Lithuanian student Ugne Viktorija Budre reflects on the Brexit vote in the next of our ‘Europe in Scotland’ series. If you’d like to contribute email us your thoughts. Read previous contributions from Emanuele de Vito, Svenja Meyerricks, Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith, Agnieszka Karasiewicz and Dovydas Kuliešas
How I felt about Brexit
Until 23 of June, Brexit in my mind was unthinkable. Scotland has been home to me for the past five years. My journey started in Aberdeen, and I have recently moved to Edinburgh. After entering university in 2012, I had a chance to meet with people from around the globe; to get to know they culture and values, learn their stories and share my unique background. Also, as an active student, I got involved in the local community project where I worked with residents and public servants. Until this point, I did not feel like a foreigner; felt that I am a part of the global community, society that brings people together for the public good, or at least I felt the way since my early adolescence. When I was twelve Lithuania officially became a part of the Union. And it did change our lives. EU helped Lithuania to become a modern and attractive countryto the foreign investment, contributed in our education system; invested in social prevention projects; helped us to shape a newly independent country after the collapse of the USSR.
Overall, while growing up, EU constructed my views on global community and citizenship. Andafter moving to Scotland, and being surrounded by international community and Sottish citizens Ihave not felt Brexit will come into reality. My vision of global citizen was damaged, but the warm words of Scottish community keep the spirit alive.
Referendum debate and results
As a political science student, I have followed the Brexit on News and TV, listened what local people have to say and how they opinion was shaped. The catchy phrases and data have often misused by newspapers, debate shows and politicians. In my view, media should take greater responsibility for the information that was published and articulated through various channels. Ordinary people trust the media, as ‘independent institution’, as they busy building their lives. But in reality, media is misleading the reader and isolates its perception of the current issues. Mathew Flinders writes in his book ‘Defending Politics: why democracy matters in the twenty-first century’:
“A growing emphasis on profit and market share and the absence of a media culture that permits meaningful democracy has deprived the public of the information they need to act as responsible citizens. Worse than that, the media is providing a daily diet of lies, exaggeration, and misrepresentation about politics in order to further the interests of journalists and shareholders than the public of interest.”
Regards the referendum result, I do respect the 51.9 percent that voted to leave; however, I do believe that the vote was too marginal to claim that the nation is ready to leave the European Union. The referendum itself is a consultative vote for the government, and it was up to the government to decide which way to go forward.
In recent weeks, many claim that situation has worsened end entered its darkest days, but as my fellow British friend says: ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. I am currently living in Edinburgh, I have not faced any xenophobic comment so far, my employer is monitoring Brexit and changes in policies, and already received all necessary information regards my residency in the UK. I do not want to comment on Tory recent public messages as I believe that UK society is full of educated and intelligent people. And if the Great Britain intends to triumph as a solo nation – go ahead, but remember your dignity and morals.
I want to thank you Nicola Sturgeon for standing up and supporting all EU and international migrants, and sending a clear message to the world ‘We are one Scotland and we are simply home to all those who choose to live here, that is who and what we are’.