In 2014 Scotland took to the polls in what was expected to be an era-defining verdict on its independence. Voting convincingly to remain as part of the United Kingdom on a turnout not seen since the introduction of universal suffrage the result was expected to put the issue to bed, but it did nothing of the sort.
Like many people, my thoughts on IndyRef at the time were not dissimilar to my attitude towards Brexit. It was, in my opinion, a nationalistic, populist, narrow-minded bid to reclaim what control Scotland had purportedly lost at the hands of Westminster, but it would ultimately be a punishing move to erect borders in an increasingly open World.
Of course, Brexit supersedes all of that. Brexit takes Scotland out of the European Union. It dictates its trading relationships with countries on its doorstep, it impacts the country’s prosperity, jobs, connectivity and its ability to compete against comparative countries.
The effect it has will ultimately be dictated by the path the United Kingdom takes out of the European Union, but even that will be out of their hands. Put simply, Scotland is about to be governed by a new UK Prime Minister elected by 160,000 Tory members, of which only 9,000 are based in Scotland, from a party that hasn’t won a major election in Scotland in 64 years, to deliver a Brexit that 62 per cent of Scotland’s voters rejected, and if that doesn’t justify another chance at independence I don’t know what does.
But it’s not just about Scotland. Brexit has shone a spotlight on Westminster’s ripple effect. Like an earthquake you will find that the further you move away from parliament the less you will feel its effects. And that is by no means an exclusively Scottish issue.
Jeremy Corbyn wrote in the Yorkshire Post yesterday that the “Northern Powerhouse is nothing but a cruel Tory joke”, which certainly rings true for many people. In his words, the Conservatives never devolved power, “they devolved austerity that hit the North the hardest”. While transport budgets are squandered on London and brain power gets sucked out the North has been forced to fend for itself without any real means to do so, which is a cruel joke indeed.
I may be a Remainer to my core, but in Scotland’s case it is probably time to leave. And without significant change, they may not be the only disenfranchised region to up sticks either.