I’ve lost my integrity. It’s been a gradual process, a slow chipping away over the last few years, but today I’m feeling the damage. I’m functioning as well as can be expected, but I’m not sure how much longer I can carry on.
My moral compass is as strong as ever, reinforced by my determination to hang on to it despite my current predicament. When I say ‘integrity’, I mean the mental and social structure I depend on to function normally – a bit like an airplane or a boat. Both need a baseline of structural integrity to work. Take a small part of that integrity away and they may still sail and fly, but they’re no longer dependable. And there comes a point where their integrity is so badly compromised that the risk of relying on them is just too great.
When I moved to the UK in 2001, my integrity was strengthened. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to worry about healthcare. The basics of life weren’t unaffordable, and I set about building a life on a strong foundation. I felt welcome as an immigrant, and when I started up my business in 2005, I was able to give back to the society that had looked after me in those first few years.
Fast forward to today and it’s all hanging by a thread, and not because of poor choices on my part. The UK government has ripped out nearly every scrap of integrity these little islands ever had. The health service is in tatters, the economy in free fall, and the attitude towards immigrants is shameful. And as a result I don’t feel very well. My business is barely functioning. And I live every day knowing my citizenship can be taken from me on a whim or by error.
For a long time, I comforted myself with the belief that Scotland would break away from this madness and begin to restore its integrity, but I’m tired and losing hope. There are factions here who tell me it can’t be done and that I’m stupid for wanting it – basically braying for integrity to never be restored. I’m beginning to think they may outlast me because integrity is something I can’t live without.