Guys, I met a Knight. He shook my hand twice to demonstrate how the Queen shook his hand when he was knighted. The knight and I took a selfie–he made a funny face for a knight and I just used that ugly face I always have. You can scroll to the end to see the pic.
Today, Sir Thomas Martin Devine was our guest lecturer. In case you don’t know (tbh if you’re not Scottish then why would you), Sir Devine is regarded as the leading authority on the history of modern Scotland and its diaspora. He was knighted in the 2014 for “services to the study of Scottish history”, the first scholar to be so honored for this reason.
He stopped by our classroom on his way to BBC studios to talk about Brexit. UK left EU, guys. After decades of whining they finally got what they wanted. PSA: now it’s the best time to go shopping in the UK as a tourist because the pound is ridiculously weak. Even though Sir Devine gave an excellent talk about the Scottish enlightenment and Scotland’s contributions to the world–a real talk, without powerpoint presentations or any visual cues–we couldn’t wait until the Q&A session to ask the important questions.
What on Earth just happened? Why did they do that? What does this mean for Scotland? OMG !@#$%^&*()
At this point, Sir Tom Devine and Professor Henry Thompson, Personal Chair in Web Informatics at University of Edinburgh, just started firing words at each other. When they finally calmed down, Sir Tom Devine cleared his throat and made the following statement. I’m trying to quote him verbatim but sometimes it was hard to follow his passionate Scottish accent.
“I don’t think you understand what’s happening today in this country. The most staggering […] A lot of whisky will be consumed […] This is probably the most momentous moment in Scotland since our victory over Germany in [1945?]. People like myself will be grappling with what happened. I want you to know that Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU. Not one Scottish region voted to leave. This already sent tremor across Europe. There is already talk about France, Portugal, Germany holding EU referendum.”
[Quartz suggested excellent names for EU exits for all members of the EU, e.g. Retireland for Ireland, Departugal for Portugal, Outstria for Austria]
Sir Devine has an explanation for why Scotland’s opinion is so different from that of the UK.
“Now that’s something similar to Trumpism. People are tired of immigration. One of the reasons why Scotland wants to remain in the EU is because we don’t have many none white immigrants.”
The next natural question is what this means for Scotland. We all know that Scotland had a chance to leave the UK in 2014 but they voted to stay in.
Sir Tom Devine was pro-independence and very vocal about it. My question to him was now that the UK was longer part of the EU, does his stand still hold?
Before Tom Devine could answer, Professor Henry Thompson said:
“It doesn’t make sense for us to leave the UK now that the UK is not part of the EU. We want to stay in Europe. So it’s better to leave the UK when we’re still in EU.”
Tom Devine chuckled:
“I lost the friendship of the last Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, because of this. My position is clear that I’m still pro-independence, but I’m also very practical about it. We will need to see some clear, unequivocal sign from the polls. It’s gonna be very interesting to see the polls in the next few years. If the sign from the polls is clear, we should take the risk to leave the UK. If the Prime Minister says that you’ve got your chance and refuses to give us another referendum, then that’s civil war.”
Well, that is ominous. Now let’s look at the bright side. You’re witnessing a historic moment. Fifty years from now, you will be able to tell your grandchildren: “I was in UK when UK was still cool.”
And the selfie I took with the Knight I promised.