Auf Wiedersehen

I’m still struggling to comprehend that today is my last day as a European Citizen (even though I no longer physically live in Europe).
This means that my family will no longer be able to return to Scotland to live without my husband having to go through an immigration process- a process that is still unclear. It means that I will not be able to live and work in Germany with ease, as I once might have done.
There are barriers now, that have never existed in our time together, stopping us from returning to either country.
But more than that, this transition away from Europe signifies for me an end to freedom, as I knew it.
It was more than just the freedom to live, and work and travel in Europe but to my the European Union signified the freedom that was fought for in 2 world wars. It was the continent coming together not just in economic and political friendship, but also culturally and socially, to understand each other better, in the hope of never repeating those tragedies.
It also signifies to me to growing intolerance and xenophobia that is gripping not just the UK but the continent. We are moving away from the tolerance and openness that has marked the last 30 years since the fall of communism and into a new period of hatred and fear and mistrust.
I didn’t cry when Scotland voted against independence in 2014 but I cried when Britain voted to leave Europe. I cried for the loss of everything I have known. I cried for the unfairness that meant that Scotland was cheated- promised they would stay in return for maintaining the Union, only to have it ripped away. I cried for fear of the future, the unknown and dark place that Europe is heading into as fractures appear.
I will probably shed a tear again tomorrow.
But I will raise a glass to the Union that gave me my husband, that encouraged me to learn other languages, to embrace other cultures and to see outside our tiny island. I will raise a glass in the hope that Scotland will one day return to a Union, the European Union. I will raise a glass in the hope that my daughter will be one day be able to live, work and travel freely across the continent, and celebrate her truly European roots.
This is not goodbye, Europe. Mearly, Auf Wiedersehen.

Two Years On.

It’s two years to the day since Scotland voted to remain part of the UK. I wish I could be more objective about this but it still hurts a bit. And yes, I know, because it has been pointed out more than once, that I don’t have a right to an opinion on this having chosen to leave eight years ago. But guys, I’m sorry. I do have an opinion and the last two years watching Britain descend into fear and insularity has done nothing to change it.

I wish it had been different. But the results cannot be changed. Unlike the face of Scottish politics. Back in 2014, I was on a trip through the Rockies with my parents and staying in a cabin in the mountains. I had no idea if I was going to have access to the internet that day so before I left Banff I posted:

Probably losing internet later today so before I go I just want to extend my thanks to everyone back home for embracing the referendum. I don’t need to tell you all how important it is but for those elsewhere reading this- it is momentous. A country is deciding its fate by democratic vote. It’s not something that happens very often. Whatever the result Scotland has changed history, and changed itself. Nothing will be the same again- people now know they have a voice- the fact that the result looks like being so close really only emphasises this. It’s brilliant and inspiring. Yes there’s been a lot of trolls come out- yes the debate has been heated and personal at times. I expect nothing less, it is personal. But overall, I’m so proud right now to be Scottish. Go vote guys- Looking forward to Friday when I can find out the score!

Throughout the campaign I was so impressed by the way everyone embraced it. I heard stories of people discussing it at bus stops, in the pub. Wherever people went they were talking. And that was huge.

In the end, the result wasn’t the one I’d wanted. It was the one some other folk wanted. But in the end, Scotland gained something that it will be hard to kill- the knowledge that the people really do have the power to change things. Shame that couldn’t have filtered south during the Brexit vote.

But at least we can still blame the English. The other alternative was cats. And that just wouldn’t have been so satisfying.