Author Archives: Keith Legg

Why I’m supporting Yes this time

In September 2014, you could well be expected to have thought that it was all over. The “no” vote to independence – including mine – was 55%, the SNP broadly accepted the result, and it looked like there was no way the Tories would win an overall majority in 2015, effectively ruling out an EU referendum.

How things have changed.

In 2014, I started the referendum relatively open-minded but leaning towards a “no”, but by the end (and having been firmly put off the idea by Alex Salmond) I was quite firmly in the “no” camp.

But in my head I was clear about one thing. My priority was to remain a European citizen. I would prefer to do that as part of the UK, but if that wasn’t possible then other ways had to be considered.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 38 Comments

Are you prepared to take the risk of leaving the EU?

To be honest, I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to the EU referendum until after the Scottish elections had passed. Being an expat – or migrant, if you want to put it another way – in a country outside of the EU, it seemed, from a distance at least, that while the rest of the UK would support remaining, England might have a temporary moment of madness during the campaign but would come to its senses in time for the actual vote.

But it was a Facebook post from Scottish Lib Dem stalwart Sheila Richie which really jolted me. She described herself as being “scared” about the potential outcome in a way which she didn’t feel scared about the Scottish independence referendum. I know what she means.

I have a daughter. I’m scared what a vote to pull out of the EU means for her and for her ability to find jobs or higher education in a country which suits her. If she returned to the UK, she wouldn’t automatically have the right to go and work in France, Spain, Germany or wherever (and yes, I know that the UK could stay in the EEA and have the same right of movement as we currently do, but the main aim of most of the Brexiters seems to be to stop immigration so realistically that’s not going to happen.) It would also mean her opportunities for spending time on programmes such as ERASMUS, or even having the opportunity to study for her degree in an EU country, would be at best made difficult by visa regulations, and at worst virtually impossible.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

A postcard from Egypt

 

Whilst I write this, I sit in a classroom near central Cairo along with a group of 25 mostly Egyptian students. As part of a Model United Nations conference, they are discussing terrorism in Central and Western Africa. They do so not in their native Arabic, but in English – and across the corridor, there is a similar discussion being conducted in French. They have researched the countries they are representating, they are speaking confidently and knowledgeably about the topic, and they show more respect for each other in their debating skills than many of their adult counterparts. Their ages range from 12 to 18.

Many people here are finding the UK’s decision on Sharm el-Sheikh airport a difficult one to follow. They understand the need to protect the UK’s citizens, but are confused by a need to protect their own. Egypt’s economy depends on tourism to a massive extent – from sun seekers in Sharm and Hurghada, to historical voyages to Luxor, Aswan and Cairo itself. The country also has a young population, with an average age of 25, and youth unemployment as high as 1 in 3.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: Scottish reshuffle and the independence referendum

In amongst the fall-out from the reshuffle last week at Number 10, another reshuffle was somewhat lost in the news. In Scotland, Alex Salmond decided it was time to change things around a bit in Bute House – though unlike David Cameron, it was more a case of rearranging the deckchairs than bringing in new furniture.

The only departure of note was Bruce Cameron, along with two junior ministers, and in all those cases it was for genuine personal reasons. However, the big change was the move of Nicola

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 30 Comments

Opinion: A Scottish candidate’s view

Days have now passed since the last result for the Scottish Parliament was declared. At least that provided a bit of happy news; my local colleague and former Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie was elected as the last MSP from the Mid Scotland and Fife regional list. But frankly, what went on in the 18 hours prior to that was not much short of a horror show – I never thought that “Losing Deposits” would ring true again.

Normally, after a drubbing like that, attention turns to the campaign itself and where it all went wrong. This time, though, there’s no real …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Tagged , , , , and | 23 Comments
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