I’m an Englishman by birth and what the Scots might call a Sassanach.
However, I’ve lived in Scotland on and off since I first came to Edinburgh at the age of 18.
I came to study at the University of Edinburgh, fell in love with the city and never thought I’d leave Scotland to live anywhere else.
In reality though when friends had moved on after university, I decided to move back to England and be closer to family.
I always yearned to come back though and when my wife was offered a job in Edinburgh in 2005, we jumped at the chance.
But I noticed a difference in the place almost immediately.
The first time I lived in Scotland there was friendly banter about the different nationalities of the UK.
I never felt uncomfortable about it though or perhaps I was more naive back then!
It was only when my wife was told she should go back home shortly after we moved to Scotland that I started to notice a less tolerant society.
Historically, I get the hostility that exists between England and Scotland but my wife is Irish, so I was surprised at the reaction she got.
And over recent years, we’ve both felt less and less welcome in Scotland with the rise of nationalism and the SNP.
Having invested so many years of our lives here though, we don’t want to leave Scotland behind until we absolutely have to.
I realise there are idiots anywhere you end up but at the moment I feel an inevitability that our time here is numbered.
When the independence referendum was held in 2014, I voted no to Scotland seceding from the UK.
It was a relief when the result was no because I felt we would have to leave Scotland almost immediately if the vote had gone the other way.
I don’t see the point of destroying the 300 year old union only to have ambitions to join the EU.
During the referendum campaign, I felt quite uncomfortable even walking along the street.
There were a couple of occasions where I was verbally abused because I’m English.
Thankfully that has died down, although the SNP seem to be stoking the fires again and it concerns me for the future.
The current Scottish government are intent on centralising everything and becoming big brother.
From my own experience, they have created more bureaucracy than ever before and left services with less specialism and knowledge because of mergers.
They’re trying their best to destroy the education system and in that sector they appear to discriminate against anyone who is not Scottish.
On top of that, the named person scheme is a worrying piece of legislation that undermines parental rights.
I had hoped that the defeat of the Scottish Government in the Supreme Court would bury the scheme.
Unfortunately it seems the SNP are intent on bringing this flawed legislation in.
It all adds up to a government which I can’t support and unless they change direction, it’s another reason to leave Scotland.
There are many things I dislike about it but you can’t change it from the outside when you’re not part of the club.
I also thought by voting to stay in the EU, I’d help to stop the independence neverendums in their tracks.
It seems that the vote to leave partially played into the hands of the SNP however.
Although thank goodness at the moment the opinion polls suggest there’s no swing in the attitude towards independence.
The majority would still vote no and that’s even with the prospect of remaining in the UK but leaving the EU.
It does make me feel like a move back to England would be a safer bet than remaining in Scotland.
I Don’t Want To Leave Scotland But I Do!
We’ve put down roots here in Scotland. Both our children were born here.
Yet something doesn’t feel quite right about the place any more. It’s partly because I find the SNP quite sinister and I don’t trust them.
And I also don’t buy into the idea that going it alone is better than having the support of the rest of the UK either.
I don’t want to have to get my passport out at the English or Northern Irish borders and I don’t want my kids to be watched over by evil Queen Nicola.
I suspect if the right job came up for my wife south of the border, we’d be out of here like a shot.
Until that time, I do still enjoy living in the suburbs of Edinburgh and all of the spectacular scenery and wildlife around me.
I know that not everyone will agree with how I feel but I hope you will respect my opinion as I will respect yours.