Britain’s European Affair
Agnieszka Karasiewicz is a European citizen living and working in Scotland. This is her response to Cameron’s referendum disenfranchisement which means that someone from Zimbabwe or Malta can vote, provided they have the right paperwork, but those from Belgium or Poland can’t.
After the results of general elections earlier on this month I believed that Britain was on its sure way towards intelligent governance. With the important and necessary movement of the SNP into Westminster this country saw a glimpse of balancing itself out. Scotland as a holder of the collective masculine energy (mind, ether, innovation) had been dominated by England (holder of the feminine energy – wealth, practicality, materialism) for too long. The moment this imbalance has a chance to even itself out David Cameron makes a decision which is below reason but certainly sits comfortably within the spectrum of his upper class conditioning. Intelligent governance is perhaps not for Britain to deliver.
I respect Mr Cameron for his consistency and commitment with regards to trimming migrant numbers – it certainly is a way towards healthy boundaries and perhaps taking a little bit more control over the all so vague statistics. His intention of initiating reform of European Union is also grounded but because it is based on self-interest the chances are poor that the changes proposed will be sustainable or suitable for the greater good. Hardly surprising since Mr Cameron will struggle to keep ‘his own’ Kingdom united – his decision about barring foreigners from voting in the EU referendum is a sign of his own power leakage and despair. He shot himself in the foot. Together with Britain as we know it and its convoluted, it seems, democracy.
Of course the whole affair is controversial especially as within a category of ‘foreigners’ the decision who can vote or cannot is pretty random. Many will leave before the vote and more will arrive and European Union will make decisions for Europe regardless of Britain’s choices. At this stage I am more concerned how Scotland manages through this to be recognised in Europe as an autonomous country. For whatever our feelings about the issue might be it cannot be denied that David Cameron has opened yet another gateway for Scotland to re-define itself alongside the Scottish borders.
It is only natural and it would be inconsiderate not to take this opportunity. England’s situation with migration and immigration is very different to that of Scotland’s. England has 53 million people, according to some sources 7.5 million are migrants. It’s easy to understand Cameron’s decision based on the numbers and his agenda for Europe. Scotland however is a country of 5.3 million of people of which, according to Herald Scotland, approx. 369, 284 are foreigners and attitudes here are very different. We are valued and supported, many of us feel at home here which only partly has to do with economy. For England we might be a nuisance whose voice to ignore, in Scotland we are an asset to celebrate.
In 2013 I decided to seriously look at becoming a British citizen. After 10 years of working diligently perhaps there was indeed some extra benefit in holding a British passport. There are several criteria but applying is only possible after one had passed a test of knowledge. There is a preparatory book you need to be learning from for the test, entitled Life in The United Kingdom, a Guide for New Resident. It was a great test of patience ploughing through it. It is really a bigger marketing pamphlet, this book. Knowing the realities of living in the UK reading the skewed version was both enlightening and amusing, especially the last chapter.
On page 123 of the manual one is informed that on becoming a British citizen they will be asked to take an oath. It reads:
” I (name) swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law. “
After reading this sentence I sighed deeply and put the book down, never to look at it again. I could never consciously say such words or commit to such an oath. The Brits don’t go through the process of vowing – they are born into the state, they inherit the subservience in their psyche. But no truly sovereign individual could ever be the subject of another, in any way, shape or form. He will not make himself a subject to any group, ideology, his own ideas, opinions, or doubts and he might have many.
I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time but the decision had been made in my heart. Whatever it meant for my status; missed financial opportunities, social disadvantage, forced leave from UK further down the line, there was no way I would be applying for British citizenship. I was going to wait for the Scottish one.
European Union certainly has to change, the model worked for an alliance of 15 countries but its form, purpose and goals became totally misaligned after new members joined in 2004. Mr Cameron is right to ask for reforms. But how can a party which excludes itself influence decisions for those who are included? As a foreigner who has been living in UK since 2003 I cannot see how Britain can continue in a similar fashion and re-vive the power it once held. Perhaps it is time for Scotland to take the reign of its horse and guide it to a new territory. Maybe it is in fact this country which will introduce intelligent governance to the rest of the world.
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