By Mathilde de Gooijer
Like many Scots, Jay Paterson (36) voted ‘remain’ in the Brexit referendum. He was born and raised in Glasgow, but he now works as an information security engineer in Prague. When asked about propaganda in the Brexit campaign, he sighs: “it was all around, but to be honest, both sides were equally guilty.”
In 2016, voters in the United Kingdom were asked if they wanted to remain in the European Union. After a long campaign, in which both sides were willing to take extreme measures, the majority decided they wanted to leave. With just 184 days to go until Brexit is official, it is still unclear what will happen. When the results came in, it was clear Scotland wanted to remain in the EU. The rest of the UK wanted to leave and now Scotland is being dragged along.
A key player in the referendum was Nigel Farage, a former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). “What he said and the way he expressed it, really spoke to people, especially working class,” says Jay. Blaming the EU and immigrants, worked really well. He felt his country was being colonised and he was fighting to get it back.
The remain-campaign focused on the benefits of the EU. “Often people do not realise what they have until they lose it. Many people did not know what the EU actually does and what we gain,” explains Jay. “Meanwhile the leave-campaign was focussing on how much the EU costs and what we could do with that money instead. I remember busses driving by with ads on them ‘We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.’ Of course that speaks to people, but in the end it backfired. Now people discover it does not work like that and they are angry.”
“I have never seen so much involvement in any country. Everyone was talking about Brexit and what it would mean. Even in traditional working class and high school.” More than ever before, social media were used during the Brexit campaign. A large crowd could be reached and discussions broke out.
With the majority of Scottish people wanting to remain in the EU, some are calling for independence, but British Parliament will not allow a referendum. Whether there will be an actual independence referendum, the Glaswegian is unsure. “There might come an unlawful referendum, like in Catalonia last year, but it will only cause chaos. A referendum is not binding and actually stepping out of the UK would be very difficult. Scotland is not ready for that, but if a political party does not take the outcome of the referendum seriously, they will be punished by voters.”