The thoughts and experiences of those around Simon Cowley, a working class bloke in the north, who all speak openly and honestly to someone like them who does not hold grudges and understands the issues that led to their vote.
Why I changed my mind since the 2016 EU Referendum and why it is wrong to continue to support Brexit. Nothing has convinced me otherwise.
The country is divided and some of the reasons many of us who voted Leave have been laid bare: immigration, lack of respect, fear for your job and squeeze on public services.
Trust me, sovereignty was way, way down the list!
We lashed out upsetting the apple cart and gave the government a bloody nose and like many got joy at watching David Cameron lose his job.
I, and many others, spent the last few years seeing the rise in food banks and benefits squeeze on people around us. Then, listening on the six o’clock news that “We are all in it together”, it helped feed the anti-Cameron and anti-EU feeling. You do not know how many times I saw people snigger at work or make vile comments when this was said. From an Eatonian who has never struggled and whose father set up tax-avoidance schemes is incredible.
One thing I will say is that Mr Cameron had the worst catch phrase slogan in history. It even beats “strong and stable”.
Now, to the present day, I have talked to many at work and in my local area and discussed the issues that led up to this. Some are still pro-Brexit, but many now are changing their minds and this seems to be spreading.
After seeing the benefits we lose and the risks and costs of Brexit, the reality of leaving is starting to hit home and I am sure this will only increase.
What they are saying.
Some say, we lashed out but it’s gone too far. You can’t blame the EU for everything. Our governments are to blame for a lot of this.
Others say, we don’t trust our government to protect hard-won workers’ rights once we have left the EU. A lot remember that the EU gave us these rights and our government fought against them.
They also see that the country is in a mess and too much time is being wasted on this. It would be better spent on the root causes that led to Brexit.
A lot remember that the simple things that matter to everyday working people are what the EU has done for us, not the jumped up facts and figures. These benefits and protections were never mentioned in the EU referendum, only negatives.
A lot also believe that outside meddling tipped the result. I asked some of the lads who watched anti-EU Farage’s videos and asked if they knew nearly all of them had a Russia Today logo on them, they did not and were shocked by this.
When asked about sovereignty, no one really cared. Both Leavers and Remainer friends were not that bothered. I did find one comment funny though: “It is a good excuse if you feel embarrassed to say the word ‘immigration’.” The fear of being seen as racist, I guess.
The tide is turning in my area. It may be due to a lot of us who are prepared to talk to each other without any ill feeling. No comments like: “You were conned”, “You were lied to”, “You fool”, “You scum are wrong”...
Take note of the above.
Many knew what they were doing when they voted Leave. There were many different reasons and complex ones. The EU referendum was used to vent some of them, which were encouraged by some rich self-interested nationalists.
I guess that, looking back, the referendum did some good in exposing the feelings that were building up in the north and in many other working class areas. If you have got nothing and someone gives you a chance to lash out, you will. You still have nothing, but it makes you feel better.
Both parties are divided and this will continue. I see Theresa May and Philip Hammond driving the big red fun bus towards the cliff. They know it is wrong, but are unwilling to turn back due to the bullying passengers behind them.
I see Jeremy Corbyn has still not fully grasped the problem. I get he is frightened by the strong Labour Leave areas, but if he starts to educate and explains and shows what will be lost, he could change this.
Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May are the leaders of this great nation. As our political leaders they have the responsibility to put the best interest of the people before their own self-interest. So, I do ask that you do the right thing.
We have let the people jump off the cliff, but luckily we can still stop this before it is too late as we can all see this is turning into a mess and it will not end well.
Whether Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May... The first to cancel Brexit will win a landslide victory, that I am sure.
I sensed we were going to win with vote Leave. I can now sense the mood is changing. Comments from both Leave and Remain voters I talked to give a strong sense that we have had enough.
Some of the comments.
“I hold my nose to vote for any party that cancels this mess.”
“Farage, yesterday’s man, is a Russian puppet.”
“People at the top of Leave care only about themselves.”
“No one ever explained the simple stuff the EU does for us.”
“The cost of leaving is starting to outstrip the cost of staying.”
“The price of everyday things is getting dear.”
“Going on a holiday abroad has become expensive.”
“I fear for my children.”
“Both sides lied.”
These are just the thoughts of friends-workers most of which voted Leave, regret it and would now vote Remain as facts, not lies, are coming clear. They are changing their minds. That, to me, is the most common sense thing anyone can do.
If David Davis can change his mind (as he once admitted at the Exiting the EU Select Committee), why not the rest of the electorate?🔷
By Simon Cowley.
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)