When I first arrived in Edinburgh this past September, I was vaguely aware of Brexit but did not know how it would affect Britain and other countries in the world. Over the past few months, I have realized that many people are in the same boat. Though Brexit makes news headlines daily, there are many unknowns about how it will influence people’s everyday lives, like business owners who buy products from EU countries and students from the EU who have to go about the tedious process of obtaining a visa. A lot is up in the air and Brexit seems to loom over everyone like a dark cloud.
An inevitable occurrence for any significant political undertaking, Brexit has become the popular butt of everyone’s jokes. It is in the back of everyone’s mind in the United Kingdom and is both hilarious to joke about as well as incredibly concerning. The recent decision to delay the official withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU was met with increasing hostility. As a response, a petition was recently created to revoke Article 50 to allow the U.K. to stay in the EU and it has received over five million signatures so far. Many people in Britain do not support Brexit, Edinburgh included. Edinburgh was the district with the most Scottish votes against leaving the EU. The current political climate has permeated throughout the city with protests as a regular sight and informative meetings offered every now and then to address questions of concern about Brexit. Border control at the Edinburgh airport has even started to remind EU card holders to obtain a passport soon. It has been interesting to observe the prominent political issues of the U.K. firsthand. Similar to how American started to become more politically active and aware when President Trump took office, I have seen a similar trend in Britain. People are very invested in current politics and want to know what Brexit will mean for everyday life. Though the United States is not a part of the EU, Brexit will have an impact on us since the U.K. is one of our largest trading partners. Multiple withdrawal plans have been proposed, and rejected by Parliament, and now a new date looms ahead. On April 12, Theresa May will attend an emergency summit with EU leaders where she must inform the EU of the U.K.’s next move. Droves of people have gathered together in London to protest and demonstrators have continued to assemble in front of the National Archives Building at the end of North Bridge in Edinburgh. The majority of people seem to be against Brexit, though the British government is proceeding despite the lack of support from its citizens.
To be honest, I still do not fully understand Brexit, and I think many people would say the same. Brexit is as enigmatic as a magician’s show — you want to stay and watch even though you will never know how the magician does all his tricks. A lecturer recently said in one of my classes at Edinburgh that we are living history right now. In 20 or so years, students will learn about Brexit in their history classes. I, for one, am incredibly curious to know how this will play out.
Maria Marabito is a second-year student majoring in English writings track. MM883631@wcupa.edu