Comment Politics

Why Brexit has made me reconsider my stance on Scottish Independence

Fraser Kelly talks of how Brexit negotiations has made him rethink his views of a potential indyref2.

I remember the moment I decided I would vote Yes in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. I was reading an article in The Observer written by then leader of the Labour party, Ed Miliband. He rambled on about how politicians would pay more attention to Scotland and the needs of its population.

Scottish people would no longer feel neglected.

The article came shortly after the leaders of the three most prominent parties signed a ‘pledge’ to give more powers to Scotland if it rejected independence. The pledge appeared on the front page of the Daily Record. All I could think was that they were saying anything the needed to in order to persuade Scotland to stay.

It tipped me in favour of a Yes vote. I was sick of Westminster politicians telling Scotland what was best for us but only ever visiting when they needed a photoshoot to pretend like they care.

Miliband-edinburgh
Miliband’s article made me believe politician’s promises would not be fulfilled. Source: The Independent

That obviously wasn’t the only reason.

I wholeheartedly believe we are not heard enough by Westminster. They care more about England than the rest of the UK and I was also swayed by SNP’s promise to get nuclear weapons outside of Scotland should we become an independent nation.

Suddenly I became optimistic about the future of Scotland and the potential we had as our own nation.

I obviously was not without my reservations. Would our economy crash? Could Scotland’s oil industry be as strong as the SNP claimed? Did independence mean I would no longer get Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer?

After we voted to stay in the UK, I believed an opportunity had been lost. For years I was a vocal pro-independence advocate. I never quite turned into those people who share every anti-Westminster article on their Facebook and sprout SNP propaganda but I wasn’t far off.

Yet when the EU referendum came around I felt I was somewhat hypocritical. I could not see why we should leave the European Union and suddenly I began sprouting a rhetoric of how we should be breaking down barriers, not building them.

I wouldn’t say you can directly compare the Yes campaign with Vote Leave. The Vote Leave campaign felt motivated by fear.

Many people that voted Brexit were influenced by conscious and unconscious xenophobia but I never felt motivated in my Yes vote by anything of the sort. As a 16 year-old I was was voting for a new Scotland, one that decided its own fate.

However, my main concern about a transition into an independent nation has been the absolute shambles of the Brexit negotiations has been. It has left me wondering what sort of limbo we might end up in if we do leave the union.

One major point of the vote to leave the EU was that many voters were misled in the run up to the referendum. Promised more funding for the NHS. Promised that we would be taking back control of our borders. Promised that if you voted leave it would be a vote for a better Britain.

Was I misled into voting Yes?

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Nigel Farage in front of the controversial ‘Breaking Point’ poster. Source: The Guardian.

Since Brexit, the pound has declined and businesses seem to be gradually moving their headquarters or going back on plans to invest money into Britain.

It has led me to be increasingly more skeptical about our chances as a lone nation.

With all this going on, the SNP seem to be trying to use the Brexit mess as a way of getting any possible political points in pushing the idea of a second independence vote.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party consistently talks about indyref2 but recently she seems to have played down the concept of another vote anytime soon. She recently stated in an interview with US broadcaster PBS that we still did not know where Brexit would lead and that she felt “calm consideration” was needed first.

For the foreseeable future I will always wonder what would have happened had we decided to leave the union and become our own nation.

But what remains is my feeling that Westminster could not care less about us. I understand they have enough to deal with Brexit but ever since the Scottish referendum we have gone back to being second best in my eyes.

I remain a supporter of Scottish independence. However, Brexit has made me wary of the possible mess that might follow in our attempts to leave the union.

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