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14 December 2018

The Brexit Experience, From Somebody Who Voted Remain



2018 seems to be a year many people are hoping to forget - politically. But the real year we should be leaving behind and never speaking about ever again, is 2016, the catalyst of the following years. The year of the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and the deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Prince.

I'm not saying the deaths of these three extraordinarily talented men caused the world to turn on its axis, but, let's face it, stranger things have happened.

On June 23rd, the Brexit referendum was held. I was in France, working for a holiday company, but as a politics undergraduate, I was determined to have my say and voted by proxy. As a millennial working in Europe, obviously, I voted to remain.

The votes came in, and it was announced Britain would be leaving the EU. I won't lie, I did shed a tear. It was a 52% majority and 73% of under 25s had voted to remain.

But, I thought, maybe we'd all be proved wrong. Maybe, this is what's best for the country. Perhaps we'll look back in a couple of years time and realise the over 50s were right.

Later that day, I found out the owner of the British holiday company I was working for - a family company whose whole business was based in France - had voted to leave the EU.

And that, really, set the tone for the following two years.

There is nothing I wish I could write more, than that my mind has been changed, that the Conservatives and Theresa May have convinced the nation we are doing the right thing. Whilst I was appalled at the outcome, I wasn't somebody who dwelled on it, I wanted to be proven wrong.

Since Britain voted to leave the EU, here's what has happened:

  • There have been three elections. One when David Cameron stepped down, one general election on June 8th and one following a vote of no-confidence, two days ago.

  • Following the release of the Chequers Brexit plan, 8 cabinet ministers resigned from their positions.




  • The nation has lost the will to live.

Okay, so the bottom one might not be statistically true, but I'm willing to place my bets that if we could all never hear the word Brexit again, happiness in the country would grow by approximately 99%.

The most infuriating fact of all of this, is that a number of individuals who voted to the leave the EU have since decided they've changed their mind, after realising they'd been fed a lot of bullshit (something the remaining side are not guilt-free of either). 

Things have become so strife, in fact, that people from all sides of the argument are now just wanting to get out so we don't have to hear about it on the news. A dangerous, ridiculous argument, bearing in mind that us just "getting out" with no deal will forfeit our transition period between EU to non-EU members, our existing trade deal with the EU will cease immediately and we'll immediately be subjected to the EU's external trade tariffs. So prices will rise astronomically. Oh, and planes would be grounded because each airline would need to seek explicit permission from each EU country to enter its borders.

So, you know, despite the talk, we don't actually want to "just get on with it and leave". 

In any case, a deal has been presented. Okay, a deal which actually made several of Theresa May's cabinet ministers quit... but a deal none the less.

The deal, in my opinion, is not awful. The worst part is the lack of free travel between UK and EU citizens, but to be honest Theresa May as a leader is the best of a bad lot, and I think we can all agree Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg would probably create more of a shambles. 

So why are all of these people quitting the cabinet? It's because, what they really want, is all the perks of the EU... without actually being in the EU. And that, friends, is not how it works.

You don't get to be part of an internal free trade and free travel exchange group... if you aren't in that group. That is not how it works. If you wanted all of those benefits, do you know what we should have done? Stayed in the EU. 

The truth is, two years ago, I was willing to accept Brexit and hope for the best. 

But now, having watched the last two years unfold in nothing but a shambles, my will for a change of Government, a change of leader, and a change in Brexit, has never been stronger.

The point of this blog post is not to shove my opinion on Brexit itself down your throat. You do you.

The point of this blog post is an explanation, it's explicitly telling you why people are angry, why people are fed up, and why so many young people feel like they should be moving abroad and never coming back.

Because we've been let down.

All of us. Not just the "remainers". Every single one of us has been let down. We were let down by a leader who held the Brexit referendum and then quit. We were let down by a party who are so all-consumed with their own politics that they've forgotten they are literally there to represent the public. We were let down by two referendum sides who lead propaganda and fear-mongering and #fakenews to sway the public.

In the last two years, nothing has happened to sway my opinion of the Brexit situation. I'm waiting for the day I wake up and think "thank GOD we left the EU". But the truth is, all I'm seeing is a country where 52% voted for a past which doesn't exist anymore. A past where Europe was still reeling from the two world wars, and Britain was a super-power state. 

Britain entered the EU almost 50 years ago. In 50 years, the world has changed. Test-tube babies have been invented, the internet has been invented, yesterday Richard Branson literally sent a rocket-aeroplane to space

Europe is currently at the centre of unprecedented home-grown terrorism, no matter how many people refer to the IRA, the growth in technology partnered with segregation and political ideologies has seen an unprecedented rise in extremist behaviour.

And whose laws control the security of the UK, who has prevented even more terrorist-related activity within individual countries due to data-flow and security laws which the UK itself doesn't have in place? The EU. 

The likelihood is, we'll be leaving the EU. And I want it over just as much as the next person. But I actively encourage whoever is reading this, whatever way you vote, wherever your party allegiance lies, don't forget what has happened over the last two years. Don't forget the lies fed and the murder which occurred during the referendum. And don't forget those people, however they present themselves, will soon be 100% in control of your country. 

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