Adam voted Leave in 2016. He has changed his mind after noticing that Brexit had normalised racism in our society. He is a Remainer Now.

First published in December 2019.

2016 was an exciting point in time. A referendum to leave or remain in the European Union. Before moving on, we must remember that the vote was that simple. In or out. No way of dictating which sort of Leave people could vote for. For this, I blame a man who I actually quite admired during his premiership.

Of course, I refer to David Cameron.

So, the arguments for Leave. Well, there were many and there still are.

• A small district in Belgium holding up huge trade deals for political gain;

• The UK voting (sensibly in my opinion) for austerity while other major European powers voting for socialism – meaning we shoulder our burden and that of another who is not so sensible through our pain and cuts;

• The lack of a European wide social welfare system that means all things again are not even;

• Greece democratically voting (unwisely in my opinion) for anti-austerity parliament but being forced into austerity;

• And so on...

However, I did have the foresight to know that there would be very little in a referendum between Remain and Leave. This actually gave me courage in the conviction of voting Leave. I figured in a 50.1 vs 49.9 Leave win (52/48 is still within this margin) that we would not cut all ties with the EU in a no-deal Brexit. That would be insane. Instead, we would take a Norwegian+ option and gradually slide out if this was going well or slide back if it did not. After all, can you imagine Cameron and Osbourne devolving more powers to the EU and putting us in the Euro with a similar margin for Remain? No way!

Fast forward to September 2019 and we have a right-wing nut job leading the country and the only opposition is a left-wing nut job. We have had three years of what was first a fairly extreme Brexit under May to a complete mess under Johnson.

Why was I wrong to vote for Brexit? Well, the biggest thing is how it has normalised the racist undertones in our society. This is devastating. I believe Theresa May, in trying to reach a compromise, went too far. She deduced that the majority of people who voted for Brexit had immigration as a top priority.

The problem? A majority of a (slim) majority is not a majority. If one in 35 people who voted Leave would rather Remain if it meant leaving the customs union, then the result is reversed. Instead we are pandering to the extremists in the country. Then, not letting us have a second referendum to decide if the form of Brexit we land on is preferable to Remain. I am guessing it is no longer preferable. Especially as we are now looking to leave at all costs “no ifs, no buts.”

The problems with the EU may remain. But the way out leads us away from a liberal nation that we have become. We have proven over the last three years that we will create far bigger problems out of the EU than we have ever had in it. We spend more to leave than to remain through £2b Brexit planning. Run on Sterling. Drop in credit rating. Loss of closest geographical trading partners.

We need a People’s Vote and we need to move on.

I want my liberal central country back.🔷

By Adam Russell.

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter post and turned into the above article on 21 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 tweet writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Pixabay.)