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Brexit From a British Voter’s Perspective

Updated on September 6, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Europe And The U.K. Intertwined

Where To Start?

On June 23, 2016, the result of an E.U. referendum held in the U.K. was that Britain should leave the European Union.

This decision has been termed Brexit and is proving to be a real can of worms.

It has caused political upheaval in Britain, divided communities, and even families in some cases, and two years on a tangled web of misinformation, poor reporting and lies has left some of the electorate puzzled, confused, angry and in some cases worried.

I live in what has been called a Brexit City. A majority of the people here who took part in this election voted to leave the E.U.

Why is complicated.

David Cameron

David Cameron was the leader of the Conservative or Tory Party when the referendum was called.

On January 23, 2013, David Cameron announced he was in favour of an E.U. referendum. It was political opportunism as the Tories were losing supporters to the United Kingdom Independence Party.

Ironically Ukip a party founded with the aim of the U.K. leaving the E.U. became the UK's biggest representation in the European Parliament in 2014. Ukip failed to win big at Westminster but was rapidly increasing its share of the vote.

Cameron went on to spend a ridiculous amount of time traipsing back and forth to Brussels trying to secure a better E.U. membership deal for the country before a referendum date was set.

In scenes reminiscent of Chamberlain with that Peace in Our Time piece of paper Mr Cameron announced he had secured what he believed was a good deal for Britain and he would now put it to the people.

Cameron and the political elite took “we the people” for granted only worrying late in the day that they could lose the vote.

A simple in or out E.U. referendum followed.

The people spoke but the majority was small.

P.M. Cameron living a privileged existence was clueless when it came to many people across the U.K. and their views on the E.U.

The result was the country would leave the E.U. but who really knew what that would involve?

David Cameron was first Brexit blood, quitting as Tory Party leader and P.M. on July 13, 2016. In July 2018 Tory Brexit Secretary David Davis quit plunging the Conservative Party into another crisis

Little wonder that people are worried.

Earlier Done Deal

Brexit

The Brexit process has proved to be difficult.

To be fair some voters simply voted to leave without considering what that meant and how it would happen.

Did they receive enough information to make and informed decision?

Political campaigning in the run up to the referendum included scaremongering and negativity from both camps. Ultimately the electorate viewed all politicians campaigning for the referendum with suspicion.

Most people knew that leaving the E.U would begin with the triggering of Article 50.

However ask many Brits what Article 50 is and they will stumble.

It took ten months for the U.K. to invoke Article 50. The Guardian has a video explaining Article 50 which carries this text:-

The only legal way for a Brexit – or for any member state to withdraw from the European Union – is by triggering an obscure and controversial clause in the Lisbon Treaty: article 50. It gives the departing country two years to negotiate the terms of its withdrawal and has never been used before.

And therein lies the rub.

Plenty of countries have joined the E.U. since Great Britain joined in 1973 but none have quit till now.

In 1975 there was a referendum in the U.K. on continued membership of the European Economic Community and the Labour Prime Minister of the time Harold Wilson secured support for the country to remain a member.

The electorate voted ‘Yes' by 67.2% to 32.8% to stay in Europe.

This time around, that is in 2016, it was a very different ball game.

The remain vote won 48.1% of the vote while leave secured 51.9%.

That tight margin and countrywide differences have resulted in discontent with some pushing for a second referendum.

The so-called People’s Vote campaign wants a referendum on any final deal achieved by British negotiators.

So What About Me?

I was against the U.K joining the E.U way back when the country signed up.

I was and remain a Eurosceptic.

When Britain wanted to join what was the Common Market as it was called French Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle fought to keep the U.K. out.

It’s ironic as we fight to leave the E.U. that 50 years or so ago we had experienced a long struggle to get the best deal for Britain and become an E.E.C. member.

I had thought that if an E.U. referendum was called I might vote to remain knowing all the member countries had become so intertwined.

In the end my view that the E.U. Is a bureaucratic monster dictated my vote.

We elect M.Ps and local councillors. We also know elect mayors and M.E.Ps which are Members of the European Parliament. The European Parliament then elects others.

It seems there are a couple of growth businesses these days, running elections and referendums and paid involvement in politics.

While those riding these various gravy trains here and there prosper “we the people” are expected to tighten our belts and suck up austerity.

Is there any wonder people are kicking back?

If Brexit will be so negatively life-changing why was a people’s referendum called?

If the U.K. is so deeply entangled in the E.U. why?

Who allowed the U.K. to lose its own independence and why?

Or are the scare stories simply more scaremongering?

Soon we will know one way or another or will we?

Politicians disrespect the will of the people I am afraid at their peril.

Although there are reports that some who voted to leave the E.U. have had a re-think could it be enough to change the result by a huge majority?

If another vote is held and the result is tight what then?

© 2018 Ethel Smith

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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks peggy and for the USA insight. The Brexit vote was always going to be divisive. But politicians were so sure they could swing a Remain vote. They should be more in tune with the people I guess

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      It is interesting how an election can totally change what is going on in a country. We have the same thing here in the U.S.

      Many people are more engaged in the upcoming mid-term election this year than ever because of the way our country is being managed by the President and the number dominant Republican party which is seeming to bow to his wishes.

      The Democrats are looking forward to the upcoming votes in November and are hoping to take over the House of Representatives and perhaps (with enough votes) the Senate. Then we will have more checks and balances which is better for democratic rule in our country. We will see what happens!

      Good luck to your country and the after effects of pulling out of the EU.

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