Democracy and Plato's Cave

January 03 2021

On New Years Day, Paul Taylor a comedian based in Paris posted a video about a letter to his infant daughter to read when she is 18.

It was incredibly sad and genuinely moving. It encapsulated what I think alot of us who are older and live in Europe or want to live in Europe feel. It also I think captured everything that we are genuinely sad and somewhat angry about.

I grew up in the UK where we were already part of the EEC. People could go and spend time there with very little paperwork. I did a weeks work experience in Germany for a week in June 1997 before I went to uni. I could have studied elsewhere as part of Erasmus if I wanted. My cousins had traveled and had done exchanges in school with other students in Germany. At our secondary school we had a similar scheme.

My friends children all participated in exchanges for 6 months with 3 separate french families and have lasting friendships with those exchanges and their families. Their lives have been richer for it.

People have met the love of their lives because the partners they met had the right to easily live there. My husband is Australian, but he had the right to abode in the UK. When he needed to renew it, we couldn't travel as I was scared the UK wouldn't let him back in. We wanted to live together in Europe and now we have what he faced before. Paperwork and points systems.

I'd like to take part in the Next Generation initiative that is the followup to Horizon 2020. We will have citizenship hoops to go through. Stuff is more complex and difficult.

What makes me sadder though? It goes back to Plato's cave allegory. Being Scottish, I still had the illusion that Britain had become a more cultured, equal society. Those ideals and the idea that most of the population of the UK shared that were my shadow puppets. I'm free of those shackles now. I'm fully outside the cave and my reality is painful with the sun shining overhead. I voted NO in 2014 as I was under the illusion that the UK would never actually vote to leave the EU. 2016 broke those chains and shoved my through the cave opening. The light was painful as I started to comprehend the full shadow puppet show of the mainstream anglocentric media. As I started to realize that UK Labour did not have our best interests at heart.

As I stumbled about the metaphorical light hurting my eyes, I started to realize just how politically unsophisticated UK Democracy is. It's been frightenly easy for our politics and media to play to the tune of populism. We are so much more small minded than I realized. I want to be European and work with others to make live better for other humans, for our environment. Over the past 4 years I have seen just how damaging decisions made in London are to the whole of the UK. I am scared for Democracy in Scotland. It's time for the Scots to free themselves from the cave show of Westminster. Stand in the light Holyrood, as part of the EU.