Jane, a Northerner living in Oxford, voted Leave in 2016. As her life started to improve, she realised she had fallen for Vote Leave’s tricks. She has since decided to speak up and has become a Remainer Now who is campaigning for a People’s Vote.

First published in December 2019.

I voted Leave but I now feel lied to and conned. I deeply regret this decision. I now believe that a People’s Vote is the only sensible route with ALL the facts presented to the electorate!

Why did I vote Leave? Why do I advocate for a People’s Vote?

I am a Northerner who has been living in Oxford for the last 19 years. I am very lucky to live here notwithstanding the cost of high rents, etc.

I found myself homeless twice. Once was when my daughter was only 3 years old. We slept on my friends living room floor for 6 weeks, before Social Services felt obliged to step in and help with locating an amenable landlord. The Council would not help. I got lucky... I could see how private landlords were profiting from buying their previous social housing.

I could see how my friends from back home (Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley) were forgotten. Their towns feel like ghost towns from shop closures, underinvestment, unemployment and dare I say it but whole areas were being “ghettoised” by immigration and refugees.

These small towns became a dumping ground because of cheap rents. It was a protest vote against capitalists and the Tories.

I did not buy into the Boris bus by the way. Unfortunately, I realise I bought into the rhetoric that these problems were because of immigration rather than austerity politics and blaming the ‘other’.

I have since educated myself and feel deeply ashamed about my decision. I am also debating with other people and friends to change their minds. I fell for the oldest trick in the book: to divide people based on their differences.

Life is hopeful these days. I have returned to university and I am an undergraduate student in Sociology and Politics. My daughter is also studying A-Level Sociology and intends to do this as a degree in a couple of years time. I intend to retrain as a teacher and make right the wrongs I have been a part of.

It is interesting to note that Social Sciences, particularly Politics, has had a remarkable uptake. No coincidence.

I have noticed that those I know personally, who are still very much for Brexit, have some common threads:

refusal to look at the facts explained to them;
benefited from austerity;
benefited from asset stripping (former council houses).

There is a real sense of the “I’m alright Jack”, and no thought for inequalities and social justice.

AND, I have not felt so encouraged and passionate about Labour since the John Smith days!

I NEVER forget who I am, or where I am from. I am proud to be a Northerner. I ask the question all the time about what it is to be a Northerner: to speak out, to say it how it is, big gob and big heart. AND to say it’s “cowd out here”.

My story is only one part of many others who feel ignored and disregarded.🔷

Written by Jane.

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 10 December 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.]

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(Cover: Flickr/penjelly. - Manchester Depression. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)