How Brexit Blew up Britain

I doubt many people understand the ramifications of the Brexit vote. After all, despite a wobble on the financial markets, things have pretty much returned to normal. The backstabbing in Westminster is the obvious example of just how quickly things have returned to normal.

The truth is that the kind of nonsense spouted by David Cameron during the referendum was an insult to the intelligence of the voters. There are many types of political and economic relationships between countries, and the EU had good and bad points. The UK, like any other country, can do well inside or outside the EU. David Cameron’s failure was in arguing just the economic case rather than arguing for what the EU was about: promoting peace and stability across Europe.

The French and German politicians that dreamed up the EU did so because they didn’t want to see another World War. The EU was a union of 28 independent nations which was a force for good in the world as it helped to keep the peace and drew in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe and helped to spread democracy and human rights across the continent. Withdrawal from this project can only diminish the UK and will lead to Scottish Independence. In the next few years, I hope the EU will once more have 28 members one of whom will be an independent Scotland.

Brexit, the UK vote to leave the EU, illustrates the gulf between Scotland and the rest of the UK has gotten wider. On the one hand you have a bunch of right-wing ultra-nationals, headed by Nigel Farage, who ran a campaign based on fear and loathing, of demonising and scapegoating; while on the other hand you have a group of civic nationalist headed by Sturgeon who spent the last four years running a campaign based on hope, not fear, of engaging with the wider world and finding Scotland’s place in it. While one group has appealed to the worst of human instincts, the other has tried to appeal to our better angels, has tried to raise the confidence of the Scottish people, not through blood and soil nationalism, but by an open and inclusive  outlook towards immigrants and by embracing the diverse backgrounds of the people who come to Scotland and make it their home.

As we look to the future, and our own independence day, here’s a thought: perhaps the reason we lost the independence vote in 2014 was because it was hope versus fear, while Brexit won because it fought a fear-based campaign against another equally as bad fear-based campaign with Remain. If it’s true that negative campaigning  works then Yes voters need to start thinking of a strategy of showing how rubbish the UK is in order to get Scottish Independence because the fact that the UK is the fourth most unequal country in the world with a democratic deficit that would make a banana republic blush isn’t obvious to some people. The reality of a bunch of right-wing nationalists running Westminster also needs to be spelled out in stark terms too.

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