Since 2014, it’s safe to say that the world has taken a significant turn. The reality in which Scotland opted to stay in the United Kingdom no longer exists, ripped apart by the cold shock Brexit, a political project that is being forced upon Scotland against our expressed will. In 2014, we were asked to lead the UK, not leave it. That choice resulted in broken promises and, now, Scotland being led down a destructive path. But we can change this course, yet.
Together with my partner, I arrived in Scotland in November 2015. Two Portuguese guys trying to find our own way in the world. We chose to come to Scotland, specifically, because of the many Scots we were lucky to meet in our native country, who told us that Scotland needed young people like us. It was that unbridled joy and that fiery warmth that drew us here, and it was the best decision we ever took.
In Scotland, we found a sense of home. We found a rich and vibrant culture, we found an openness, we found a people very politically aware. And we found a prosperous, smart and perfectly capable country, that suffers from a huge democratic deficit within the United Kingdom. If that deficit was already uncomfortable to look at in 2015, then it became excruciatingly painful after Brexit.
Scotland has a population not dissimilar to most Scandinavian countries, it has a booming tech sector growing rapidly in our cities, and it has a quarter of the European Union’s potential for renewable energies. Our country has a history and a tradition of innovation, and thanks to our world class universities, it has the intellectual capacity to reach even further. This country is also one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and our food and drink exports are hitting new records. Scotland doesn’t simply have the resources to survive – Scotland has everything that it needs to thrive as an open, outward looking, internationalist, independent nation at the heart of Europe.
Scottish independence doesn’t stand against anyone. It is an ambitious dream, one full of positivity and hope, one that seeks to include rather than exclude. Independence is about putting all the tools in our hands in order to lay the best possible foundations for the next generations. Boris Johnson’s Brexit will impoverish Scotland, will push young Scots to emigrate towards places with better opportunities, and it will see the likes of Donald Trump getting his hands onto our NHS, our food and drinks sector, and our natural resources.
I was born in Portugal, but in Scotland I came alive. I see a country that deserves better than an endless cycle of governments that it rejects again and again. We deserve our place at the heart of Europe, we deserve to see that the prosperity created by Scotland’s natural resources is more fairly distributed, and our children deserve a future where every door and window of opportunity is open to them.
I was born in an independent country. It’s by no means a panacea that fixes every problem, but it’s the only way to have every possible tool in our hands, to shape the future we believe in. Independence is not the destination, but the means to bring about our better days, for all Scots, old and new, born here or not.