What does it mean to be Scottish? Since Brexit, people here at the northernmost end of the island of Great Britain have been asking this question with renewed vigour. Now, with the Scottish Parliament election approaching, many Scots see their future outside of the United Kingdom. So how do ordinary Scottish citizens see their homeland?
On her journey through Scotland, journalist Diana Zimmermann quickly learns that it is impossible to travel through the country these days without talking about Brexit. Geography and history have brought the Scots to a breaking point. Just ask Sophie Gault, a deer-hunter whose breath-taking workplace is in the heart of the Highlands, at the foot of Ben Alder. “Being Scottish is something I’m really proud of,” says Gault, adding that taking this job was the best decision she ever made.
“Being with nature and with wildlife, it makes you appreciate Scotland even more. There’s always that sense of community. And I’m very proud of our own Scottish humour.” What does fisherman Victor Laurenson, who had hoped Brexit would bring him better fishing conditions, think of his country now?
Janey Godley, a comedian from Glasgow, brings yet another perspective: In the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, she says, the English told the Scots to vote against independence so that Scotland could stay in the EU. “It’s basically like your Mum and Dad saying – look – if you go to bed early, when you wake up, you will have a pony. And you go to bed, you sleep early, you wake up and there’s just a cushion in the shape of a cat instead, and it’s not even a good cat.”