the weakest currency going for the next ten years? What about the livelihoods of people working in the travel industry, of which I am one of them? Will we still have an NHS? What about my mum's job in the NHS - the secure and well-paid job she has that has made me one of the lucky millennials who, even though I was getting just as fucked as the rest of my generation, could still get by because my parents were in a good position. What will happen to the price of Prosecco and other imports? And Eurovision might be a tad awkward next year. 

Maybe it's time to admit that I channel negative emotions through sarcasm and humour. I like to think this fuels me to create political analysis with wit. But probably not.

We're the generation who will have to live with this 

Source.

The first thing I spotted about this graph is that I'm old enough to belong to the second group, and that means I'm officially old. Second thing I spot (which is the entire point of the graph) is that the people who wanted Brexit the most aren't going to live long enough to experience the potentially diabolical consequences. Basically racist grannies at the bus stop. 

I'll make it clear I was being flippant with this tweet. Very flippant. I do not want to start a petition asking the government the implement an upper voting age limit. Even if I don't agree with them, the racist grannies at the bus stop should still be entitled to their say. But this illustrates - to me at least - why 16 year olds should be given a vote. Aside from being old enough to get a full-time job and pay taxes, get married, consent to a sexual rendezvous, bring a child into this world, leave school for college or university, leave their parents house and face the world on their own, they are the generation who will have to live with this decision the longest. They were the generation who wanted this the least. So they should get to vote on important things that can't easily be undone.

When I started my business degree at university it was drummed into us that we were the generation who would have to fix the recession caused by the generations before us. That was 2008 and while things have improved a bit, they're still far from being fixed. And now there's this - something that's going to be very hard to fix if it turns out to be the worst decision that UK has made (and judging by the pound plummeting it could well be).

Scotland and England are two very different countries

There's was a misconception about people's motivations for voting Yes in 2014's independence referendum. The mainstream media liked to paint Yes voters as a bunch of rowdy William Wallace types at an England versus Scotland football match. While I'm not going to deny that there were Yes voters who had watched Braveheart one too many times, most of us weren't voting to leave the UK out of blind nationalism. It was because Scotland and the rest of the UK just don't fit together anymore and it was time to call it a day. 

The UK currently has a Tory Prime Minister (well for the next wee bit, but the next one is likely to be a Tory as well) but the Tories don't perform well in Scottish elections (at least not in the UK elections). Oh, and the UK as a whole just voted to leave the European Union by a small margin, but Scotland voted to stay remain by a large margin. We're different countries with different goals and this referendum has only made that blatantly clear. 

I love the UK and I will be sad the day Scotland breaks away (I say 'the day' so surely because it's almost inevitable now). But I believe we have to. I believe Scotland has the potential be a shining bright social democratic beacon for the world - but the UK and its separatist views are holding us back. I feel almost guilty about leaving the people living in England and Wales I care deeply about behind - but Scotland's doors are open if independence does happen and you want out of the UK. Scotland embraces the global world surrounding us; so much so that we allowed EU residents to vote in our referendum because it was about who had chosen to call Scotland their home (not who just happened to be born here). 

And for the record (because there has been confusion about this) it is not 'ironic' to be pro-Scottish independence and pro-EU. Westminster and the EU are two separate things with separate purposes - you can want to be a member of one but not of the other. 

And IndyRef2 looks likely

On the 18th of September 2014 I voted yes to Scottish independence. One of my primary reasons for doing so was the growing Euroscpeticism south of the border. Better Together assured voters that if Scotland wanted to remain in the European Union, we should stay with the UK. That a tiny country like Scotland would never be accepted into one of the world's largest trading blocks. We were told voting for independence from the UK, would mean independence from the EU. 

Awkward. 

I never believed it, and seen it for the Project Fear tactic that it was. But much of the Scottish electorate believed it and voted No out of fear that citizens of an independent Scotland would need a passport to get into France. As such the topic of a second Scottish Independence referendum is now firmly back on the table as the Scottish electorate realises they were fed lies by the Westminster led campaign. 

I'm not sure how I feel about IndyRef2. When Scotland narrowly voted no almost two years ago, in a way I thought it was a good thing (as much as I was also gutted). If Scotland goes independent I want it to be by a landslide, not by a slim majority that leaves just under half of the population pure raging. I've believed for a long time referendums that propose a drastic change - such as UK independence from the EU - should have a certain percentage turnout from voters, and be reliant on a super-majority. I only want another referendum if polling starts to suggest that it would be in the bag. 

Or Scotland could still be part of the EU and the UK simultaneously, at a push. It's been called the Reverse Greenland - once upon a time Denmark was allowed to join the EU but Greenland (who still belonged to Denmark) and the Faeroe Islands were allowed there own choice and decided to not join. Obviously that was a different situation: their main country wanted it but the extra countries didn't; Scotland and the UK are the other way around. And Denmark isn't physically attached to Greenland or the Faeroe Islands. The Guardian has a fantastic piece on what Nicola Sturgeon's options are and why Scottish independence is now almost inevitable

Other than that we can re-build Hadrian's Wall and become wildlings.

Apathetic voters - this was your wake up call

We've all seen the video of the Leave Voter who didn't think his vote would count. We probably all know people who since the vote are now vocal Remain voters - but didn't hear a peep from them before the 23rd. And given the embarrassingly high numbers of people who didn't vote, you probably know someone who couldn't be bothered. If anything good comes from this, we have learned what can happen when voters are apathetic. Heck, even I was slightly apathetic thinking there was no way in hell Leave would prevail. 

I've learned my lesson. 

Are you really that down?

Yes, I am. I'm usually an optimistic person. Weirdly optimistic. Right now, every bedroom in my flat (plus a utility cupboard) has a leak in it and I'm taking it in my stride. My flatmate can't understand my chill but I'm "yeah, there's a hole in the roof and my bedroom reeks of soggy carpet - nothing a decent builder can't fix". But Brexit isn't something a builder can just fix - even experienced economists aren't sure what to do. 

I'm not confident about this either. I blame bigotry, backwards baby boomers and racist grannies at the bus stop. Nigel Farage too. He can go to hell. 

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