Scott (Remain) fears "pay, obey and have no say" scenario

Flandersnews quizzed four U.K. expats living in Belgium before the Brexit vote. One week after the referendum, we asked them to express their views again. Scott McCulloch (Remain) slams the media and the EU's promotion skills, is looking at Scotland, and sees two credible options now. However, both are not great prospects, he argues. "The light at the end of the tunnel is narrower than that at the front, but it exists." Here's his point of view.

I anticipated before the referendum that there would be many who did not know or care to know about how the EU actually operated and what it has done culturally for Europe. What shocked me that the majority of those in England would be of that persuasion.

"Hostile press manipulated voters"

The vote to leave was sadly a misplaced protest against the UK political elites and a futile one to remove unwanted immigrants.
There are four failures that lead to Brexit.

The EU is atrocious at promoting itself in the UK. None of the EU institutions press conferences on 24 June were televised in the UK. Continued failures like this have added to the 'them and us' mentality of the UK public.

The hostile press manipulated the voters by advocating Brexit then, post referendum, warning of the real consequences of leaving the EU. With a school curriculum choosing to teach US history and politics over the EU our commonality is being ignored.

As for the campaigns, with the politicians trying to undermine each other political bashing ensued, depriving the voters of an informed debate, thus entrenching peoples frustration with the EU. The negative campaigns failed to energise the public.

In short, there was a failure by every person at every level to educate and pursued each other and themselves.

"Little Englander mentality"

With a positive campaign to remain in the EU, Scotland voted to stay. Cameron has given Scotland a window to negotiate entry to the EU, the option of blocking the Brexit decision in the UK Parliament and organising an independence referendum. Time is ticking.

Scotland is leading the way to find a way to respect the majority in Scotland and London who voted Remain. Labour and the Conservatives are more focused on leadership contests than helping the people. In the wake of the comments made in Parliament after the murder of Jo Cox, this behaviour is more shocking. As for the leave side, they have come back on so many promises and still have no plan.

Many Scots are asking whether the 'little Englander' mentality will continue to hold us back and if so do we push for independence and be connected to 27 other countries or the rest of the UK. Some wonder if the EU will still exist.

"Pay, obey and have no say"

With no plan I foresee two credible options. The first is to sign a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement or join the European Economic Area. Both options mean 'pay, obey and have no say'.

Vote Leave claimed leaving the EU would allow us to take back control of our country. The truth is Brexit has put the UK in the exact situation they claimed leaving the EU would save us from. It may be that a general election may grant power to a political party with a pro-EU mandate that can save us from this predicament.

"You cannot move goods without moving people"

Those who demand trade relations with the EU and expect there to be no freedom of movement are unaware that the two are linked. Those who claim this fail to understand how the EU actually operates. You cannot move goods without moving people. Likely we will not secure free movement of services, as was the case with Switzerland.

The UK, nor Scotland or Northern Ireland can enjoy the privileged status the UK had pre-Brexit, ignorance has ensured that. The light at the end of the tunnel is narrower than that at the front but it exists, for now.

Scott McCulloch hails from Edinburgh and has a background in law. Scott lives in Belgium with his girlfriend. He is now undertaking a Masters in European Studies at the University of Leuven. "The EU has given us important benefits beyond trade", he argues, "such as the Erasmus project for exchange students."

To see Scott's speech taken before the referendum, click on the video below