Chris Packham’s Brexit warning: Scotland ‘might be a better place to live’ than England

Chris Packham calls for support in the Big Butterfly Count

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The BBC nature presenter, 60, is a much-loved favourite of British broadcasting and will once again be on TV screens tonight in ‘Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me’. The naturalist’s new show sees him walk the River Itchen in his native Hampshire, armed with a hand-held 360-degree camera. On his journey he recalls intimate memories from his childhood, including his battle with mental health issues.

The host takes in the stunning scenery and sensory experiences as he walks North from just outside Southampton to Winchester Cathedral. 

He also reveals some of the struggles of living with Asperger’s Syndrome and contemplates mental health in a way that may help other people.

Although usually known for his softly-spoken style and gentle exploration of nature, Chris has also waded into politics in the past.

A recently resurfaced interview from 2019 shows that Chris was anti-Brexit, and even considered moving to Scotland after the referendum vote.

Speaking to Scottish newspaper, the Herald, Chris said he appreciated Scotland’s pro-EU stance, adding he was “seriously not happy” about Brexit.

“If certain things happen there might be a migration to Scotland because it might be a better place to live,” he said.

“There is every danger that I’m not going to be a happy Englishman at some point in the future.”

Chris said he would “possibly” move to Scotland, where he did live previously, noting that he did not think he would “be alone in moving.”

The UK voted to leave the EU by a majority of 52 percent in the 2016 referendum and officially left the trading bloc in January last year.

However, the presenter’s prediction of English people upping sticks to north of the border in response to Brexit is yet to materialise.

Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 62 percent, has often been characterised as having close links to Brussels.

Talk of the country’s return to the EU has increased after Nicola Sturgeon was re-elected Scottish First Minister and the SNP secured its fourth consecutive term in government after the May parliamentary elections.

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Hopes of Scotland’s accession to the EU rest on the country first holding another public vote on Scottish independence – indyref2.

Scots rejected breaking away from the rest of the UK in the 2014 referendum.

Following her victory Ms Sturgeon told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that holding a new referendum was a “a matter of when, not if.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson branded a new independence referendum in the current context of the pandemic “irresponsible and reckless.”

Ahead of the elections Ms Sturgeon said that another referendum on EU membership was “not my policy” but said she would launch talks with the EU around the time of any new vote on Scottish independence.

Analysis by the London School of Economics and City University of Hong Kong found that Scottish independence could cost the country’s economy £11billion-a-year.

A report from the institutions, published earlier this year that leaving the UK’s common market could in the long-run see the economy decrease in size by between 6.3 percent and 8.7 percent.

‘Chris Packham: The Walk That Made Me’ is on BBC Two at 8pm tonight.

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