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To tell you why I voted to leave

(952 Posts)
readingreadingreading Wed 04-Sep-19 18:20:47

I'm not brave enough to say this IRL and that is part of the problem.

I refuse to believe that I, or 52% of the British population are either thick or racist. I also think that such a pessimistic view of our population is leading to more divisions.

I have wanted to leave the EU since the Maastricht treaty was signed (I even sent off for a copy of it). I always said I'd campaign to leave as soon as I got the chance. I didn't campaign as it would have meant aligning with groups such as Farage which I do think are racist. But I still chose to vote leave.

I think the EU are getting too big and have always been too bureaucratic. The countries aligned to it are too varied for a common purpose to be right for everyone.

I don't know if we have an immigration problem or not. If we do we need to be able to restrict the number of nationals of other European countries moving here. If we don't we should be a lot more welcoming to people from other parts of the world, people who really need asylum. The current situation has desperate people turned away at borders and highly skilled workers having to jump through hoops for a job where they are wanted and needed.

No of course I didn't believe there would be extra money for the NHS. However I think currently we give money to the EU and we get money back whereas giving the same money directly to British needs would be a better use of it. Not to mention the savings from all the extra MPs.

I'm old enough to remember life before the EU. We managed to travel to Europe, live and work in different countries, eat food and not go to war. I'm reasonably sure we can continue to do so without them.

I don't think the EU can last much longer and I thought (wrongly) that coming out now in an orderly fashion would be better that having it all crash down around us. I'm nervous of new laws being enacted that we have no veto on and drifting into closer integration.

I hate to watch the current mess and no, this isn't what I voted for. But if we can't get out there shouldn't have been a vote and I don't think everything can be blamed on the leavers.

InglouriousBasterd Wed 04-Sep-19 18:24:13

You’re brave OP! That’s the first time I’ve seen an eloquent explanation for voting Leave. I may not agree with you but I certainly understand your POV.

WhatsMyPassword Wed 04-Sep-19 18:24:26

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Dyrne Wed 04-Sep-19 18:24:55

Before this turns into a bunfight, I have to ask - what did you honestly think was going to happen?

Aside from everything else, I voted Remain because I didn’t trust that any leaving process would be handled at all competently and would most likely cost billions of pounds and distract from everything else that needed doing. Lo and behold i’ve been proven right.

Did you honestly think that things wouldn’t Turn into a complete and utter shitshow?

Blueoasis Wed 04-Sep-19 18:27:24

I can understand your point of view.

Really, if they had been actually able to prove to me how it would benefit us and put up a good argument, I might have voted leave. The problem was they never did could, and I don't trust politicians enough to do a leap of faith into the unknown. Hence why I voted remain.

You're gonna be slaughtered though i imagine, good luck. grin

LoveThatJazz Wed 04-Sep-19 18:27:47

I agree, OP, your reasons and motivations mirror mine.

banana64 Wed 04-Sep-19 18:27:57

Well you were wrong.

NoBaggyPants Wed 04-Sep-19 18:29:33

Can you be more specific please? Lots of thoughts but little facts.

What is your objection to the Maastricht Treaty?

In what way is the EU too beaurocratic?

Did you know that EU migrants are net contributors to the UK economy?

Do you understand that the world has changed significantly in the past fifty years?

Why don't you think the EU can last much longer?

What did you vote for?

Windyone Wed 04-Sep-19 18:29:40

We managed not to go to war? 🤔

TerrorYakSores Wed 04-Sep-19 18:29:55

I voted remain, but one thing this whole mess has opened my eyes to is how very difficult it is for a country - likely any country, to extricate itself from the EU once firmly entrenched. And that's a worry.

If this shitshow gets cancelled tomorrow, I be happy, but I still think that all EU countries should start to consider a plan for getting out that minimises the amount of upheaval involved, should the need arise.

WhatsMyPassword Wed 04-Sep-19 18:31:01

@Windyone I think the OP is forgetting carpet bombing the middle east ….

Pikapikachooo Wed 04-Sep-19 18:31:51

Many intelligent and non racist people
Voted leave
Your post is interesting and as a remainder I appreciate hearing it

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 04-Sep-19 18:34:21

Oh dear op, you really thought you could compare the UK before it entered the EU to know.
You may not be racist but you are very naive.

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 04-Sep-19 18:34:33


kitk Wed 04-Sep-19 18:35:32

Thanks OP. I'm an ardent remainer and don't agree with everything you said by any stretch, but I respect you explaining your reasons calmly and eloquently- I just wish other leavers in my "real life" had done so before you

countrygirl99 Wed 04-Sep-19 18:35:34

I voted remain for 3 main reasons
1) the promises being made about Norway/ Switzerland/ EFTA madd no sense unless you were on the outside not sure about going all they in. Struck Texas same party, kids table. To leave all those trade deals didn't make sense to me.

2) In an increasingly globalised economic system nation states are becoming less important whether we like it or not and what is going to count is whether you are in a large trading block or not.

3) The Good Friday agreement - I couldn't see a way forward with current technology. Maybe Brexit will drive the technology changes needed to have a frictionless border, but we aren't there yet.

Grasspigeons Wed 04-Sep-19 18:39:33

Maastricht is the john major 'ever closer union' one isnt it? It was pretty controversial at the time as i remember.

I also agree not all people were racist. My relative felt immigration from the rest of the world was reduced as vacancies were filled by eu professionals. This relative felt the eu was a bit of a ' white block' and that immigration from commonwealth countries was far better as there was more of a link.
I voted remain. I felt it was better to reform theceu from within.

BlindAssassin1 Wed 04-Sep-19 18:39:44

I refuse to believe that I, or 52% of the British population are either thick or racist.
I agree OP, its just tedious now. People who keep trotting it out are simply flaring class divisions.

I think the EU is getting too big and have always been too bureaucratic.
This too. Its become some leviathan, that people couldn't see outside the scope of. But its also why one person I know voted remain - he just doesn't believe you can leave, it was never built up with the idea that anyone that joined could exit.

Oblomov19 Wed 04-Sep-19 18:40:23

Your 'Leave' reasons seem reasonable.

StrangeLookingParasite Wed 04-Sep-19 18:40:29

I don't know if we have an immigration problem or not. If we do we need to be able to restrict the number of nationals of other European countries moving here

Which was, is, and always will be, à matter for your own government, they just chose not to enforce their own rules.

I don't understand, you don't even know what the EU does, but you think it's bad. And now so many of us are right in the shit.

MissConductUS Wed 04-Sep-19 18:41:33

Well put OP.

As an American, I have no dog in this fight as it were, but my sympathies have been with the leavers.

I recall when the EU was the EEC and the focus was exclusively on reducing trading friction and barriers. That made a lot of sense to me, and I think the UK chose wisely to keep the GBP as its currency.

The range of issues the EU controlled seemed to keep growing and growing to the point where the loss of national sovereignty was a real concern. At some point you're either in control of your own nation or you're not.

Socksontheradiator Wed 04-Sep-19 18:41:38

I am a remainder and I appreciate your post.
Several of my family voted to leave for similar reasons, but are wishing they'd voted to remain.
Others are still as bull headed as ever.

CharityConundrum Wed 04-Sep-19 18:42:53

I read this answer to a question on Quora the other day and I thought it was a really thorough and balanced view of the arguments in favour of remaining, which made me realise that I had never seen similar (as in, supported by facts and figures with evidence and citations) for the opposing side.

I don't believe that everyone who voted to leave is thick or racist, but I do think that those who are made some pretty wild statements which seem to have fed into a feeling of general dissatisfaction which was, perhaps, misdirected at the EU. I would be interested to know how many of the fact and figures quoted by Boris and his ilk have stood up to scrutiny, but there's always confirmation bias at play, so I don't believe I'm as objective as I would like to be about the matter!

Can I ask - what was it about the Maastricht treaty that you objected to?

LatteLove Wed 04-Sep-19 18:44:02

I agree with a lot of what you say and have the same concerns about the EU but ultimately for me there were more reasons to remain. Plus I knew the gov would fuck it up.

Did you not think though that unpicking 40 years of ever closer integration was going to be very difficult if not nigh on impossible though?

Carrotcakeforbreakfast Wed 04-Sep-19 18:44:48


You're moving in the wrong circles then.wink
The 3 I know who have admitted to voting to leave are
A black headteacher.
A software developer who is married to a Lithuanian woman
And a Dr who I don't believe to he racist in the slightest and is one of the most intelligent people I know.

Admittedly there could be more who I know who haven't been vocal about their leave votes but those are the ones who spring to my mind.

Socksontheradiator Wed 04-Sep-19 18:46:27

Bloody phone. I am a remainer not a sodding remainder

CassianAndor Wed 04-Sep-19 18:48:41

Interesting to read. My experience of Leave voters is those citing immigration, first and foremost and someone who couldn’t get their child into the school they wanted.

OP, I’d be interested to hear what you thought would happen to the Irish border, before you put pen to paper.

NoCureForLove Wed 04-Sep-19 18:50:18

Very articulate OP. Very wrong.

familycourtq Wed 04-Sep-19 18:50:58

Can someone explain how they consider our own government could have realistically restricted EU immigration whilst remaining in the EU?

I am asking as I don't think they could - at least practically.

I am not asking from a racist hatred of fellow European immigrants even though some people will insist otherwise.

DecomposingComposers Wed 04-Sep-19 18:51:44

OP I agree entirely and your reasons are exactly mine. I don't see how the EU can continue as a group of separate countries. I think it has to evolve into a united states and I don't agree with it.

What I didn't bargain for was the absolute ineptitude of our MPs and them proving, quite so spectacularly, just how ill equipped they are to run our country.

colourlessgreenidea Wed 04-Sep-19 18:52:21

I don't think the EU can last much longer.

I voted ‘Remain’, but I agree with you on this point. France will likely opt to leave next, followed by The Netherlands. Germany will soon tire of being the default bail-out provider, at which point it’ll all be over.

Well done for putting forward a reasoned account of how you came to your decision. There’s so much name-calling and accusatory assumptions thrown around in relation to Brexit, so I appreciate you making the effort to state your case.

BelleSausage Wed 04-Sep-19 18:54:11

You are brave and that was well put.

BUT (and it is a big one) when you saw they way the campaign was being waged by Johnson, Give and Farage did it not give you pause to think that your reasonable argument had been hijacked by the far right hardliners and that by going Leave you were becoming part of a rallying cry for intolerance?

Almost everything about the Leave campaign was dog whistle and ignorant. There are good arguments against our membership of the EU. Maybe those who voted Remain would be less horrified if there were more people like you in the mix and fewer Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage.

You voted on the EU with principles. That is fair enough. But I’m doing so you opened up this country to far right extremists. Was it worth it?

jesuschristwtf Wed 04-Sep-19 18:55:12

Op you’re brave. A tin hat is needed though. Good luck.

BelleSausage Wed 04-Sep-19 18:55:13

Stupid phone. Sorry that post was full of errors.

TopBitchoftheWitches Wed 04-Sep-19 18:55:17

52% of the population that voted. That's all it is.

BonnesVacances Wed 04-Sep-19 18:56:19

However I think currently we give money to the EU and we get money back whereas giving the same money directly to British needs would be a better use of it.

If I thought for a second that the British government could be trusted to give the saved money to the areas that need it, I'd think you'd have a fair point. (However, I do believe in using our contribution to help other countries too so we can all prosper together. Much the same as I support overseas aid.)

we need to be able to restrict the number of nationals of other European countries moving here.

We can do that anyway, we just chose not to.

We managed to travel to Europe, live and work in different countries, eat food and not go to war. I'm reasonably sure we can continue to do so without them.

We live in a different global situation now. I don't think that argument stacks up tbh.

I'm nervous of new laws being enacted that we have no veto on and drifting into closer integration.

Why would the UK lose their veto?

TopBitchoftheWitches Wed 04-Sep-19 18:57:40

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ConfessionsOfTeenageDramaQueen Wed 04-Sep-19 18:57:41

Well put OP. I too am too scared to tell anyone in real life how I voted. That in itself should be worrying.

ThatssomebadhatHarry Wed 04-Sep-19 18:57:49

I have a colleague who is able to articulate his specific reasons for voting leave. We have had many civil and interesting conversations about it. The problem is my Facebook news feed was and is filled daily with post after post about with racist bigoted comments from people who Voted leave posting for example “piss off we are full” images and “350million to the NHS” and “fed up about these human rights these people get”. I think many others have seen this too.
There are always exceptions.

maddening Wed 04-Sep-19 19:00:10

It isn't you and 52% of the british public, it is you and 36% of the eligible to vote british public. And 34% want to stay, your slim majority is the problem, it is not an overwhelming majority by any stretch of the imagination.

thedancingbear Wed 04-Sep-19 19:00:40

I'm very much a remainer and appreciate the OP's post. The people taking sly digs are just being dicks.

We're a divided country and our politics are broken, because people are no longer willing to try to understand others' viewpoints.

Twillow Wed 04-Sep-19 19:01:28

Refreshing to read an articulate reason for voting leave. I respect your reasons, although voted remain and still feel it's the right thing to do.

Cheeseoncrumpets Wed 04-Sep-19 19:01:31

I dont think all leavers are racist, but all racists voted leave.

I live in a town that overwhelmingly to leave. For them I can assue you it WAS a race issue. I live and work with these people, day in day out and have to listen to the drivel they spout, I know for a fact that they all wanted to leave because of 'foreigners coming over here and stealing our jobs' etc. By foreigners they mean Eastern Europeans. Admitedly we do have a lot of them here, but they are doing the jobs that locals didnt want to do. They are known for working really bloody hard as well, far harder than most of the local population.

These people don't give a stuff about trade, or the Euro, or being told what to do or our sovereignty. All they care about is race. And if and when Brexit happens and all the Eastern Europeans left, they'd find another target for their racist beliefs.

bellinisurge Wed 04-Sep-19 19:02:32

Thank you , op. Please get a buffer of food in. Please tell your MP assuming you are against No Deal. That's not the same as Revoke and you can tell her/him that.That's a powerful message from a Leave voter.

hellenbackagen Wed 04-Sep-19 19:03:06

can i just point out that 1/3 maybe didnt vote not because they were too lazy to get out of bed but perhaps some at least had other reasons.

i was in hospital having a still birth for example. i think my excuse is a fairly valid one.

i would like more autonomy over our own country. im not racist thick or bigoted. i dont want a no deal but equally i dont want to be held to ransom, either by the EU or our own pig headed politicians.

honeyloops Wed 04-Sep-19 19:03:09

I think it's important to remember there are leave voters like you - but, unfortunately, coming from a very economically depressed, very white, town which overwhelmingingly voted to leave, you are not the majority, or at least not the noisy majority.

It's very easy for me to see why people have fallen into the idea that small minded racists are responsible for this, when I see them every single day, see their graffiti around my town, see their shitty uninformed union-jacks-and-winston-churchill heavy meme posts on Facebook, see people I thought were previously half decent and friends of friends and family friends and family members coming out with small town racist fuckery. And how they can't wait for us to leave with no deal and get our country back - you might know what the Maastricht treaty is, but many of these people (I would bet my house on saying) didn't know, or still don't, what effect the EU has on us day to day. They've just felt the effects of austerity and picked the nice, easy target the government put in their way for their anger, and that happens to be immigration and the EU.

So yes, people like you exist, and I'm glad - nothing as large or as pervasive as the EU should exist without scrunity and scepticism, and I wasn't 100% sure on remaining myself, but unfortunately there are scores more who are not as well informed. And their vote is just as valid as anyone else's - but it doesn't mean others can't hate the outcome, knowing it comes from a place of misinformation or xenophobia or hate.

Drabarni Wed 04-Sep-19 19:03:31

Lovely to see somebody strong in their conviction thanks I didn't vote leave, but we are all brothers and sisters.

perdigal Wed 04-Sep-19 19:03:48

I see your POV but I voted remain not because I think every element of the leave campaign was flawed but because I didn't want to rock the boat. It seemed obvious that it would be a logistical nightmare to leave. I wasn't even thinking about the deal or current chaos but clearly nothing was thought through about HOW to leave and you all have to take some responsibility for that.

Theworldisfullofgs Wed 04-Sep-19 19:04:32

I get what you are saying but I don't happen to agree with you. I think the future is a higher degree of connectedness and cooperation and with that comes compromise.

I have a few EEA leave friends and they are generally sensible with a degree of naivety. I also think the current situation was completely predictable. It was obvious that Cameron would resign and then all bets were off.

I also know a lot of rabid leave voters, who did it because they dont like foreign people and some who really regret it.
The problem for ever more is that there are multitudes of leave and the purposefully had no vision and one version of remain. It was also a vote that allowed one part of the population to take away the rights and benefits from another part of the population and future generation with nothing discernable in return. A removal without any form of compensation.

And mostly because they listened to hard to the nasty people in the nasty party and allowed that to infect the rest of the country like a virus.

Autumnintheair Wed 04-Sep-19 19:05:00

Cassian, do you think black people or those in minorities might have been impacted by the immigration that happened under Blair?
Does anyone remember pag Hall, and blunket warning of riots in streets between Pakistani Community and Lithuanians?

Again I despair.

On chanel 4 brexit, Asian man said he is doctor in NHS his family work in NHS they are immigrants and they voted for brexit.

One of the most eloquent leavers at time of the debates was black lady, a writer!

Honestly. How can people be so utterly silly!!

thedancingbear Wed 04-Sep-19 19:05:12

I dont think all leavers are racist, but all racists voted leave.

I don't think that's true. I think most of your stereotypical knuckle-draggers and ageing bigots voted leave.

I know plenty of middle-class remainer types who harbour all kinds of prejudices. They're just better at hiding it, and couching it in terms that are acceptable in their social circle.

ItIsWhatItIsInnit Wed 04-Sep-19 19:05:19

The thick and racist thing is so old and tired. My parents voted Leave and they're academics, not thick or racist.

frumpety Wed 04-Sep-19 19:06:00

52% of the UK's population didn't vote to leave the EU. The population is about 65 million, 17.4 million is not 52%. I do understand that leave got the majority of votes in the 2016 referendum, so we are where we are.
Out of interest , how do you see the UK leaving the EU, would you be happy with no deal and the negotiations taking place after that event or with some sort of plan/agreement in place prior to departure ?

MaggietheHorseThief Wed 04-Sep-19 19:06:24

I respect your position, but I also can't really understand how it wasn't obvious to you that you were voting for a nightmare.

chinateapot Wed 04-Sep-19 19:06:49

I appreciate this post
Can I ask another question
As a leave voter, what would you now like to happen?

LochJessMonster Wed 04-Sep-19 19:08:10

your slim majority is the problem but it was a majority. It’s not our fault that 12million people didn’t bother to vote. If you had won by that margin, you would have accepted it.

And I agree with a pp that a fair few other countries are watching this and putting together their own leave plans.

We will be the first but we won’t be the last.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 04-Sep-19 19:08:33

I voted remain but I did dither about it. I’m not in favour of unchecked immigration. I’m not bothered about losing our Britishness or Jonny Foreigner getting the best job or any of that sort of crap, but I worry about our country getting overcrowded, building on green belt, not being able to grow enough food for our population, that sort of thing.

The EU is a great institution, in terms of setting laws and standards that by and large benefit us all. It’s a bit of a gravy train though, it seems to waste a fair bit of money.

TeenPlusTwenties Wed 04-Sep-19 19:08:46

Well put OP.
I voted Remain, but your reasons tally with members of my family who voted Leave.

I voted Remain, because although I agree with some of your reasons, I am risk averse and would rather stay with a known status that, though it has some problems, is basically working, than take the risk of a big unknown step with some big issues that weren't clear at the time of voting.

In some ways this whole mess shows how well our democracy works. We have had 3 years of confusion, but broadly peaceful protests. No riots or mass violence. The MPs can't agree (rather like the population) and nothing has been forced through (yet).

In an ideal world I would withdraw notice to leave, work on a technical solution to the Irish border issue, when that is sorted put a full deal including that solution to the vote, or remain. But that isn't really feasible.

SonEtLumiere Wed 04-Sep-19 19:08:58

The tricky thing is OP, that you cannot go really go back to a pre-Maastricht situation.

...but one thing you are catastrophically wrong on is believing that anyone other than Leavers are to blame. You „jointly and severally“ are to blame. Yes of course the leaders are mostly at fault but you are too and the havoc you have wrought on your country is yours to

Even a mediocre opposition could have raised the cry that duplicitous leave leaders were at risk of jail time. The deserve it.

Autumnintheair Wed 04-Sep-19 19:09:03

Perdigal I read your post behind hands.

Cringing! You voted on the back of a campaign.. Rather than delving into.. What's wrong with the eu, what is big government, how does it impact our lives, who is junker, quotes, who is guy de v.

How have the eu reacted to crisis in the eu?
What's happening to eu countries?

Does the eu put people first, or eu project first?

But... You were spoon fed on a campaign... Arghh

needmorespace Wed 04-Sep-19 19:09:50

I hate to watch the current mess and no, this isn't what I voted for. But if we can't get out there shouldn't have been a vote and I don't think everything can be blamed on the leavers

Wrong, everything can be blamed on the leavers. EVERYTHING. And if it isn't what you voted for, what did you exactly vote for?
We are in Europe with opt outs and you wanted to be out with opt ins? or just out?
I very much blame leavers for the mess we are in at the moment. You jumped in to bed with the likes of Farage and Johnson. And whilst you say you are not racist, I'm prepared to bet that all racists voted leave even if all leavers aren't racists.
Anyway, the grown ups seem to be in charge at the moment, long may it continue.

Autumnintheair Wed 04-Sep-19 19:10:28

I also remember a time when it was possible and easy to live and work on the continent! Many family members did and lived there.

Hillfarmer Wed 04-Sep-19 19:11:48


RandomlyChosenName Wed 04-Sep-19 19:11:57

Very similar to my reasons OP. Which I posted (under a different name) in the Brexit topic in MN before the referendum.

I have also wanted to leave since Maastricht. We should never have joined an ‘EU’ without a referendum. 2006 was well, well overdue.

My other reason was the only reason given to vote ‘remain’ was that leaving would be difficult and have some economic consequences. I have never heard any arguments to convince me why being in the EU was a good thing and I’ve been waiting 27 years.

Juells Wed 04-Sep-19 19:12:10

I voted remain, but one thing this whole mess has opened my eyes to is how very difficult it is for a country - likely any country, to extricate itself from the EU once firmly entrenched. And that's a worry.

You could have left with your dignity intact if your politicians hadn't all acted like arrogant arses. Cake and eat it, cherry picking, keep all the advantages, easiest deal ever blah blah blah. Your tabloids constantly insulting the EU negotiators, looking down your noses at them. Red lines drawn everywhere that the EU was expected to accept and work around. Refusal to give an inch on anything that would have helped a deal be struck.

TeenPlusTwenties Wed 04-Sep-19 19:12:31

There was an interesting program on R4 yesterday blaming a brawl in a bar in Westminster for the country voting leave. Worth a listen.

Greenpeacefriendforlife Wed 04-Sep-19 19:14:00

I agree op, and additionally I voted leave because:

- I am concerned that the EU now is just too large, and growing still, and no one nation can be heard at all anymore, except for Germany and France of course.

- To trade globally, and to offer the same immigration procedure to everyone around the world guided by the industries that require labour, rather than the EU only and uncontrolled as it is currently. Something along the lines of the Australian points system would work well here. Commonwealth countries especially should be rewarded for their loyalty.

- Our country will be able to maintain a fully accountable, transparent government, rather than the regulations and rules coming from the EU commission. I would like to see power sharing across the country and not all based in London. I would like to see more direct democracy.

I adore Europe, and have lived there for decades, and additionally we have a house overseas. I want Europe to stay made up of individual nations, with their wonderful cultures, differences and variations. The idea of all this being lost to a super state troubles me deeply. Each nation and identity slowly be eroded away.

A friendly trading bloc I support whole heartedly, a political superstate that the EU commission has now become chills me to the bone.

The EU will never be able to compete fully with the US or China, and is not even able to protect its own borders or countries in any meaningful way. It can never work, and is doomed to failure in my view, that the Euro of course.

I fully respect all of those that voted remain, I would love to know in a polite way, what positive reasons they had for doing so? What are the positive reasons to remain?

thedancingbear Wed 04-Sep-19 19:14:05

I think if anyone's to blame, it's the political and social movement that has fucked over and demonised the working classes. The Brexit vote was at least part a reaction to that. It was an uninformed reaction, but what do you expect if you deliberately decimate healthcare and education and set out to break social bonds.

The number of avowed lefties who will openly sneer at 'chavs' and point out that brexit voters were from the 'lower' social classes, whilst claiming allegiance to a party that was created to better the lives of those classes, really goes through me

LeaverOnBalance Wed 04-Sep-19 19:14:11

OP, I think I'm coming from a similar place.

For those saying "what's too bureaucratic about the EU?", I actually worked on a Whitehall team drafting single market legislation. I have sat in EU working group meetings where we've "gone round the table" and every single member state - all 12 of them as it was back then - said (of some proposed piece of bureaucracy) "this is an insane proposal, it won't work." Only to have the commission chair say "but that's what we're going to do."

My experience in microcosm, at a worm's eye view, seems to have mirrored that of Tony Benn's at a much higher level - that the commission's institutions had taken on a life and direction of their own, over and above the wishes of the EU parliament and Council of Ministers.

The Commission fails Tony Benn's famous democracy questions: "Do you have power? Who gave it to you? To whom are you answerable? How do we get rid of you?"

As for the future of the EU - I think it will limp on for a surprisingly long time, but certainly the Eurozone now has a central economic instability buillt into it. Since 2016 I've deliberately been trying to step outside my Guardian reading bubble and read as wide a range of sources as possible, and I find it striking that a Marxist-leaning economist, Yanis Varoufakis, and the Telegraph's economics editor, come up with very similar accounts of the instability of the Eurozone economy, albeit from diametrically opposed political positions: that the strength of the Euro, the austerity measures placed on the southern economies and the debt repayments lead to capital flight from the south and overly strong economies in the north, with an artificially strong Euro. The EU managed to survive the 2008 crisis, but it's unclear that they have the resources to survive the next one.

Do I want a hard Brexit? No. I'd hoped Parliament would actually do its job and produce a sensible compromise deal. Whose fault is it? Well, both the ERG and the die-hard Remainers. As the Telegraph's parliamentary sketch writer (a Remainer - about half the Torygraph's staffers are Remainers) put it after the indicative votes "Yesterday Parliament voted down 6 possible routes for leaving the EU, and simultaneously voted down staying in the EU. I don't know what 66 million of us did wrong in a previous life to deserve this, but it must have been pretty bad."

MythicalBiologicalFennel Wed 04-Sep-19 19:15:06

I don't think the EU can last much longer.

I voted ‘Remain’, but I agree with you on this point. France will likely opt to leave next, followed by The Netherlands.

We keep hearing this year after year and yet... honestly it doesn't look like the idea of Brexit is catching. The UK isn't really selling it that well...

Drabarni Wed 04-Sep-19 19:15:24

Because roughly a 1/3rd of the voting population couldn't be bothered

Or knew we didn't really have a say grin and had better things to do that day. Glad I did now.

TeenPlusTwenties Wed 04-Sep-19 19:15:59

Juells But the EU haven't helped either. All the 'divorce bill' stuff having to be settled in advance of any other negotiations - there was no need for that. If people had set their mind to the Irish border from the very start the rest of it could have come later.

Dyrne Wed 04-Sep-19 19:17:10

I am absolutely gobsmacked at those who apparently are shocked and surprised that our politicians are completely ballsing this up.

What from the last 5-10 has given you the impression that our politicians aren’t A bunch of out of touch twats more concerned with increasing the size of their hedge funds and consolidating power; than the interests of the people they claim to represent?

CGTER567 Wed 04-Sep-19 19:17:16

I can understand your views, I think, even if I don't agree with them.

Unfortunately, many of the most vocal leavers are, indeed, racists and/or seem not very intelligent- which is a pity because it makes debating impossible.

BarbariansMum Wed 04-Sep-19 19:17:58

More immigrants come from outside the EU than from within it. There has never been anything stopping the government controlling this, the largest, source of immigration.

MT2017 Wed 04-Sep-19 19:17:59

You should have put a vote button on.


ItsInTheSpoon Wed 04-Sep-19 19:18:29

@readingreadingreading great post flowers

thedancingbear Wed 04-Sep-19 19:18:50

LeaveronBalance has a real insight, I think, on the day-to-day workings and culture of the EU institutions. I've had some (limited) dealings with them and it rings entirely true.

I know a couple of people who worked close to the Blair/Brown government and both were struck with the casual ease (and sometime wastefulness) with which they'd spend taxpayer money. I find this easy to believe, and I say this as a labour voter who things Blair did more good than harm.

readingreadingreading Wed 04-Sep-19 19:19:25

Wow, thank you everyone. Will try and answer some points and hopefully come back shortly.
Yes - I knew I needed a tin hat, though actually the response has been more positive than I expected.
I'm not brave, if I was I'd be saying this in real life. In fact I nod and smile when the subject comes up. But that is partly why I've posted. My friends no doubt assume I voted remain, or maybe we're all nodding and smiling. The assumption is so often that it's "others" who voted leave.
What did I want to happen? An agreement, along the lines of TMs, certainly allowing current EU citizens to remain in the country and to continue to come - but with the ability to block future immigration if required. For the record I can't see that it is required. There is certainly no shortage of jobs in my area.
I had no thoughts on the Irish backstop, it never occurred to me that it would become the issue it has and I'm sure I'm not alone. I still think, that if we had goodwill on both sides it couldn't be sorted. This country isn't used to having a land border but others are eg EU borders with Switzerland, Canada with USA where free movement for locals is straightforward.
More later - bedtime for DCs here

AmIRightOrAMeringue Wed 04-Sep-19 19:20:10

I can see some of your points. But half of immigration was from non EU countries so we already surely had a lot of control over that. I think what we're short of, is low skilled workers. Most EU migrants worked in building, care, retail and hospitality, important but low skilled and low wage jobs that british people dont want.

I agree some of your other points, I think travel etc will be ok. But comparing everything to more EU days is a bit futile imo - the world is a lot different now, there is a lot more international trade and I dont see how that can be ignored and the effects of tariffs on this have been massively downplayed. Yes there are other countries we can trade with but they are much further away and transport costs are only going to increase, and they all have different laws and standards etc. There are costs to most business of joining a marketplace to trade, yes we won't be paying to the EU to trade any more but we will be paying more tariffs etc so not sure we will be better off.

It's good to have a debate without calling names or mud slinging though

Angelil Wed 04-Sep-19 19:23:11

The notion of France and NL being among the next to leave the EU is unfounded. I lived in France until 2017 and have been in NL since then; I have not come across anyone who has not thought the whole thing is completely crazy. As others have said, Britain is not selling it well.

It is unrealistic to hark back to pre-Maastricht days. People were holidaying and living abroad back then, yes; but nowhere near as many as do now and administrative systems are simply not set up to cope with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit - especially for those already living and working in other EU countries. This could be Brits abroad or EU citizens in the UK.

What I would ask Leavers is this:

- What about the human cost? Do you even begin to understand the anxiety felt by me and others like me (Brits living in the EU or vice versa)? The feeling that we may not be allowed to stay where we are, or that we may have to go through a lot of money and paperwork in order to do so, in the same way as third-country nationals do (it's not impossible, true, but believe me when I say the authorities make it very difficult for you)? Does putting us all through this make you feel better?

- Just what concrete benefits do you expect to come your way after Britain leaves the EU (with or without a deal)? I'd be interested to know in what way(s) this complete clusterfuck is actually worth it to you.

Fresta Wed 04-Sep-19 19:23:52

OP- just wondering how you manage to remember life before the EU but be young enough to have children which need putting to at 7.30?

Fresta Wed 04-Sep-19 19:24:35

I suppose you might be a man?

Dapplegrey Wed 04-Sep-19 19:24:58

Op you’re brave. A tin hat is needed though. Good luck.
And haz mat grin

Butterymuffin Wed 04-Sep-19 19:25:37

So when people are talking about a time before being in the EU, they mean what - 1970? Before that? We're harking back to a world of 50 years ago. You just can't go back to that.

Angelil Wed 04-Sep-19 19:25:47

@Juells is completely right.

corythatwas Wed 04-Sep-19 19:25:52

While I do have sympathy, OP, there are just a couple of questions I wonder if you have considered.

If we do we need to be able to restrict the number of nationals of other European countries moving here.

But there is nothing in EU rules that prevents us from doing this. We may not be able to deny entry to EU citizens as long as we are members, but if they want to stay more than 3 months they have to have a job and prove that they can support themselves. They are not eligible for benefits until they have lived here a considerable time. (If the UK Home Office can't be arsed to keep their paperwork in order, that is not the fault of the EU- other EU countries manage it).

We managed to travel to Europe, live and work in different countries, eat food and not go to war.

You have forgotten about the Troubles? And living and working in different countries was far from easy. As I remember it, pretty well the only thing you were allowed to do without lots of bureaucracy was to be an au-pair.

Not to mention the savings from all the extra MPs.

Have you done the calculations so you can feel sure that we will not have to spend far more on employing our own people to do our own negotiating on every single issue rather than club together to do it together? What about things like Europol- how much do you think it would cost us to set up anything similar?

Zxyzoey31 Wed 04-Sep-19 19:26:00

OP all your reasons are quite sensible and identify some of the compromises that being in the EU involve but did you stop your thinking there or did you go on to consider if/how we could get better elsewhere. By that I mean did you think about how we would have to negotiate trade deals with all other countries and make compromises in each of thosedeals...a lot of those compromises are unpalatable. If we do leave that is the position there will be compromises to get trade deals and I think it is likely those compromises are not ones I want the country to make.

Greeni Wed 04-Sep-19 19:27:42

Because roughly a 1/3rd of the voting population couldn't be bothered.

I have friends and family that voted leave and remain, I found good arguments for both choices and I didn’t feel able to make such an important decision without being 100% about it, I didn’t vote but it wasn’t because I couldn’t be bothered.

GrouchoMrx Wed 04-Sep-19 19:27:55

I'm old enough to remember life before the EU. We managed to travel to Europe, live and work in different countries, eat food and not go to war.


Brefugee Wed 04-Sep-19 19:28:07

well it was a long post OP but there wasn't any real meat to the bones. The only concrete thing I got out of that was you don't agree with the Maastricht treaty.

PP mentioned the absurdity of the EU asking for the divorce bill to be settled first. Sure they want the money they are owed before - they don't trust the British government as far as they could throw it, afterwards would they get it?

The UK has always had the ability to restrict immigration from EU countries and control aspects of how that works. They chose not to - ask yourself why.

Sure the EU has its bad points. I know some leavers. None of them, not one, before the referendum gave any indication that they wanted anything but a carefully managed exit with an agreement. Most of them are now aghast at the slomo train wreck it looks like.

lljkk Wed 04-Sep-19 19:28:31

is that an apology, OP? Coz I'm not sure why you bothered to post, otherwise. Have you marched in the streets to demand that the charlatans who told you Brexit would be easy should be turfed out of political office? Why ever not?

You don't get to duck responsibility for your part in making this mess.

Juells Wed 04-Sep-19 19:30:42

If people had set their mind to the Irish border from the very start the rest of it could have come later.

It's not an Irish border. It's a British border. Both Ireland and NI would have been accepting of the arrangement agreed to by May, the DUP were allowed to shaft that.

CalmAndQuiet Wed 04-Sep-19 19:31:29

OP would you prefer to have none of the protection Europe affords us then? You do realise that many of our workers’ and human rights are in place because of Europe. Would you rather be left alone with a right wing Tory government who will do what they please to us?

Rubicon80 Wed 04-Sep-19 19:33:31

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

colourlessgreenidea Wed 04-Sep-19 19:34:20

We keep hearing this year after year and yet... honestly it doesn't look like the idea of Brexit is catching. The UK isn't really selling it that well...

I completely agree that the shambles of our attempts to leave is likely to give pause for thought to other EU nations considering a referendum, and our government’s inability to execute our departure is damning. No nation is going to be insane enough to hold a referendum until they’ve got the precedent of our experience learn from (as evidenced in the run-up to the 2017 French elections, and the downturns in ‘leave’ percentages in Nexit/Frexit polls following the UK referendum).

But I don’t believe that ultimately means that the EU will exist for all eternity, or that public opinion in those nations won’t swing back to their pre-2016 percentages in the future.

jewel1968 Wed 04-Sep-19 19:34:41

I understand your reasoning and I have friends with similar reasons for voting leave. I have friends who want a more socialist UK which they think could never happen in the EU. I have black friends who argue that there isn't really free movement for them on mainland Europe and feel many EU countries are racist. There is also some anger related to the impact on the commonwealth of EU membership which meant for them family members could no longer join them easily in the UK. I honestly do understand some reasons people have for voting leave.

BUT it was always going to be so so difficult (if not impossible) because of how interwoven we are and how interdependent all the member states have become on each other. And then there is the conundrum that is Northern Ireland......

LatteLove Wed 04-Sep-19 19:38:17

Why not just vote for the status quo then, @greeni?

Namenic Wed 04-Sep-19 19:38:49

Leave has some valid points but wasn’t the financial risk too big?

Sure we are a net contributor to EU, but with economies of scale for various food/product standards, simpler and cheaper negotiations with other countries (and with bigger clout) the balance in my mind is firmly in favour of remain.

What I do regret on my own part and on the country’s part was knowledge of the NI/Irish border which was given not much prominence. I think due to UK history of interference and causing problems in NI/ROI, there is a duty to prioritise the well-being and safety of people there.

MissConductUS Wed 04-Sep-19 19:39:29

Canada with USA where free movement for locals is straightforward.

True enough. To cross the border you just need proof of citizenship. A passport or high security driving license will do, or a government photo ID and birth certificate. Freight is just randomly spot checked for customs compliance, most is just waved through.

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