Friday

16th Nov 2018

Brexiters also vote in EU-friendly Scotland

  • Most opinion polls have shown two Scots wanting to remain in the EU for every one that wanted to leave (Photo: Aleksandra Eriksson)

The weather gods could swing the vote on the UK's EU membership.

It’s not raining over large parts of Scotland, the most EU friendly part of the country.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Most opinion polls have shown two Scots wanting to remain in the EU for every one that wanted to leave. Scots want to remain in the EU even more than the Northern Irish, and definitely more than the English and Welsh.

The referendum campaign has avoided much of the turmoil that has rocked England in the last few weeks.

The issue of migration hasn’t poisoned the debate, partly because there are fewer immigrants, and less pressure on social services, partly because of a labour shortage.

Leaders of all political parties represented in Holyrood, the Scottish parliament, campaigned together for an ’In’ vote, saying that the peace and trade that comes with EU membership transcend party politics.

While leaders of all parties represented in Westminster also back EU membership, the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has all her ministers with her. Five former first ministers back her too.

The ’In’ camp also draws on a positive image of the EU - with Brussels seen as counterbalance to the rule of London - that was built up during the almost year-long campaign that preceded Scotland’s independence referendum in 2014.

But despite the fine weather, few people trickled into the polling booths that EUobserver visited.

Ian Bain, investment manager at a climate technology company, said he voted to remain.

”An ‘out’ vote would hurt business and our possibility to travel,” he said, before rushing off to work with a bundle of dry-cleaned laundry under his arm.

But most of those that EUobserver spoke to at the polling booths said they wanted out.

Joseph was standing outside a school in Dalry, a working and middle class area in central Edinburgh, a ‘Leave’ pin attached to his jacket.

”We need to take back control,” he said. ”The European Parliament is a joke, it has as much to say as the Russian Duma,” he argued. He didn’t want to give his whole name, because he didn’t want his views to be found on Google.

An elegant couple having coffee in Cafe Camino, another polling station in Edinburgh city centre, spoke along the same lines.

”There is no democracy in the EU”, said the wife, an Australian national, who refused to give her name. ”I don’t think Jean-Claude Juncker will let you write this anyway,” she added.

As Commonwealth citizens living in the UK, they had the right to vote in the elections.

Barbara Wesolowska, a Polish national who has lived for eight years in Edinburgh, didn’t have the right, in common with all EU citizens except Irish, Cypriot and Maltese, whose countries are in the Commonwealth.

Wesolowska works for a foundation providing mental health services to the Polish diaspora and said the referendum worried her.

”Many people feel very badly because of the uncertainty of the vote,” she said. ”They don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Poles are the third largest national minority in Edinburgh after the English and Irish.

But lacking the right to vote doesn’t mean one must remain silent. Wesolowska organised a demonstration on Wednesday evening near the Scottish parliament. Twenty to thirty Poles turned up behind a banner to urge Edinburgers to stay in. Some of them duct-taped their mouths in protest.

”I wanted us to gather, because being in a group has a great therapeutic effect,” said Wesolowska. ”But the action also made some Scots realise that we don’t have a vote, that they are voting for us too.”

Column / Brexit Briefing

The domestic stakes of the UK referendum

City closed Friday in case of Brexit, Cameron gone by Christmas if result close, UKIP surge after defeat: what could happen after the EU referendum.

UK votes to leave EU, causes shockwaves

Britons vote to leave the EU by 51.9 percent. Pound is at its lowest since 1985. Scotland and Northern Ireland at odds with England and Wales.

Scotland not giving up on EU membership

Scotland's EU spokesman has said the country is a special case that would not act as a precedent for places such as Catalonia or Corsica if it split from the UK to join the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  2. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  3. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  4. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  5. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  6. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  7. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  8. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  2. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  3. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  4. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  5. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  6. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  7. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot
  8. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us