Claire voted Leave in 2016. She immediately regretted her vote when she realised she had played into the hands of people who care not one jot about the UK’s best interest. A Remainer Now, she would proudly vote Remain in a second referendum.

First published in October 2019.

I believed the lies of having more money for the NHS and public funding, and wanted to see a fairer spread of wealth and skills across country, particularly in areas where industry had gone overseas.

I also wanted to put a sting in rising house/rental prices which were already becoming well out of reach and I thought that it might actually help the Eurozone, knowing high youth-unemployment in EU countries was causing fractured communities and economic issues there.

Also, rising stress levels, mental health, loneliness, fast cheap fashion and single-use plastic were also a concern and I was growing increasingly worried for the environment, the pollution and exploitation our western consumer habits were having on other countries.

With all these concerns, I thought that this vote could possibly be the catalyst that was needed to help promote real social change.

Mostly though, I felt not enough time or information was provided to make a sufficient argument for either side and when I looked to the Remain side, I felt insulted by “Project Fear” and didn’t like being told how to vote. I also voted partly out of protest at this.

My understanding from Leave was that we would remain in the single market and still retain some EU benefits – although of course it wasn’t clear which ones. However, if this is what was needed to help bring about true systemic change, then maybe this was it...

I was also under the impression from Leave that once a new deal had been negotiated we would get the chance to vote on the new deal or keep things as is, and continue to push for reform from inside the EU, so that we could better improve things for all.

Now I know my frustrations were more to do with the western capitalist system we currently live in, and I quickly regretted my vote once events unfolded and the lies spilled out, and the idea of a “Hard” Brexit came about, especially after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

I felt sick and anxious when I realised we had played into the hands of the very people who care more about their own political careers, power plays and lining their own pockets, than the people they are supposed to protect, and that anxiety still hasn’t gone away.

I certainly did not vote for this so-called “Hard Brexit” and to be stuck on this island with no access to the rest of the continent, higher purchase prices or separate visas, and advantage for bankers, the rich getting richer and the poorer staying poor…

I fear for the future of this country, the division and xenophobia it’s caused and the lack of talent and investment we are now losing to overseas, every day. But at least one positive is that we have all learnt a whole lot more facts about the situation for both sides.

I now realise that a lot of the home issues are a result of our own government not taking action and not the EU. They already had many of the powers to deal with the issues often complained about, our government just chose not to do anything about them. I also fear there are a lot of things this government is deliberately not doing, and the thought of no longer having any EU protection from that worries me.

I have always been pro-European and wish that our government and media were not so biased, and spent more time informing us of the positives of the EU instead, and what we are paying into and the good work that is being done even across the UK alone.

I believe other countries are much better educated on these facts and therefore hold a much better view of the EU than we do because of this.

I also feel that being in the EU is important for continuing peace, prosperity and collaboration of ideas, academia and science, conservation of nature and protecting the planet – and I honestly hope the UK can still continue to be a part of it somehow, and that the real reforms are done now within our own government system to finally tackle the corruption, inequality and lack of funding for public services in this country, so we can all move forward together.

Knowing what I know now, I would vote Remain with a bold and proud cross on that ballot sheet.🔷

Written by Claire.

Share this article now:

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 28 October 2019, 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.]

(Cover: Dreamstime/Dan Grytsku..)