14 June 2016

Uncertainty ahead, whatever the outcome.

Who am I? Who do I identify with? What nation am I part of? Which community to I belong to?

Speaking personally, the upcoming referendum raises interesting questions about identity, both personal and national and, whatever the outcome, the referendum is not going to resolve the political issues. The politicians will just have one less thing to argue about and they'll soon invent more.

But, if I were faced with a questionnaire asking me about how I see myself, with regard to national identity, I would say that I am Scottish, a citizen of the United Kingdom (even if it isn't 'united'), and, finally, a European.  These are aspects of my character and identity traits that I am comfortable with and which, in my own view, are confirmed by where I was born, grew up and the relationship of those places with the rest of the world. If the referendum produces a vote to 'leave' the EU, I will feel sad and, to a certain extent, dislocated.

What I don't know is how my relationship will be changed with the rest of the EU because, in the event of a vote to 'leave', irrespective of my vote, how will the rest of the EU see me? In the even of a vote to 'leave', I will become a citizen of a country which turns its back on Europe, certainly with regard to issues of self-interest. I will be lumped together with the 'leavers', irrespective of what I believe and desire.

Should the vote be to 'leave', what will happen in Scotland? Depending on the way the Scots vote (possibly 'stay') that will probably trigger another referendum seeking independence and, should that be the case and, should that vote be for independence, I will probably apply for a Scottish passport. So, leaving the EU may well trigger the break-up of the United Kingdom and that will be doubly sad.

But all of this lies in the future, as do the consequences of the upcoming referendum. Sadly for me, it is perfectly clear that, whatever the outcome, the 'leavers' will continue to argue. 'Austerity' will continue to play its part because, if the NHS, welfare budgets and Local Authority budgets were properly funded, the populace would feel better about their situation. As it is, the continued 'austerity' only undermines people's feelings of well being and encourages a search for someone to blame - an entirely negative influence which supports the antipathy towards 'immigration'.

I'm hoping that the referendum will confirm the fact that is confirmed by any map - that the United Kingdom is part of Europe, only physically separated by the Channel. But I have no confidence that the evidence of any map will be sufficient to overcome nationalistic and political prejudices.