Hello Scottish Borderlands, Goodbye Theresa May

Theresa May: No Brexit, So I’ll Exit

Yesterday, during my trip to the Scottish Borderlands, Theresa May announced her resignation as Prime Minister of the UK in an uncharacteristically emotional address. May explained that she did “her best” to deliver Brexit, a primary focus during her short tenure, but ultimately failed. The announcement sparked a flurry of activity across the political spectrum, with the opposing Labour Party demanding a General Election to select the next Prime Minister. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, supported this request, potentially aligning her party (SNP) with Labour in the event of an election. The only problem: Labour does not support a second referendum on independence in Scotland, a key objective of Sturgeon and the SNP. Furthermore, May’s Conservative Party could avoid a General Election altogether and self-select their next leader, who would take over as Prime Minister. If this seems messy, it is, and I am not sure anyone knows what will ultimately happen at this point.

My tour guide, born and raised in Edinburgh, openly shared his opinions on Brexit and the PM. He did not approve of Theresa May’s leadership and the Conservative Party policies she championed. He shared feelings of disenfranchisement with the political system in the United Kingdom, saying that politicians have been putting party over country for far too long. He emphasized the importance of the democratic selection of leadership, invoking the American electoral system as an example.

Below you will find two photos of newspapers I picked up this morning from the local grocery store. To the left is the Scottish Daily Express, a conservative right-wing publication. To the right is The National, Scotland’s pro-independence and left-wing publication. Notice the difference in the headlines. I will continue to follow developments relating to this leadership change and what it means for the independence movement in Scotland.

Scottish Borderlands

As I mentioned, the news of May’s departure broke while I was on my way to the Scottish Borderlands, the region in Scotland just north of the English border. During the trip, I hoped to collect more information on the relationship between the two countries. Ultimately, the tour focused much more on ancient history than modern. As we crossed the border, we stopped at a stone which marked the border between the two countries. As the United Kingdom is “united,” there is absolutely no infrastructure at the border crossing besides the boulder pictured below. Controlling the many access points across the lengthy border would be one of many things the Scottish government would have to consider should it formally separate from the UK, especially if Scotland remained in the EU and the new Scotland-less UK did not.

Shortly after passing across the border into England, I visited Hadrian’s Wall, a 73-mile structure built in AD 122. It demarcated the northern boundary of the Roman Empire’s territory, known as Britannia. The wall was heavily guarded, and a number of Roman fortresses and villages dotted the countryside nearby. I visited Vindolanda, one of these fortresses that is still an active archaeological dig-site to this day. I also visited Jedburgh in rural Scotland and explored the remains of Jedburgh Abbey, a ruined 12th century building, where Alexander III married his French bride Yolande. Below are some pictures from this journey.

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