All things that are, decidedly Scottish.
All things that mostly give me the boke.
Also, what's with bagpipes?! Good lord they're awful! That being said, yes, I am Scottish - born and bred.
I was born in Glasgow - a city which is actually far larger than Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh.
Although born in Scotland, I have an interesting family heritage. Both my mother and father are English and moved up a few years before I was born. Unlike many Scottish people I know, from a young age my British cultural heritage was stamped all over me. Like a ready for international delivery Amazon Prime order. Postage paid and good to go!
My grandfather served in the British Royal Air Force and my great uncle served in the British Army. Both inspirational, wise and dignified men who served their country and helped protect future generations. My Granny was also incredibly proud of The Empire and all it had achieved. If there was a wee union jack flag to wave, she would wave it. 🙄😅 She was also an 8th Scottish...? Or she said something along those lines anyway and would always say how proud she was of that too.
As you may be aware, the United Kingdom has quite the history.
We have a rich, cultural heritage of sweeping over the world and providing future generations with the English language, our idealised value system and empowering them their own day of independence.
Whilst perhaps internationally regarded as a society where everyone speaks in a "British accent" (good lord, that isn't a thing!) and is the home of Harry Potter, we actually have a pretty sordid past. Something which current generations are starting to forget. I'm sure this is the part of the blog where I'm supposed to outline the dawn of the British Empire and summarise hundreds years of history but to be honest, I'm still reading-up on it and it's a bit too eyebrow raising.
As I've grown-up, I've felt incredibly connected to both my Scottish and British cultural heritage and proud of the good parts. This is why I found the Scottish independence referendum such a confusing and frustrating experience.
For the first time in my life I started to feel my Scottish identity slipping away from me. With the fervour and the momentum of 'Yes!' campaign, I started to feel that my bipolar heritage wasn't 'a thing' anymore. It felt like there was no longer the luxury of being a product of both Scotland and England. That I had to either choose to be Scottish and deny my British-ness or be British and deny my Scottish-ness.
As the tensions started to build, the daily commute to work was becoming unbearable. People seemed visibly concerned as they scrolled through their timelines and flicked through the day's newspapers. For every person displaying common sense and sound judgement from either political standpoint, there were friends and work colleges exposing themselves left, right and centre - pun intended - as naive xenophobics.
Then, as the world watched with baited breath, Scotland chose the remain part of the United Kingdom.
So many people were disappointed but to be honest, I felt relieved.
If Scotland became independent, there were so many unanswered questions: pensions, our education system, national security or even what currency we would use?! But many people just wanted the opportunity for a fresh start without the ball and chain of The Empire.
Even these unknowns couldn't sway the opinions of the 'Yes!' voters. Their optimism for Scotland's future was resounding but it wasn't enough to draw in the nay-sayers.
It was a close vote though, with 53.3% voting remain.
Should Scotland be an independent country?
No independence day for us, eh?
Not yet anyway.
And Then To Brexit
Whilst the Scottish independence referendum result was no doubt disappointing to many in Scotland, it sent a powerful message worldwide: in the UK, whilst we may not all agree we're - for better or worse - together.
When it came to the next history-making vote, I felt a sense of overconfidence. The Brexit vote to me felt like an exercise in the illusion of choice - that we were being presented with a choice to make us, the people, feel empowered. Not for one second did I think that the United Kingdom would actually vote to leave the European Union! That would be crazy, right?! 😅😭💀
This time round, it was undeniable that widespread xenophobia was at play. Instead of patriotism being the focus, the fear of "the other" combined with a loss of national identity and resources were being weaponised by the far-right, in a bid to force the hand of voters within an older and more dominant demographic.
UK Votes To leave the European union
Waking-up to the result felt like an actual fever-dream-nightmare and for Scotland, who voted by a 62% majority to remain within the EU, it was devastating.
Living In The Post-Apocalypse...
So what's it like living in the post-apocalypse...sorry, I mean "Brexit"!
What's it like living in the post-Brexit Scotland?
For the most part, it's pretty much business as usual. Much like every supposedly pivotal political moment in history; we wake-up, we have a shower, we go to work, we come home and spend time with our friends and family - then repeat.
There's definitely the default British self-deprecating humour in full force on a daily basis though. A world-renowned sense of humour that helps keep the good-ship United Kingdom afloat. However, there's definitely a sense of worry in Scotland. A sense of worry with a dash of 'impending doom' for any European residing here. There's just so many unknowns.
What it means to live in a post-Brexit Scotland?
"Being British" - what does that even mean anymore?
Most of the people I know from my generation in Scotland really wouldn't regard themselves as "British". Even more so now.
As the lines that divide England and Scotland seem to become further refined with every questionable decision made in Westminster, the things that brought the United Kingdom together seem more and more arbitrary.
This kingdom doesn't seem that united anymore, does it?
What about "being Scottish" though? Well, as history has proven, being Scottish means being resilient, being passionate and being willing to fight for what you believe in.
Here's to the future!
Whatever it might be.
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Time for some music?
Inspired by this blog post, here's a new Spotify playlist!
Click or tap the image below.