James voted Leave in 2016 as he trusted the Tories would negotiate a deal, but he has since realised Brexit has become a car crash. Directly benefiting from Freedom of Movement himself, he doesn’t want to it to stop. A Remainer Now, he wants a People’s Vote.
Firstly, and let’s be 100% clear, Brexit was never, ever about immigration for me, quite the contrary – I’d like to see our immigration policies opened up.
However, ever since an early encounter in my career at the Brussels Chambers of Commerce, I have been fearful of an ever-closer union, and who was really behind that specific aspect of EU life.
Most notably, I recall a presentation from a then-ABN Amro executive, seconded to the EU. Discussing the merits of breaking down country borders, accessing markets for big business with resources to manage increased regulation and information on competition law which ultimately creates monopolies for multinational corporations. And this was pre- the tech giants of today...
It was all very corporate and I went from being the kid with a Euro symbol in my presentation to an immediate eurosceptic. Above all, I thought it would never work in the UK, especially in England, and I was proved right in 2004 when the North East rejected John Prescott’s proposals for devolution.
That mistrust has stayed with me, and is still present despite my change of affiliation to remain now. I also now appreciate that my sentiments on this are not alone. Do we now abandon others with similar misgivings to Federalisation – or continue to work together from within?
As such, I voted to leave to maintain the status quo at that point in time in 2016 – I guess I fall into the Sovereignty/Cake-Eater camp. I have never considered myself a ‘Brexiter’. The very word makes my bum twitch: associated with xenophobia and racism – it disgusts me.
I figured the Tory party would be sensible enough to negotiate a deal that maintained our rights, our benefits and by mutual acceptance, those of our neighbours – even at a cost. Freedom of Movement is fantastic, I benefit from it directly. I sure as hell don’t want to stop it.
I assumed the immigration kerfuffle was just pre-election ‘noise’. Surely, that ugly national dialogue preceding the Referendum wouldn’t continue? I was wrong – it is probably the largest regret I have for supporting Leave – the actions of others I voted alongside is frankly shameful.
The next major oversight was Ireland. Where was that titbit of information preceding the Referendum? I saw plenty of information on the EU army and some of Daniel Hannan’s contribution was quite fresh and exciting. I rarely saw much of Nigel Farage, but even less of the Irish Border. Thanks, Cambridge Analytica – well played!
If having parents who endured the IRA threats working in London in the 80’s wasn’t enough, then the collapse of Stormont, a journalist’s death and the DUP in effective coalition ought to be the wake-up call to make me think twice.
Also, I was reluctantly coming to terms with voting Tory after years of Lib Dems support – apparently it is natural to get grotty as you get older. I like my local Tory – he is a good Parliamentarian and locally active. I sure as hell would back him rather than enable Jeremy Corbyn.
However, I cannot fathom nor rationalise how piss-poorly they have executed the decision to leave. Frankly, it is a national embarrassment, they are a joke. I will never vote for them again. I honestly believe we need to take stock and accept it is time to take a final call.
Brexit is failing. It didn’t need to be the car crash it has become. But I guess we will never know whether it could have been ultimately positive: halting direction of travel of the EU without jeopardising all the benefits our continent sees from working together.
One final point: enough dross has been written about EU bureaucracies, however the president of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, has handled the whole Brexit saga with humility, integrity and at times, some much needed humour. He has ultimately been the one clarion of social values I have grown warm to.
He is a guy I am quite happy to see involved in the politics which affect me, and I would like to think our Government could work with those like him in the European Union.
There is only one way to enable that to happen and that is voting to remain in a People’s Vote.🔷
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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. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.)