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Uncertainty over Brexit creates unease on the Scottish border

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Uncertainty over Brexit creates unease on the Scottish border
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My trip across the United Kingdom’s borders took me a few miles south of Scotland, to the English city of Carlisle, where it’s fair to say the weather was a little less welcoming than the people.

Curbing migration had been a powerful message in persuading people to vote leave. I wanted to see for myself the impact of Brexit on Britain’s migrant communities.

Polish mother of two Paulina, a shop manager, has lived in Britain for 14 years and is concerned about the future.

“I don’t know to be honest. I’m just worried,” she said. “Like everybody. If you ask anyone from the EU, everybody will give you the same answer. We pay taxes, we pay everything, so we are clear. So I hope everything will be in a good way, and the law it will be the same for every people… so fingers crossed.”

Paulina’s customer Acha, born in Scotland and raised by Polish parents, is also worried about what leaving the EU might mean for her community.

“They are worried about living here. But also, a lot have gone back home, an awful lot have gone back home," she said.

It "is good in one way — that they have gone back where their roots are. But on the other hand, I think you know they have given so much to this country as well, and they’ve got such a fantastic name, the Poles, regarding their work ethic. Their work ethic is amazing, which I am so proud of”.

It was time for me to leave Carlisle, hop on the northbound train, and head across the border.

So I made my way to Scotland, because in 2016, in the referendum, they overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU.

Sixty-two percent of the people actually voted to remain, so I was keen to go up there and talk to the Remainers and see how they feel about Brexit and where they think the country is going next.

I met 40-year- old Scottish Remainer Neil, who works in advertising and feels very disillusioned about the whole Brexit process.

“It’s not looking good, and it looks like there’s going to be an objection to every stage, that’s really frustrating for me. Because I’m at a point now where I’m not sure I really care about what the deal is going to be.

"I just want a deal, because it went on so long now. And from my point of view, it’s strangling the economy. Even in my line of work we are noticing that brands or companies don’t want to spend because everybody is trying to figure out what the future holds," he said.

Having finally arrived in Scotland, I wanted to speak to the rural communities, where uncertainty over Brexit threatens jobs and livelihoods.

Graham, who has been in farming for nearly half a century, has a pretty straightforward opinion of the people running the country in Westminster.

“I’ve heard more common sense talking to children in a nursery to be honest with you. It’s just a nonsense when you see…if you watch the program of parliament, it’s unbelievably childish the way they are behaving, all behaving.

"There’s never going to be a Brexit deal that suits everybody, that’s why the vote was reasonably close. There’s never going to be a deal that suits everybody but we’ve got to embrace now and get on with it. “

Like most people I met in the UK, Graham thinks enough time has been wasted on the negotiations.

“The threat of a no-Brexit and the threat of another two years of indecision and fighting, instead of running the country properly is going to cause more bother than it’s worth. We made the decision at the referendum, there is no need for another referendum,” he said.

My journey ended back on the border between England and Scotland — two nations with a heavy past, who have managed to bridge many of their differences.

Their common history is commemorated by man-made rock structures, called cairns. Cairns are found all along the English-Scottish border. They are a testimony to the United Kingdom.

But when it comes to Brexit, I found anything but unity. There is still a lot of uncertainty, fear and boredom about the whole divorce procedure. Whether or not these divisions can be overcome after Brexit — if Brexit happens — or if the problems here will be echoed across Europe remains to be seen.