In 2014, I was scared, scared that Scotland would leave the UK. I worried about possible economic consequences, divides within Scotland and obviously about the ‘divorce’ from the rest of the UK. I have always been proudly British. I was relieved when I woke up on September 19th to find we would remain a part of the United Kingdom.
In 2016, I faced a new referendum fear. One which I had never expected. There was to be a referendum on whether the UK would leave the European Union. In my head the answer was clear, the electorate would vote to stay in the EU, of course they would. What would we have to gain from leaving? My friends and family all assured me, they would vote remain. I saw no campaigners for the leave campaign. I was confident. The first thing I did on Friday 24th June was check the news on my phone. The UK had voted to leave. Suddenly I felt emotional. I had been thinking about this purely as an economic decision and I had never considered that I might be emotionally affected by the result of the referendum. But my feelings on Friday the 24th were not caused by worry of economic downturn, they were caused because I am European. I feel I have been made to be part of this small island but nothing more, no longer a part of a family of European nations. Everything that followed on the news was more and more saddening. To see that older generations voted to leave while young people like myself voted to stay was disheartening. 62% of voters in Scotland voted to remain in the EU. I was proud of this result but yet it was difficult to take. I had voted for Scotland to stay part of the UK, part of a country that could not recognise the advantages of the EU. Now we were to leave the EU, against the wishes of Scottish people. Inevitably this will bring calls for a second Scottish independence referendum. I don’t want this country to be anymore divided than it already has become.
Every day I hear stories of anti-immigrant behaviour, of racist attacks, disgusting things happening here in the UK. I am so disappointed in my country right now. I have always been proud to be Scottish, British, European. Now I feel no pride. I feel embarrassed to live here, the UK preaches tolerance, and yet a referendum was won using hate, intolerance and lies. I hope countries and people learn that we are stronger together than apart. There is already so much pain and hatred in the world, we should aim to reduce that, not to increase it.
“We have far more in common than that which divides us” Jo Cox