Andrew James, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, voted Leave in the 2016 European Union membership referendum. He has now changed his mind...

First published in July 2019.

Voting is a powerful right that so many people in the world unfortunately miss out on.

I voted Leave in the EU referendum, but honestly... I regret my decision. And I am glad I am not the only one!

I originally voted Leave because of the EU red tapes and the ECJ. Everytime we have an election I can read through each party’s manifesto and decide who to vote for based on each party’s direction. Whilst with the European Union, I felt like:

1. Powers are ripped away from us. Every politician, organisation and decision should have full accountability and should be fully democratic;

2. The e-cigarettes being branded evil by the EU and then included in the “tobacco” regulations was the final straw for me;

3. I felt that it was showing the EU not looking out for us, individuals, but just a select few noisy politicians;

4. I found it hard to believe that one law can suit every single member state of the European Union.

I have now changed my mind for a few reasons...

Our government cannot lead and they have proven just that over the past year.

I voted to leave the EU... not the “E”. The Conservatives have been doing everything they could to push us away from Europe. Alienating us sometimes.

In the north of England, the only time we see nice new buildings is because of EU fundings.

We also have strict air quality targets. That is the step in the right direction thanks to the EU.

We have some amazing human rights which do not exist anywhere else in the world thanks to the EU.

Quite frankly, we need the EU at times to protect us from our own government.

I would love to see some parts of the EU being restructured, but the EU foundations should be celebrated, considering only 75 years ago we were at war.

I will probably get slated for this but I think a lot of the Leave voters were people expressing their dissatisfaction against our government, against cuts to services and against the lack of investment in local communities. And not their dissatisfaction towards the EU.

As for the Brexit negotiations, I see no good deal... What even is a good deal?!🔷

By Andrew James.

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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 18 July 2018 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)

(Cover: Dreamstime/Audrey Saracco.)