BREXIT, whatever the cost, and Prime Minister Johnson is a democratic deficit I can’t tolerate any longer.

We will never know what kind of prime minister Theresa May was. Because whatever she was doing for the time she was in power, it wasn’t being prime minister of the United Kingdom.

We still don’t really know what kind of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is because he’s spent his time in office going from one chaotic shambles to another. And yet, even with Scotland returning a completely different set of results, we face five years with BoJo as our representative to the world.

The United Kingdom I remember is different. It was one of courage and leadership, looking in and out in pursuit of making people’s lives better. I don’t see anything that tells me Boris Johnson will focus on that.

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I remember the United Kingdom of Mo Mowlam going into The Maze prison to talk to people and refusing a stab-proof vest on the streets of Northern Ireland because she knew something had to be different.

Of Robin Cook taking the job of foreign secretary on the basis that he was able to add ethics into that job description, opposing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and leaving government when he saw that the Iraq war was a mistake.

Of Gordon Brown letting working single parents like my mum know that the country was on her side by introducing family tax credits, allowing her earn enough money in one job rather than not nearly enough in three.

That feels so far away now.

Boris Johnson, a serial adulterer who has described people like me as “bum boys”, members of other Commonwealth countries as “piccaninnies” who have “watermelon smiles” and a man who was rebuked in the House of Commons for being a misogynist, is now in charge of the United Kingdom.

“Please do not waste this time,” was the plea from the president of the EU when Theresa May asked for more time before the United Kingdom leaves. And yet, here we are. Two prime ministers, two deals and what feels like a thousand new deadlines since.

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Brexit, its wreckage and ballot boxes in Scotland sending a clear message that we want to go in a different direction, represent a democratic deficit I just can’t tolerate any longer.

I have run out of ideas on how I can influence any of this with a vote or by “getting more involved”.

So much so that I’ve settled on a different side of the conversation about whether independence for Scotland is the right thing to do.

The vote in 2014 was not a concrete thing for me. I waited 10 minutes in the ballot box, but it was easier to vote no because the Yes economic argument was not convincing. I also didn’t feel connected to the people making it.

Since then, it seems like other democracies are making decisions based on what they feel, what they hope for, not a deep dive socioeconomic analysis that will always say “Whatever is best for capitalism, do that”.

There was a phenomenal three-part documentary on BBC Scotland about the independence referendum. It was full of smart people, working so hard for what they thought was the common good. I couldn’t help but imagine them all in the same room, focusing on the same problems.

Someone who is 18, for example, has lived more than half their life under austerity. They are not likely to know the state as a force for good, for change, for hope.

I want to live in a country that I’m proud to say I’m from because it has a track record of social justice, demonstrates international leadership and makes decisions based on leaving the world in a better place than we found it.

A United Kingdom, led by Boris Johnson, sitting outside of the European Union, can’t possibly be it. So I’m pinning my hopes on something different.
Jamie Kinlochan
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