I voted Leave because historically, every time Britain has meddled in mainland European politics, it has cost us dearly. The Hundred Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Great War, the Second World War and now the European Union. All of them left this country in a state of economic dislocation and internal strife. Our most prosperous ages — the Elizabethan and Victorian ones — were always the ones in which we left Europe to its own devices and looked elsewhere for trade and alliances. I also voted Leave because I know that the Socialist policies proposed by Corbyn would be blocked by Brussels. I voted with little hope that Leave would win and an absolute certainty that even if it did, the EU would never let us leave.
It should have been so simple. The then PM, David Cameron, could have triggered Article 50 the next day, negotiated a straight forward free trade deal, and we would have been out with minimal dislocation. But instead he resigned. His successor, Theresa May, who was and is a Remainer, could have taken the line that the referendum result was not binding (there is no precedent in British law) and used the result as a lever in renegotiating the terms of our membership. Instead, for reasons I cannot begin to comprehend, she joined forces with her European allies in an attempt to sabotage the entire project.
For the EU, the matter is a simple one. The UK is one of the largest net contributors to the Union. We put more in than most, and take less out. Even disregarding the various inaccurate figures bandied about during the referendum campaign, that is true. This has become particularly acute since the ill-advised admission of half of Eastern Europe into the EU — that should not have happened until the countries concerned got themselves sorted out. The EU can’t afford for the UK to leave — hence the vast ‘divorce bill’ payments they continue to demand.
The result of all this has been polarisation of our society and a deep and growing distrust of politics and politicians. It had involved three changes of PM, from Cameron, who only allowed the referendum to please his partys’ right wing, through May, who tried her hardest to stop us leaving but went about it the wrong way, to the Trumpesque buffoon Johnson. Now it has led the a second snap election.
All we can hope for is that an electorate sick to death of the Brexit debacle decide to vote on the more important issues of jobs, houses, education, health care and social justice. I don’t have a lot of hope.