EVEN when I first arrived in Scotland in 2017, I knew I wanted to become as much of a local as possible.

The naturalisation process is the admittance of a foreigner into the country’s society, and it often comes from a place of love and adoration for one’s new home.

At some point, after engaging with local community causes, culture and way of life, you begin to form a political stance.

Your new friends share their views with you, you’re expected to vote in local elections and the conversations no longer just begin with: “I heard Poland is cold in the winter.”

Instead, you start getting tagged on social media under articles about overfull bins and Lewis Capaldi sightings in Glasgow.

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After arriving here, my Scottish friends and peers became my whole life. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve been listening to people talk about independence for years.

At first, I tried to distance myself from it. “I’m just happy to be here and be accepted among you. I shouldn’t be telling you what to do with your country. Fancy a crisp?”

This tactic doesn’t work for long. The change comes from within. The disastrous and embarrassing delivery of Brexit by the Tories, the raging pandemic, the rising cost of living and the infantile level of discourse between Scotland and Westminster all helped me decide where I stand.


The National: Tomasz LesniaraTomasz Lesniara

Firstly, as a Pole and as a proud European, I believe that a second independence referendum should be granted just on a basis of Scotland’s forced exit from the EU.

Let’s not forget that every council area in Scotland voted to remain. Brexit has significantly damaged the relationship between the EU and the UK, with attitudes of everyday Europeans also strongly affected.

Polish media, for example, extensively covered the permanent homecoming of many Poles following Brexit’s xenophobia avalanche. An average European will not look up referendum results to enlighten themselves on which nation voted to leave more than others.

On the continent, terms “Britain”, “United Kingdom” and “England” are used interchangeably more often than they should be.

Scotland’s reputation is already damaged and damage control should be applied. Brexit ruined Scotland’s reputation by association.

The economic and political consequences of Brexit are too significant to just be ignored forever.

Even before I started feeling rather positive about the idea of independence, I used to find English Tory attitudes towards Scotland appalling, patronising and cynical.

People such as Jacob Rees-Mogg seem to have no interest in Scotland’s prosperity. I could watch the House of Commons on television with a face mask on and still feel the depressing aroma of Thatcherism and British imperialism in the air.

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As a result, the British internet landscape is already overflowing with disgusting classism. “Tory” has become a slur on TikTok. People throw phrases like “I can smell the benefits” and “not a GCSE in sight” around with anger.

All of that because the UK Government – in 2022 – believes people should be left to choose between eating and heating on one of the richest islands on the planet.

See the bigger picture, Scotland. They want to keep people hungry. They thrive on class systems and culture wars.

Some people say independence might be a long-term solution to a short-term problem. But getting rid of Boris Johnson will not fix it. England has a very strong conservative sentiment.

The majority of UK Governments prior to the current one were also Tory. The names might change but attitudes stay the same – rule Britannia! Unless a shift happens within the Conservative Party – a total change of attitude and sense of respect for one another – there is no chance for Scotland to have her voice heard in Westminster. It’s a chance that is slimmer than people’s wallets after paying rent.

I will not talk to you about the oil, the currency or the hypothetical border between England and Scotland. I am not an expert in trade, international relations or even politics. I am, however, a boy who made this country his own, who can tell that something is off.