Why I Voted to Remain in the European Union #EURef

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill.

Like the rest of the UK, Europe and the world, I woke up to the shattering news that our nation has voted to leave the EU.

Brexit - Thomas-jefferson-on-democracy

The #Brexit campaigners and supporters are euphoric, but I feel devastated. I have never known anything different than Britain being a member of the EU, and now the political status quo has been shaken to its core by this seismic EU Referendum.

With an overwhelming majority of 1.2 million votes the ‘Leave’ campaign has yanked our nation out of the EU and onto a new independent course.  Many didn’t like the direction the more ‘federal’ EU was taking. A ‘United States of Europe’ was one anathema too far.

I love Europe. I love Europeans and European culture, but I must admit I have no affection for the bureaucracy of Brussels. For me, that was the main voting issue, one of sovereignty. But after much reasoned thought I weighed that our contributions to our stability, economic prosperity and the greater good of Europe and our position on the world stage ultimately were of greater importance.

The anti-migrant sentiment and the feverish emotions that have been stirred up by this referendum have been shocking. Not least it has had a part to play in the tragic murder of mother, human rights campaigner and Labour MP Jo Cox.

Brexit - metro_ad

This morning it feels like a shallow victory for democracy. The British people have stuck two fingers up to Brussels, but at what cost?

None of us can answer that question yet. The reverberations could be felt for years to come…

As the world’s fifth largest economy that was a huge gamble to take. The markets have opened in turmoil (as warned), David Cameron has resigned as prime minister, (another blow to stability), and now Boris Johnson and the Leave Campaign, whose rhetoric and hyperbole has seduced many, will have to steer us through the aftermath of this shocking decision.

Here is Lord Owen’s appraisal of the Leave campaign and the NHS:

I did not vote for a little England and a far right government. The thought of Nigel Farage being at the forefront of British politics makes my blood run cold. Added to that is the prospect of the overwhelmingly ‘Remain’ Scottish voters now sticking two fingers up to the United Kingdom.

Who knows how the new prime minister and cabinet from a deeply divided conservative party will treat our much cherished NHS. Will any of the issues that the Brexit supporters voted for now improve? Forgive my lack of enthusiasm for the land of milk and honey to suddenly materialise.

I think John Oliver’s satirical assessment is on the money:

Have we shot ourselves in the foot? Time will tell. I hope and pray that we have not. Boris promised to make an apology to the nation if we went into recession. How, by any stretch of the imagination is that going to make up for lost jobs and domestic turmoil? Hubris is hubris, whether in the name of British sovereignty or not.

We do not live in age of British imperialism and Empire any longer, no matter how much Boris wants to recapture those halcyon days. Now we risk becoming international pariahs.

On the other hand, we could be seen as foresighted, inspirational and courageous. History will be the judge.

Brexit - Churchill Democracy Quote

I do not know what the future holds for my children, but I do know that now this decision (that I do not agree with) has been made, we as a nation must put our differences aside and come together to work towards a brighter future. You make the decision and then you make the decision right.

The British people are stoic as much as they are rebellious. Anger has driven us to this point, but humility, hard work, political skill, tolerance and love must lead the way into the unknown.

Brexit’s motto was ‘take back control’.  With control comes responsibility. Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and make it happen.