To many people (maybe most) around the world, the act of ‘Brexit’ looked liked severing off a limb to fall from a mountain to death rather than just perishing at the rock-face. It probably is true because I think there are perils either way, which is why the UK was so evenly split on whether to leave or exit.
I voted to leave, which is a move that bucked the trend of the capital and almost everyone I know who shared their voting aims with me. Why did I ‘shoot myself’ in the foot?
It’s important to remember that EU membership is not a left or right-wing thing. Although the referendum looked like a debate between factions of the Tory party, there was also the Labour Leave group and hostility to the EU has been cross-party for decades. Even Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn was anti-EU, only being pro-EU now in that he preferred reform.
There are of course racists who supported Brexit but that does not mean all Brexiteers are racist (indeed, you’ll find plenty of brown and black Leavers). UKIP gave too much focus on immigration which is but one facet of the EU debate, and instead of talking about the danger of unmanaged numbers, thereby stressing public resources and disserving both migrants and the existing population, we heard swipes at the Polish and the Turks. Anti-racists bought Brexit on either left or right-wing principles and only a few far rightists thought of it as some romantic purging of immigrants. While far-right parties elsewhere are also clamouring for exit, it is ironically EU austerity and unrestricted movement that has helped rather than killed these parties. Labour avoids the immigration debate entirely, and who does that feed?
I understand the benefits of the EU and I didn’t vote with extreme confidence (probably 51% of me!). But I don’t believe the EU would reform (Juncker said so) and I also think the EU project is going to end by the hand of other countries, so we might as well get a head start in diving through the troubles, which I believe are not long-term. Market horrors are due to uncertainty, the markets want certainty, believing only negativity from surprise. We haven’t triggered Article 50 yet and I think by the time we do and have fully exited we’ll have fixed the deals we still want to keep, so it’s like changing to a better phone network. Leavers are by and large anti-EU, not anti-Europe. In fact you get to be open to the world outside the EU too.
While the EU has some benevolent aims (at least in the formation) I’m not comfortable about the inevitability of joining the failed Euro currency, the unconfirmed idea of an EU army (you don’t need a continental army for defence, so it must only be for offence, to aim to be as powerful as the US as an aggressor, bringing terrorism to more European countries), and increasing decentralisation which effectively mutes democracy and benefits elites (who benefits from austerity and who triggered the financial collapse?)
Maybe I voted wrong but I made an informed choice that I’m sticking by. Nothing else we can do unless there’s an overturning of the referendum, but what kind of democracy do we have if we must overturn democratic decisions?
Sure,.there’s also a risk of breaking up the UK too (I don’t want that), but I’m not sure if it’s logical for Scottish independence in order to have the EU, a weaker country like that could become Greece 2. But they deserve another referendum as the terms have changed. Yet the UK is a logical construct for local landmasses, whereas the EU is not even about European countries anymore; the bigger it gets the worse it is.
Irish unity? I think Northern Ireland is too entrenched as a UK territory (though it should never have been taken) for that to happen. I don’t understand why the EU is given too much credit for the peace process.
Finally, TTIP was a bullet that the EU was certainly going to fire at the NHS. I’d rather have a few years of Tory bruising on it than a complete dismantling.
My prediction is that in a few years we’ll be okay, but Brexiteers look like the baddies today. Just have to hope I’m right.