Jo Cox, Brexit & Haters – Oh My!

This is an unusual post, but then it has been an unusual week.  They say that a week is a long time in politics but recently event hours have been a long time in Politics.   I haven’t been able to write much due partly to illness, work and also the various but related events I will write about below.

As most people will know, the U.K. was shocked just over a week ago but the tragic murder of a young, talented, kind and selfless MP.  It was a terrible event and as always seems to be the case, couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

I’d been unhappy with the increasingly hostile tone in British public life in the last few weeks.  You may have heard there was a referendum happening and as a very low-profile Brexiter, I saw nothing but increasingly hateful, irrational posts as the big voting day.

I wrote the following on my Facebook page the day Jo Cox was murdered

I’ve never been one for thinking politicians, even from the parties I don’t vote for, are selfish or horrible people. They all go into politics to help people and do what they think is best. I’ve known enough to know they are decent people who have friends and interests across party lines.

Politics in the UK doesn’t pay that much, even the rich ones could likely make more money working in different areas.  An MP even today makes only £74K which yes is around 3 times the average UK salary but its hardly a fortune.  Even the Prime Minister makes only around £142K ($200K) which again is much better than I am on but hardly much for leading one of the most prosperous and important nations on Earth.  Many many people in the private sector earn more as do countless EU bureaucrats.

We all have access to our politicians.  We can all go into Parliament, meet our MPs without any barriers or checks.  It’s really precious that we live in a country where we don’t go round killing each other, hating each other. Having such easy access to our MPs and even Prime Minister is not something many other peoples have.
Even in my two years of tours, I have chatted to all sort of politicians around Westminster so whether it is the PM or the Beast of Bolsover, Corbyn or Boris, they aren’t bad people. In fact every one I’ve met has been nice on a personal level.

It would be really nice if we all remember this and perhaps even the media take their default view of everyone lying or cheating or simply hating them as they aren’t in their party. We should respect them more, sometimes they should respect us more too.

If someone as unknown as Jo Cox could do so much not just for her constituents but for people around the world then maybe we should remember that the 600+ others are likely doing the same.

It might be nice to hear these good things from time to time in the news and not wait for them to die. Not to treat them as little more than scum as we as individuals didn’t vote for them.

It might not be for your or my favourite cause but they are doing their best to help and serve as we voted them to do.

Thankfully despite what Sarah Palin said, not a single person in the U.K. though carrying guns was the answer, in fact the armed murderer was arrested without being shot.

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I was once more glad I live in the U.K when campaigning on the referendum was cancelled for a number of days.  It showed what a thoroughly decent country we live in when without exception, all the opposing politicians voiced their love of Jo and mortal enemies Jeremy Corbyn and the Prime Minister stood together to offer condolences and pay respect.  One of the finest articles I read was by one of Jo’s opponents, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/16/my-fearless-friend-jo-cox-a-five-foot-bundle-of-yorkshire-grit/

The murder of Jo affected me a great deal as I believe it did many people.  She was very big on tackling extremism on both sides of the debate.  To me though perhaps the very most extreme people were on the Brexit side, the overall level of hatred was clearly much greater on the Remain side.

Some high-flying figures on the Brexit campaign were heavily weighing on the charged issue of immigration though in reality most of the debate wasn’t about that at all.  In fact, not one person I know who voted leave had immigration has a major issue.

On the Remain side, they hyped up what was to become known as ‘Project Fear’.  Every possible disaster and many impossible events were promised if we left the EU.  Financial melt-down, the collapse of Europe and Western Civilisation, even World War 3.   It was also hypocritical, our little country that apparently was so irrelevant that it would be ignored and slighted not just by Europe but by our Allies was also so overwhelmingly powerful that just by exercising our democratic option, I could bring about WW3.

Perhaps if the EU had offered just a little bit of reform that the Prime Minister initially hoped for as did many Remainers then we might have stayed.  The more and more rich American corporations (oh yes, I think it is perfectly valid for New York bankers to try and maintain the status quo, NOT), President Obama and various EU officials threatened us with disaster, the more that I and 52% of the country decided that we were more and more determined to do what we wanted to do.

At first, the threat of Brexit was seen as a farce.  No-one, not even most Brexiters thought it would happen.  I certainly didn’t, the British people are normally far too conservative to do anything revolutionary.  That coupled with the entire resources of the British State, EU, and banks, millionaires and others with vested interested made me convinced that generally the people would want to leave but be too timid to do so’.

I’m not sure why everyone though Remain would so easily in.  In the world of Social Media, everyone seemed to be making fun of the vote, but as the vote drew near, they began to realise that they were in a fight and then things turned nasty.  People who wanted to vote to leave were insulted in many ways.  Stupid, idiotic, moronic, narrow-minded, racist, bigoted, inward looking, xenophobic… the list goes on.

Yet in the real world, I knew only one person who wanted to stay in and even they were doing so with some reservation.  I only knew people who were thoroughly for leaving.  Old people, young people.  Rich people, poor people.  White born British and ethnic minorities.

I had said for years that the trendy elite of society wasn’t in touch with the real world.  The Westminster bubble it is sometimes said to be called, but it includes much of the Media including the BBC and a large amount of the trendy latte drinking crowds of London and many other cities.  Maybe it is because I am very happy to mix with a wide circle of society?  Maybe it is because I am unusually selfless or am just interested in politics but what politicians of all sides were saying, didn’t match up with my ideas or many people I met but you’d never know that from the establishment.  As Bryony Gordon wrote in the Daily Telegraph, cocooning yourself with a like-minded group of friends on Twitter just means you remain ignorant of the larger world and sooner or later you will get a shock…. which I guess is now for many.

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The Referendum vote was a difficult choice but thankfully we Iive in a democracy where we were given the option to vote. Out of a ranking of 1-10 I would rate staying in an EU of the 1970-80’s variety (where it is solely a trade related body) 10, going Independent at 8, staying in the existing EU as 6 and continuing in the EU as it is set to go as a 2. I took the best option on offer and three days in despite the foreseeable bad things that have happened and the fear mongering prophecies that didn’t, I’m very happy with my decision and I look forward to the future with several hurdles and setbacks to be overcome and the even greater undoubted opportunities that will appear. I see those who attack us as immature sore losers, arrogant and the truly ignorant ones. Nothing stops a new Pro-EU party to appear but of course few would willingly join the EU from scratch in this country today. It was always about making the best of a bad situation.

I voted out but I’m not a gloater, and I knew there were down sides to each possibility. I kept quiet when I was unhappy about the EU, and I’ll keep quiet now I’m happy now too! As before the vote, the only vitriol seems to be from Remainers. Not sure in or out makes much difference ro the average Joe. It’s up to us to elect better politicians and create a nicer society ourselves whether we are ruled from Brussels or Westminster.

As I said many times last week when poor Jo Cox was murdered. I really respect both sides and don’t think there is a 100% right or wrong answer. I don’t blame anyone for voting in or out. It’s complicated, and everyone has there own situation. I’m married to an East European, studied Islam and Middle-East for four years and have my own business … all things that supposedly should make me vote in according to government propaganda, but it’s definitely not even close for me. We should all be able to disagree and not insult or belittle those of opposing views. (not saying you have, but that’s the general feeling I have from the Remain PR machine). We got given the choice; the Leave Vote is just as valid a conclusion to come to as Remain.

I’ve written before how the EU has cost me money in my business. And as a Sole Trader, any money lost is effectively from my salary. No other major (possibly any) EU nation has a business/tax status equivalent to a Sole Trader, as such I have been charged German VAT rates on business between myself in the UK and customers in the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, Singapore and most likely other places which I have been unable to get refunded… as I don’t have a VAT number. As a very very, small business owner who does every aspect of my business from advertising, inquiries, invoices, products, accounts and taxes… the EU definitely costs me money.

Even more so, without exception, every single tourist and Airbnb guest from the EU has said to me that they wish their country could leave the EU.  Many of them were jealous of our opportunity to vote.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 18.44.15I’ve seen such vitriol recently from people unwilling to accept that my years of thought about the vote resulted in a different but valid conclusion to what they reached. People even asking me to unfriend them! And Leavers are meant to be the small minded ones. I’ve never ever criticised anyone for voting differently to me. I’ve voted for all three major political parties because as with this referendum, life is complicated and the same people don’t have all the answers, all the time so I make my mind up and except for one occasion, I’ve been on the winning side all but once since I could vote. If I can go 42 years without insulting and being offensive to those that like the EU, why can’t they go one day without doing the same to me? I voted out due to reasons of democracy and even when I spent months thinking I would be on the losing side, I was still thrilled that everyone was getting in on the process.

None of the options were ideal; no side had the virtue of all the benefits or indeed all the negatives.

I’m sorry to those whose side lost and the fact I don’t fit any of the insulting stereotypes flung my way. Perhaps more effort should be placed on addressing the problems of “those who didn’t benefit from the current system” so they can vote to rejoin in the future. I don’t see any posts like that, and we’ve had decades to get it right under both parties.

As for me, it was entirely a matter of principle and that requires the EU to change, not me. Love Europe, hate the EU.

I like all my friends, Remainers, Leavers, Green, Libdem, Labour and Conservative and though I find the treatment to me is insulting, if it were the other way round and someone asked me to drop a friend because of politics, I’d find it laughable but that is one of the nicer things said about me over the weekend.

 

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Like other Leavers, I’ve been stereotyped as being one or all of the following: Stupid and Ignorant, Racist, Xenophobic, narrow-minded little Englander and Anti-European and so I thought I’d tackle each of these briefly.

  1. Stupid and ignorant- I know intelligence isn’t the same as wisdom, but I have two degrees in politics related subject up to Masters Level.  I don’t think I’m stupid; there are certainly more ignorant people been abusing me as I kept a graceful silence before and after the vote.  I;m not ignorant, I ready 4 national newspapers of all persuasions each day, I listen to political shows on the radio as I work and blog and watch at least one political show a day on television (yes that is how I spend my lunch times when I work from home).
  2. Racist & Xenophobic – This one is really really laughable.  In the real world, I only have one white English friend.  The rest are all Greeks, Indians, Arabs, Europeans of all nationalities.   My wife is from Eastern Europe; we married before that country was in the EU.  I spent 4 years studying Islam and the Middle East… the places I most want to visit in the world are Iran, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Iraq.  The places which I have visited and loved the most are all of a similar culture.
  3. Narrow Minded Englander and anti-European – I love Europe, I love Europeans, their history, their culture. I get upset when the Eurovision songs are now in English; I want to experience their language, clothes and dancing.  Not a bad British-American hybrid.  I’ve been to almost every European country and when I say European, I don’t mean a resort in Spain or by the sea (for I have never done such typically Euro-loving things) I mean go to Bosnia, get married in Romania, live, eat and travel with Poles or Berliners… not just get served a coffee in London by a nice Slovak girl.

The reason I voted to leave was primarily about Democracy and from what I can tell, all the Leavers I have spoken to, voted to Leave for the same reason, and that is one thing that the scaremongerers on the other side didn’t even tackle because there was no winning argument for them.   The EU is thoroughly undemocratic and has what Leavers called “A Democratic Deficit” which even members of the Remain team in the government agreed with but was thought to be a price worth paying.

I believe the EU was a wonderful idea for the post-war world, and I would be 100% for it if it remained a trade-orientated body rather than a United States of Europe which is appearing through the back door without any voter in any European country being given the chance to vote on it.

Now I think it is just a drag on not just the UK but much of Europe.  We should be concentrating on the World not Europe of which in large areas is economically irrelevant in comparison to China, the USA, India and the like.  In an ideal world I’d like the UK tobe in a reformed EU, but otherwise, I fully support every other European country to follow our lead.  Why the fear from the EU that nations might leave if the UK makes a success of it?  Why not offer referendums to everyone right now?  What is so bad with nations being friendly and allied but self-governed and accountable to the people?

Even as I write this on Sunday night, the Facebook posts are continuing.  The initial hatred lessening but now we have a constant stream of people posting about apparent lies, people who voted to leave but thought it was a joke or a mistake.  Why can’t people accept Democracy?  No wonder they are having a hard time with the vote if most people voted for reasons of Democracy and did so democratically.

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Why do the young complain about the old ruining their lives despite a large majority not voting and their parents and grandparents having given their lives for this precious thing called democracy?   Why must people with a different opinion be thought of as stupid?  What is more ignorant than thinking your opinion is better than someone else’s?

If anything all the noise about having second referendums or looking for people unhappy with the result or even the way they voted is just typical of the current situation where the majority of people feel they are outside of the political system, be it British, European, American or whoever.  As Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.

Even the media continues to play up the unjust feeling of the losers.   Probably 90% of the television and radio airtime that I have heard has been of people griping about losing.  Only the U.K. could in effect have an entirely peaceful democratic revolution with no emphasis on those who supported it.

I find it really insulting, and I’m sure if I were any sort of minority group then this sort of thing would be illegal, possibly some of it is.   I’m sorry I’m a rounded person who has spent years coming to a reasonable and entirely legal and democratic decision that you might not agree with.  I’m just happy that I live in a country where I can do this and I’m happy that for once, the majority of the people have spoken up for something entirely different than all the political parties, much of the media and big business wanted.  That is real democracy.   I’d have hoped the spirit and lesson of Jo Cox would last for more than a week, well it has in my house.

Perhaps the one figure who most closely matches my approach is Lord Digby Jones. I actually love this chap. He always talks the most sense on the Daily Politics Show and is very happy to criticise and praise politicians of all political parties.. surely the sensible option and one that I certainly follow. A former Labour minister I believe, obviously an experienced businessman and knowledgeable too. I also would have voted to stay in a reformed EU but that wasn’t on offer. I look forward with enthusiasm and excitement at taking on and being part of the wider world.

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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19 Responses to Jo Cox, Brexit & Haters – Oh My!

  1. Excellent post, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it! I have been telling everyone that the EU as an economic entity would fail as far back as the early eighties! It never ceases to amaze me that the same people who (purport to, at least) understand the elegant design of Evolution and its ability to create the superior model of everything—in politics are often statists who want top-down mediocrity as their winning model. Who are happy with “They know best.” When did we decide that being best was not a worthwhile goal? And when did we become so obtuse that we cannot abide that in order to win some must lose? After all the top in any category is made up of those who have learned how to lose repeatedly, and learn from it. I believe Churchill is enjoying a cigar somewhere, and I am proud to be of solid British stock, even though many generations removed. Autonomy is another word for freedom, after all. Now if only Italy would take its testicles out of mothballs and get a referendum up and running—–Itexit!! (And coming soon to my state, Texit!) Hurrah!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank-you so much. Yes, the current day EU can never work successfully. There is not enough democracy but there is too much centralisation. it can only go two ways, fall apart or become more centralised towards an actual superstate.

      I absolutely agree. I’m sick of the “lets muddle through” attitude in life and politics. I am prepared to take risks and suffer setbacks if the end-goal is worthwhile and will eventually be better than where we are.

      I agree with you about Churchill and whilst some say this is a retreat by Britain, I actually say the opposite in that it is a brave step forward. We always lead the way and I hope in this case we will lead the way to others leaving the EU or alternatively the EU reforming so that none feel the need to. I see this whole situation as an opportunity to be more open and trade more fully with the rest of the world. No offence to much of Europe but it is an economic backwater. Britain has always been an opportunist nation, usually to make money and be successful. Whether by pioneering early state administration, exploration and trade (yes Empire too… I don’t pretend we are benign but that too was opportunistic). Even recently with the USA pivoting towards Asia and understandably too, we just had that big trade agreement with China to make our own way in the world. Just the latest example in our long history…. well until last week and our Independence Day.

      I absolutely agree with you about Italy. The 7th or 8th biggest economy in the world, Italy can absolutely go it alone instead of being almost bankrupted by centralised and undemocratic EU monetary policy. Likewise Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal. I actually don’t understand why the EU is so scared of other nations following us and having referenda? What is the problem with democracy? Is it so bad that Denmark might just want to fully rule itself but still be very friendly and allied with other European nations?

      Funnily, I was chatting to an American tourist about Texit the day after our referendum. That would be something! I think like with the UK and EU, it might help both sides. Let the EU do what it wants without Britain always complaining… let Britain do what it wants without always feeling constrained.

      Thanks for your comment and support!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Geoff Coupe says:

    Well, sorry Stephen, but I fear that Brexit is a big mistake. And while you may not be racist and xenophobic, there seem to be plenty of Brexiters who are, and who have responded enthusiastically to Farage’s dog-whistles. I see the same here in the Netherlands with Wilders and his supporters. Frankly, the continuing demonization of the “other”, whether they be foreigners, Muslims, or the EU worries me greatly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do understand that there are more extremists in the Leave camp and I think it is up to everyone, especially respectable Leavers like myself to demonstrate that such behaviour is unacceptable.

      I do agree with your about demonisation of outsiders but I would say that I think some very much more enthusiastic EU member states such as France have long had more racist elements and that such people can easily exist whether a state is in or out of the EU.

      Also nations like Hungary who were all for East Europeans being allowed to travel to the richer nations and then as soon as Syrians or other arrive on their borders, up go the steel fences. Not at all what I would expect of EU nations and very hypocritical…. I don’t blame the EU for that, more that such nations perhaps weren’t yet ready to join in the first place.

      I do think though there is a very real absence of Democracy in the EU and the feeling of ever increasing centralisation without it ever really being put to a vote by the member people until now. I honestly believe that if they keep going down that road without being more open to their people, not particularly to do with refugees, then there risks a much more violent backlash than was thankfully the case here.

      I do understand you though Geoff and if I had the chance to vote for a reformed and trade-only European organisation then I would have definitely done so but I did make what I thought was the best of a bad situation.

      Thank-you for commenting as always.

      Like

      • Geoff Coupe says:

        Agree that racism and xenophobia is a common human trait (unfortunately), and as you say, that is really irrelevant when it comes to being in or out of the EU. I don’t agree about their being a “very real absence of democracy in the EU” – I voted for my MEPs, as I hope you did. And while people may moan about the “unelected bureaucrats in Brussels”, I suspect they forget about the fact that the bureaucrats in Westminster (or The Hague) are equally unelected civil servants.

        I think there are two things going on in Western societies at the moment (both in and out of the EU). A growing divide between the haves and havenots, and an increasing sense in the latter that they are losing control over their lives, despite, or perhaps because of, our increased interconnectedness amplified by technology.

        Personally, I rather like feeling like a European. I was born a Manxman, and have acquired both British and Dutch nationality, so it’s a natural progression as far as I’m concerned. I strive to share Jo Cox’s view that “While we celebrate our diversity, … we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • I do agree with you about the divide between the haves and have-nots and I’m sure that accounts to some of the Brexit voters… It is easy to support a system if you think you are doing well from it and natural to vote for change if you feel left out.

          I do like how you can drive between mainland European countries and probably that also accounts to the slight difference in the U.K being that we aren’t quite do geographically connected.

          The only thing that really upsets me about the whole thing is that I feel those complaining now about Brexit so actively have so quickly forgotten her beliefs and legacy which just 2 weeks ago, we all deeply wanted to follow. Whilst I can see it applies between peoples and the EU, it also applies to both dudes of the referendum divide.

          Like

    • Thanks Ekaterina. I’ve had quite a bit of support on Twitter and elsewhere too. I think the whole situation is very skewered and people are being denigrated unfairly because they dared to think differently than “their betters”.

      Even Andrew Neil of the Daily Politics show tweeted this afternoon that he thought the media was obsessed with putting a negative slant on everything and that it was almost like everyone wanted Brexit to fail just because they didn’t vote for it…. which if true is of course totally crazy. I think it is true though.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dave Miller says:

    Interesting post.
    “People who wanted to vote to leave were insulted in many ways.” Alas the insults are not one-way. No-one should be insulted for how they voted but both Brexit voters and Remain voters have been insulted: for instance I have been labelled a traitor to my country and should be slowly hanged. A couple of people at work have been told that they should now f off back to their own country.
    However I have to say the apparent gloating of some who are happy with the vote hasn’t helped things. I think many Brexit voters simply do not understand the shock and horror many Remain voters feel. I actually felt a little bereft on Friday morning. Emotions are high and, perhaps, cartoons like the one you’ve included in your blog, might not help things – not that I am accusing you of gloating or that this is any excuse for abusive behaviour. Incidentally, the call for another referendum was actually initiated by a Brexit voter who didn’t think the leave vote would win so I do think the current outage expressed by some a little amusing – not that another referendum would prove much.
    “The initial hatred lessening but now we have a constant stream of people posting about apparent lies, people who voted to leave but thought it was a joke or a mistake.” – Well I do have to say that some of the claims from both camps were pretty outrageous but the one which really gets my goat is the £350m per week to be spent on the NHS. Both Gove and Farage have now said that this is not going to happen and wasn’t what they meant even though it was clearly emblazoned on the Brexit “battle-bus”. I for one am angry that this claim which was so enthusiastically promoted and, presumably, affected how some people voted, now looks cynical and bogus. This definitely does not serve democracy.
    in the end I’m sad that the referendum seems to have left us a less tolerant and united country which, irrelevant of how we voted, leaves is poorer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s very disturbing and disgusting behaviour. I’m not sure how anyone can be a traitor just by voting in a fair vote and I certainly don’t know in person any Brexit voters who would say anything like that to foreign workers or indeed people descended from recent arrivals.

      I saw that about the second referendum, what an idiot! I do sometimes think that there should be some basic intelligence test as a pre-requisite for being able to vote and indeed have children but I understand that goes beyond the basic principles of democracy 🙂

      I agree about the claims but was never one to believe we might be responsible for WW3 and I happily accept the actual fall-out from Leaving as I think I’m aware of it all… certainly nothing has happened or been rumoured to happen in the future that I hadn’t been aware of. I can see why people are just as unhappy about the NHS claims too. Maybe more focus was put on that as it was one of the few definitive figures in the campaign of either side. As it happened, I didn’t really trust either side so it had no bearing on my decision to vote. I don’t think anyone should really have believed a Conservative-dominated Leave team about pledging money for the NHS, I actually took it the way that they are weasling out of it in that that it was money that could be spent on anything else and if a small fraction of it goes on the NHS then so much the better.

      I do think the entire episode has left things worse than before. Personally though I enthusiastically supported the Leave vote and did think it was overdue, I think it was very short-sighted of the Prime Minister to promise the vote just to buy off potential UKIP voters before the last election. I think would have been better to find another solution to the EU and if it could have been reformed then I would have voted for that but the EU leaders seemed unwilling to change until the moment they realised we might just leave. So I felt sad to that day as I’m sorry I felt things had become so bad and intransigent that I felt “forced” to vote to leave.

      Thanks for commenting though and sorry for the delay in replying due to a medical emergency!

      Like

  4. Boyer Writes says:

    In a democratic world, there are gracious and ungracious winners and losers on any issue or vote. Here in the U.S, if one is a conservative, we are labeled in the same way you described as narrow-minded or racist. Probably the most bigoted comment came from our President who said the Conservatives or the Bible Belt, as some states in Southern U.S. are called, “cling to their Bibles and guns”. Many Christians I know will say, “Amen”about the Bibles even if they see no reason to carry a concealed weapon as many others do. The most important thing to us is the fact that we are able to vote in and out anything or anyone we disapprove of, just as your country has done. So many in the world have all parts of their lives dictated to them. I am sorry for all those who die standing for their causes. We may all be called on to take a stand on what we think to be right in years to come….and we better be ready to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been reading that with the apparent exception of the American President, a large majority of Americans supported Britain leaving the EU, at least before the event.

      I absolutely agree with you. The very fact that the EU is gathering all these powers and is desperate to do anything to allow referenda in other nations just shows how real Democracy is an anathema to the entire institution.

      I voted to leave entirely for reasons of democracy, sovereignty and direct representation and the ability to vote out or indeed vote in politicians. Even the relatively minor issues that I have faced with my own company involving taxes and licences was enough to make me want to leave, without even considering everything else which I did in fact consider.

      I’d rather have my own national politicians accountable to me, even if they aren’t a Party that I voted for than a distant and un-apprehensible. Apart from issues of free-trade, I genuinely can’t see what the EU offers me. Certainly minor things like having to obtain a travel visa I see almost as irrelevant.

      I’d very much like to see a United Europe one day, with the U.K. playing a leading role but only when it is at least as democratic and clearly “better” than my present country. As a historian, I’m obviously very aware of extremism and nationalism and whilst some people who have voted to leave have been labelled as Nazi-like (indeed there probably are some such people), to me I see the current EU as increasingly authoritarian, wanting to impose the same bland and usually foreign mediocrity across Europe and that’s not something I want to see at all. I want a democratic, free and prosperous Europe, culturally diverse. For the moment though, I’m happy to have gone some way of securing a more democratic U.K. I have a feeling it is what the poor men (and women) of a century ago who died would have wanted to see too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. wdfyfe says:

    Well said. Personally, I thought Britain should remain in the EU — until after the vote. Since then I have changed my mind. Aside from the predictions of utter destruction and the vicious name calling I can find no comprehensive argument that convinces me Britain leaving the EU is a mistake. I think you’re absolutely right — the governing elite have lost touch with those they govern and have decided their “vision” is the one true road to salvation and therefore any disagreement is “heresy.” Luckily, democracy works. it’s slow, it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s even painful — but it works and I think there are tons of people all over the UK who don’t view this as a crisis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank-you for your thoughtful comments. It is very refreshing to find someone who has reached the same conclusion event after the vote. I must say, I don’t recognise at all the panic and hatred on the broadcast and social media at the moment. For me and those I meet in real life, it is very much a case of life going on as always and are quietly satisfied… definitely not a crisis. The UK was always going to have to change one way or the other, even if we had stayed in, Europe was/is on the path to ever tighter union and regulation. The option of enjoying the current day situation (or as I’d have preferred the 1990’s situation) wasn’t ever going to happen.

      Like

      • wdfyfe says:

        Of course, the one thing no one seems to be considering (including me — even though I know it) is that the British are not actually European. That ditch at Dover gave them a different historical evolution that resulted in a different identity and a different attitude.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Simon Schama: ten years ago, and now | Neil's Commonplace Book

  7. very well said – I’ve saved the url to have a good read later… Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Question of the Day: For Millennials | The Secular Jurist

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