No one speaks about the benefits any more, which makes sense. There weren’t any. Brexit is the project of the morally-corrupt 1% who managed to trick a small part of the population into thinking they were all on the same page, yet those on the bottom tier either don’t know or don’t care that every asset paid for with their tax money is about to be sold off to profit the real elites. The whole thing is disgusting. And worrying.
I spent the better part of two-and-a-half years explaining to anyone who’d listen that Brexit was going to rupture the economy and take society right along with it. I suspect the only people who paid any attention were those who agreed with me in the first place. The ones who didn’t weren’t interested, or didn’t want to know. Seems we live in a time when changing your mind is no longer considered a respectable option. Pick a side, dig in, and become fodder for the culture war. This is not the sign of a healthy democracy.
The company I’ve spent years building is directly in the firing line – the canary in the coal mine, if you will. I’m in the position of sourcing my products from the UK and exporting them to the EU. So moving my business to another EU country isn’t an option. If I go, I’ll be smothered in the red tape of import. Staying means exporting headaches and expense. Unless we remain on the current terms, there isn’t much hope for me. ‘Collateral damage’, ‘acceptable losses’, and all those bloodless, gutless euphemisms.
I decided several months ago that I couldn’t worry about this any more. Three years of not knowing if the government will actively blow up the economy is a bit much to bear. But now that we’re thirty days away from the unknown, the stress is back – and it’s worse than ever. I’m constantly on the verge of tears as the impact study I’ve done on the effect of losing 70% of my sales means it’s over for me. It wasn’t a surprise. I’d thought about it before.
There were a few reasons I voted no to Scottish independence in 2014, but all of them could be condensed to one desire – stability. And in my defence, may I say that years of instability are just as bad as I imagined, even if the source isn’t the one I expected. What I believed in 2014 is still true. Scottish independence wouldn’t help my business. The scenario I mentioned above would still apply – sources outside the single market and customers inside it. I’m done either way.
But here’s the difference: a choice between living in an insular, xenophobic society and an outward, welcoming one isn’t a choice for me. While both would have a similar impact on my business, I know the latter would significantly improve the lives of so many others. It would increase opportunities for my (and other peoples’) children to live and work in Europe if they choose.
So my reasons for wanting Scottish independence can also be boiled down to one desire – choice – something we’ll lose if we’re forced to live in Brexity Trumpland because the 1% don’t care about the dreams and desires of the rest of us. They’re in this game to enrich themselves.
As I understand it, the Scottish government is waiting until the outcome of Brexit is known before calling another referendum. There are times I feel impatience with this decision, but ultimately I think it’s the right one. I can easily imagine the horror of calling it too soon and losing because enough people hadn’t changed their minds. And then we’d really be stuck, possibly for decades.
As scary as it is, I do hope we get our answer to the Brexit question in thirty days. I don’t know if I can cope with another ninety days of bluster and uncertainty, which might be a bit selfish, but it would certainly sharpen enough wavering minds so that Scotland can get on with the business of becoming what it was always meant to be: a progressive, welcoming, internationalist country.