Brexit, a human disaster

I’m sure like me, you have been watching the unfolding drama at Westminster with incredulity, anger and at times sheer confusion. We have had “meaningful votes” that are devoid of meaning, we have had a plethora of ministerial resignations, we have seen a Prime Minister hold the same vote in the House of Commons three times to try to get the result she wanted, yet she is against a second referendum on Brexit or indeed Scottish independence. It is an absolute farce and would be comical if the consequences weren’t so serious for this Country.

There is uncertainty and doubt over where this path leads but the one thing that seems certain at the moment is that if Brexit goes ahead in any of the proposed forms it will cause untold harm to EU citizens, their families and their communities. Scotland is all of us and those who have chosen to make their lives here give us the biggest compliment it is possible to give. We both want and need our EU citizens to stay, their contribution to our society is immense and it will feel like the heart has been ripped from our country if they are forced to leave.

I spoke in a debate in the Scottish Parliament recently on the “settled status” scheme for EU citizens, which is just not fit for purpose. I have been contacted by several constituents who have been affected including Nicole Penman from Kennoway who worked at Haig’s in Markinch and for our national health service. She has lived in Scotland since 1977 and she married a Scot. She said to me:

“I can’t understand why we should be on a separate database to target us for what we have to wonder. Is it that we cannot be trusted? I wonder if Theresa May is using us as a bargaining chip?”

I also talked to Annette Zimmermann, who has lived with her partner in Scotland for years and regards Fife as her home. She spoke about the toxic atmosphere that Brexit has enabled and about her feelings of stress and anxiety. She had trouble returning to Scotland from a holiday when the UK Border staff apparently didn’t know about the settled status scheme.

Dr Petra McLay, is a German national who has dedicated her working life in this country to educating our children. In spite of this, her ability to apply for UK citizenship does not depend on her contributions to this country over the past 15 years, instead it comes at the cost of £1,300.

My message to EU citizens resident in Scotland is “Stay strong, we are with you and will do everything we can to help you to stay.”