Brexit has placed me in the unenviable position of having to choose between pillars of my identity. There are many pro-EU unionists like me today.
Edinburgh is a European city. This is the city that gave birth the David Hume, capital of the country that provided Mills and Adam Smith. Ideas that transformed the entire continent of Europe. Edinburgh is the Athens of the north, and Scotland is a European country.
The 62% vote for remain unarguably demonstrates and reinforces this reality. However, the British state as a whole has voted to leave the EU, to build barriers between our island and the continent of Europe. This then compels people of my political persuasion to reevaluate just how I see political, cultural and individual identity.
“My dream is dead”
The scene where Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation starts laughing hysterically on the basis “my dream is dead” is certainly relatable now. I found myself in that moment when the Brexit result became a statistical fact. First hysterical disbelief, then the morose & sombre reality. Uncontrolled laughter followed in quick succession by outrageous weeping. I’m not ashamed to admit I was in tears. After all, my dream is dead.
Scottish, British, European. A pro-EU, secular, liberal Britain is finished. A beautiful dream that is no more. Now we need to confront the realities we face, and the hard choices needing to be made.
Who am I? I’ve always answered unhesitatingly: Scottish, British, European. Those
are were the triple pillars of my civic and personal identity. I breathed them in, this was who I was. But now, with a second indyref all but inevitable, and opinion polls showing a chaotic picture vis-a-vis how Scots now feel about separation from Britain, who really knows?
UKIP, Farage, and the assortment of (less than honest) Brexit politicians and journalists have created a stark choice. And it’s one many pro-EU, Scottish Unionists like myself shall need try to answer. British or European: choose.
How can I?
My dream is dead.