Scottish politics from a female, LibDem perspective
“There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day.” The word’s of Donald Tusk on receiving Theresa May’s letter triggering Article 50 may come to have the same resonance for future generations as Churchill’s and Chamberlain’s in Europe’s darkest hour.
This date, March 29th, 2017, may go down as one of the most significant in modern British History.
There will, I know, be many across the UK who welcome it in some way.
For me, at this crossroads in our history it is difficult to feel anything other than betrayal.
As a parent I feel betrayal for the many young people who fear the door to their ambitions has just been firmly locked.
I remember the wonder I felt as a child watching this hopeful new Europe that my parent’s generation were building from the ashes of a war that devastated lives across the continent and I feel betrayed for them.
Then I think about the people who have come here from other parts of the EU, built new lives, contributed to our society but now wonder what their future holds and I feel betrayed for them.
And I fear the abandonment of the European project has endangered the future of the United Kingdom.
Do the Tories even realise what they have done?
I see no evidence they do.
At a recent conference in Perth I heard Nick Clegg warn that by unpicking one part of the fabric of our nations’ relationships with each other Theresa May risked unravelling it all.
Now I see that illustrated all too clearly in Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s call for a second referendum on independence.
And to complete the picture we have the irony of Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives, elected to Holyrood on a party platform of opposing a second referendum and remaining in the EU, now proclaiming a Brexit future while their Westminster colleagues deliver exactly the scenario the SNP have dreamed of.
For the next few months, perhaps years, our two governments in Scotland may be able to offer us little other than uncertainty.
Their competing nationalisms have conspired to create a perfect storm in which we seem expected to simply hold on and hope there are lifejackets.
Well that’s not for me.
I will not simply accept my fate as the Tories and SNP squabble over whose iceberg will sink us.
I will continue to work for our place in the UK and for a chance for the British people to change their mind.
Both the Brexiteers and the Scottish Nationalists have long demanded the chance to put their case for change.
I will not now be denied the same right because it does not suit them.
There may be no reason for many of us to pretend that this is a happy day, but there is also no reason to give in and allow our country to drown.