Saturday, June 25, 2016
The Brexit Referendum and the Independence of Scotland
I knew the LEAVE side was going to win the Brexit referendum hours before the polls closed.
When I heard that the poor who live in the Britain's rundown Council estates were turning out to vote in massive numbers.
And the reason I did is because if you have ever taken the train from London to Edinburgh, as I sometimes like to do.
Only about two hours after you leave the glittering prosperous capital, you enter a very different Britain.
A poor, anxious, angry Britain.
And the result of the Brexit referendum had a lot to do with this simple equation: if you've got money you vote in, if you don't you vote out.
Most of all, Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline.
What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored.
But sadly the referendum result also had a lot do with racism and xenophobia.
Which was whipped up by the leaders of the LEAVE movement like the ghastly Nigel Farage...
Who portrayed a break with Europe as the only way to prevent Britain from being swamped by hordes of refugees and migrants.
And to make things even worse, the result was also a monumental betrayal of the young.
According to pre-election surveys by the polling organization Survation, 57 percent of Britons between the ages of 18 and 34 who intended to take part in Thursday’s referendum supported remaining in the bloc, while an identical proportion — 57 percent — of Britons over 55 supported the opposite: leaving Europe behind.
For those under 25, the desire to remain in the union was especially high: Three-quarters wanted Britain to stay in Europe.
It has caused the worst kind of wounds.
Louise Driscoll, a 21-year-old barista in London, spent most of the day crying. “I had a bad feeling in my gut,” she said of Britain’s referendum on Europe. “What do we do now? I’m very scared.” Her parents both voted to leave the bloc, she said, and “will probably be gloating.”
“Truly gutted that our grandparents have effectively decided that they hate foreigners more than they love us and our futures,” one young Briton, Dan Boden, wrote on Twitter.
So it is a dark moment, and my only consolation is that in Scotland at least, the young will get a second chance to determine their own future...
For the referendum result has breathed new life into the movement for Scottish independence.
Scotland is on the brink of staging a fresh referendum on independence after Nicola Sturgeon requested talks with the EU on separate membership after the UK’s vote to leave.
The first minister said she believed a second referendum on independence was highly likely after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU, but was unable to prevent the leave campaign winning by 52% to 48% across the UK as a whole.
It has shown yet again that Scotland is a different country, with its own values and priorities.
And I'm pretty sure that it will never consent to live under the thumb of the brutish Thatcherite Cons who are about to replace David Cameron, grind the hopes of the poor who voted for them to dust, and make Britain an even more meaner and more miserable place to live in.
So although, like so many others, I was gutted by the result of the last independence referendum...
Now I'm full of hope...
Full of hope that Scotland, a small but proud country, will get another chance to determine its own future, and build the kinder, gentler, more left-wing society it wants. One free from the toxic bigotry that is poisoning Con Britain.
It is the light in the darkness.
It is my dream.
Scotland forever, and here we go again...
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