To set out my stall at the beginning, I have always been the “pro-est” of pro-Europeans. I feel it with every fibre of my being. I have never been worried if being in Europe cost a bit of money. We are all in Europe together, we should try our best to get on together, help one another and stand together and the richer nations should be prepared to contribute to the poorer. I have lived and worked in France and Germany. I studied French and German at University, and have also at different times studied Russian, Spanish, Italian and Welsh. I love travelling to Europe and feel very much at home there. We have often said if we were ever to buy a holiday home it would be on the shores of Lake Constance.
I hoped the Remain camp would win, but I wasn’t confident, being very aware that the British people have been lied to about Europe by the media for the past 20 years. Anything bad was reported, good things taken for granted, many, many lies were told. I was afraid that had seeped into people. People often looked at me as if I were odd if the question of Europe came up and I explained I was as Pro-Europe as it is possible to be. At first I just thought about Remain in terms of what I felt, but as the campaign went on I began to think, with my accountant’s brain, more and more about the economic realities we would face. As referendum day approached I became more and more pessimistic about the economic outcome of a Leave win. I think I was more pessimistic than any commentator I read, but then, as my family know, I have a pessimistic turn of mind. I say it comes from a lifetime of supporting Somerset and Torquay United!!
I was completely devastated by the result, right to the core of my being, and that just from an emotional perspective. And now, several days on I still feel the same. I, who was so pessimistic, have grossly underestimated the financial cost. I was sure that any trade deals we may be able to negotiate would be poor, and linked to the cast-iron rule that freedom of movement must be maintained. I neglected to take into account that Europeans might simply stop buying British goods, but a message from an excellent small cycle clothing firm on Friday that they were getting emails from Europe saying they would no longer be buying their goods woke me up. This is going on up and down the country. Thousands and thousands of hard working people will see their firms disappear, and thousands if not millions will lose their jobs. More money for the NHS? There won’t be enough money to maintain it at the current level. The recession of 2008 will be as nothing compared to what we now face, and we will be on our own, with an already very weak set of government finances.
And what about the prospects for our children? Their futures have been wrecked by stupid thoughtlessness. What jobs will they be able to get? No decent ones I fear. How could anyone have believed the lies of Boris and Farage? A couple of days ago I suddenly remembered my surprise a few years ago at learning that in the 1930’s Argentina was the 5th richest country in the world, but financial mismanagement and political ineptitude soon changed that. I fear we are going the same way. The political leadership has shown itself woeful. The Prime minister, who brought all this about by promising a referendum as a sop to potential UKIP voters to ensure his election last year, has sacrificed the future of the country for his short-term political gain, and is now resigning. The opposition, who should be stepping in have decided to behave like little children and stage a coup. The leaders of Brexit are reneging on all their promises or hiding. Boris knows he has won the most Pyrrhic of all Pyrrhic victories, even if most of his followers don’t. In a time of crisis having headless chickens in charge is not going to help. I won’t even go into the total abject failure of successive governments over many years to improve the lot of so many people that they voted leave.
This is before we even think about the fact that the racists in our country now feel that they are in the majority. I feel sick to think of the racist attacks and verbal abuse carried out up and down the country, and reported on by our fellow Europeans. How did we let this happen? How can we put this right?
This is not a time to shrug shoulders and say it was democratic. It was not. Many people only voted Leave because of the lies they were told and foolishly believed. This is not a little blip. It is something is destroying the future of the country. I can only envisage one possible way to mitigate this disaster, and salvage something, such as only a small recession rather than the worst we have ever experienced in Britain and that is to have a second referendum and vote Remain. Only then will I feel able to hold my head up again and not feel deeply, deeply ashamed to be British. Only then might the gloom of my mood lift.