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No, people did not “know exactly what they voted for.”


In a recent book about his time in government, former Polish Foreign Minister and Oxford-educated Radosław Sikorski admits that he did not anticipate the full and dire consequences of Brexit. Steve Bullock explains why it matters.


“Polska może być lepsza” by Radosław Sikorski.

This shows the impossibility of the idea that “everyone knew what they were voting for.” Even Radosław Sikorski, respected, EU-engaged Polish ex-Foreign Minister did not anticipate the full consequences of Brexit for the UK. Almost nobody did.

It is not a criticism of voters to say that few really knew the extent of the consequences of what they were voting for.

Lifelong EU experts did not.

Prime Ministers did not.

Journalists did not.

Companies did not.

I certainly did not.

Yes, a lot was predictable, and very predictable, but even those who accurately predicted some consequences can hardly claim to have known all of them.

Under those conditions, it is unreasonable to expect people to have “known exactly what they voted for.”

Even now, with weeks to try to agree the withdrawal agreement, the details of the agreement are still not known.

The people who claim that this obvious truth is an insult to people who voted for Brexit are the ones who, themselves, are being insulting to voters.

THEY, not the voters, are the ones who told people that there would be no bad consequences and only a huge upside. They said this with absolute certainty. They derided anyone who disagreed.

THEY, the proponents of Brexit, were the ones who guaranteed that Britain would be in a strong position, and that “they need us more than we need them.”

THEY were the ones who assured the people that they could cast aside doubts about the risks of Brexit. That it would not impact adversely on their lives and livelihoods.

THEY, the architects of all this, were the ones who told voters what they were voting for. And it was not this.

That is the real insult to people who voted for Brexit, and to everyone, including them, who will have to deal with and live through the consequences of it.🔷



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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)


(Cover: Dreamstime/Alberto Jorrin Rodriguez.)


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Immigrant, Musician, Sound Engineer, ex-negotiator for UK in EU, Brexit geek for Alyn Smith MEP (views mine, not his), anti-Brexit campaigner, CakeWatch co-host.
Brussels, Belgium, EU. Website

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