Alasdair Philbey is a first-year medic at King’s. He describes himself as a Green when not SNP, and enjoys the occasional drink or walk on the beach when not complaining about the English.
There has been a lot of disturbance to the supposed status quo of politics lately. We’ve seen the rise of populism as demagogues once thought unsupportable have seized control of the hearts and minds of the public. The decision of the people of the United Kingdom to leave the EU was a shock to many, not just the general semi-politicized left-wing middle class (most of this magazine’s readership) but also to veteran political analysts, economists, stock-traders and many of the politicians who supported it (looking at you Bo-Jo) or opposed it.
It was certainly a shock to me and many other Scots. After all, had we not just voted to secure our future as part of a larger union? Indeed, to most of us the arguments for an independent Scotland were far more understandable than the arguments for Brexit. The Indyref, as it came to be known, was focused largely around Scotland’s right to self-determination, the ability to make our own choices about the issues that matter.
Scotland is far more left-leaning than the rest of the United Kingdom and has been for many years, but for the majority of those years it has been under the control of a government majority that it did not vote for. While the establishment of a Scottish parliament has gone a long way in helping the Scottish people choose the policies they want, there are still many key issues that we have no say on, such as HMNB Clyde being designated as the ‘home’ of Britain’s Trident nuclear missiles.
Many of us thought the Brexit referendum would follow the same pattern as our Indyref. After several months of debate and drama, ultimately common sense would prevail and unity would be chosen. Of course, what followed was an unspeakably vile campaign by the Leave campaign group, heavily supported by UKIP and the Conservatives. Tactics such as thinly veiled racism, anti-migrant sentiment and tactics tantamount to bare-faced lies, such as the infamous £350 million extra we could apparently afford the NHS.
The end of the campaign and the unveiling of Britain’s overall decision to leave the European Union left many in Scotland feeling almost betrayed by the rest of this ‘United’ Kingdom, a nation that has demonstrated time and time again that it shares fundamentally different values to the people of Scotland. Directly following the result many of my friends and acquaintances who had been staunch supporters of the ‘Better together’ campaign for the Indyref suddenly changed their minds, or had second thoughts- myself among them.
I really do like England, I’m attending university here after all, but enough is really enough. I’m sorry if this seems overly harsh to my left-leaning counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but if England want to support a government and policies mired in hate, fear and misinformation, I propose we Scots let you them so in peace.
I, for one, want no part of it and I genuinely hope that we have a second Indyref in the next few years. I know how I’ll be voting.