What were you doing five years ago today?
If you’re anything like me, you would have just been toodling around, getting on with things, and being blissfully ignorant of the tsunami about to change our lives forever and not for good.
In 2016, this would have been the eve of the referendum on whether UK stayed in the European Union or left it. As I remember it, at the time there wasn’t too much panic, because most of us were certain the vote would be to remain.
Who would be daft enough to come out of the European Union over a question being asked by Tory PM David Cameron in a bid to neuter the Eurosceptics that were a thorn in his party’s side?
Deluded by some sense of exceptionalism
Unfortunately, it turns out there were enough people so gullible as to fall for the spin and untruths trumpeted by the Brexiteers, built on barely disguised xenophobia.
Do you remember the press conference with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – cheerleaders of the Leave lunacy – on the day of the result? They had a look of disbelief about them, like dogs who had been chasing a car and actually caught it.
I still remember hearing the words: “The UK has voted to leave the European Union” on the news and not believing it.
Then came the sickening realisation that people had actually backed this act of madness. They had chosen to turn their back on Europe and become narrow Little Englander navel-gazers instead, deluded by some sense of exceptionalism.
It was a brutal two fingers up to not only our neighbours and allies, but to all the people from the EU who had chosen to make this country their home, to add their skills, talent and culture to ours.
Then came the sense of rage that Scotland voted to stay in, but was being dragged out kicking and screaming against its will.
Overnight, I had gone from being a citizen of 28 countries to being a citizen of one – and not even one I want to belong to.
We cannot turn back time
I came pretty close to re-enacting the final scenes of Planet Of The Apes when Charlton Heston finds the Statue Of Liberty sticking out the desert: “You finally, really did it – you maniacs! Damn you all to hell!”
Instead I played The Proclaimers’ Scotland’s Story on repeat, lamenting this appalling fate.
Who knew our European friends and neighbours were actually playing a vital role in keeping our economy going?
So, here we are five long years on and the harsh reality of this self-inflicted chaos is still sinking in.
We have shortages of key workers – because who knew our European friends and neighbours were actually playing a vital role in keeping our economy going?
Vital industries, not least fishing, are being devastated, exports in other areas in freefall, peace Northern Ireland is on thin ice.
We cannot turn back time to undo this harm. But at least in Scotland we can bide our time until we decide for ourselves to fix this damage and become European Union members again.
Scott Begbie is entertainment editor for The Press & Journal and Evening Express