Anthony, from Nottinghamshire, voted Leave in 2016 because of his anger over austerity and government policies. But since the referendum, things have changed and Anthony has changed his mind too. He is a Remainer Now and he wants another say.
At the time of the referendum, I was working in Local Government and had seen austerity cost the jobs of many of my friends and my own hours (and pay) reduced by 50%. I was angry and disillusioned with the Government, made even worse by having to support local politicians who upheld the beliefs of the Government.
Consequently, I believed everything I was told about how good things would be if we were to leave the EU and my vote to leave reflected this.
Before the referendum, I spoke, in person, to Robert Jenrick MP, who tried to persuade me that we were better of remaining and leaving the EU could be disastrous for this country. However, I let my emotions rule and, contrary to Robert Jenrick’s advice, I voted Leave.
It would appear that today both Robert Jenrick and myself have changed our minds and he is now of the opinion that a no deal Brexit wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen.
So, what happened to make us both change our minds?
I emailed Robert Jenrick and asked for his justification, his response adhered strictly to the party line, but he did say something very important. “The situation has changed dramatically since then (the last time we spoke)…” At least he sees that lots have changed, but the remainder of his letter could just as easily have been written by Theresa May.
Given Robert’s voting history, I guess that it is inevitable and he very rarely voted against the party. In my opinion, his, like many others, are the actions of a career politician who is more interested in protecting his position than representing the people.
However, his observation that things have changed rings true and some of these changes are my reasons for wanting to Remain. We are now aware of the lies and misinformation before the referendum, which in some instances persist today. We are aware of the cheating and breaking electoral law, which has now been admitted. We are also now aware (or at least I wasn’t at the time) of how many people were denied a vote, which could have resulted in an entirely different result.
When it comes to the lies, or misinformation based on wishful thinking, these are too many to mention. This awareness didn’t come all at once and for several months I believed I had made the right choice. It was not until the evidence became overwhelming that my opinion changed, and I am now clear in my mind, that leaving the EU would be the worst thing we could possibly do.
Unlike Robert Jenrick, my views are not in response to any political guidance, but the accumulation of evidence.
I appreciate that it is difficult for any politician to admit they were wrong, or to admit they have failed, and I greatly admire those who do. Given the changes since the referendum, politicians have the means by which they could save their reputations, and some might possibly save their careers.
By holding a confirmatory referendum, based on the facts we now know to be true, politicians can hand the final say, and responsibility, over to the public. In this way, the UK public is more likely to take ownership of and take responsibility for the outcome, but that referendum must be fair, honest and inclusive.🔷
By Anthony Watkin.
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)