LAST Thursday night I took a long anticipated break to Spain and flew out that evening after having campaigned to stay IN the EU. Little did I know that the UK I was leaving behind was one
that was going to be so changed upon my return.
There is no hiding my disappointment at the outcome of the referendum and this was a very depressing start to a European holiday.
Glued to the one English news channel I had, Sky News, I sat united in disbelief with so many in the UK and around the world, that our great nation had voted to leave.
For the next few days, sun and sea was replaced by Sky News and shock. I watched David Cameron resign as prime minister, the Labour Party’s internal woes escalate and the domestic and international fallout unfold. I wondered if the magnitude of what had occurred and if what it all meant had truly been understood and if this was the will of every person who had voted to leave.
During this campaign, personal and political friendships have been tested. For some, there was a sadness at finding themselves on the other side of an argument from people who had been
mentors, guides, respected for their insights and their opinions and had been instrumental in guiding and forming our own. Many feel we may have lost a lot more than our influence, input
and seat at the table. We feel that a UK at the heart of the EU could have led and influenced policy to achieve so much globally.
The will of the nation and the democratic outcome that followed needs now to be accepted but I am convinced that so many made their decision using mistruths and misrepresentation and am disappointed by the campaigns’ use of some of the propaganda, noise and personality that was drowning out the facts. The benefits of the EU had not clearly been conveyed during this campaign and indeed for the entire duration of our membership. Some will never understand the tears we “Remainers” shed when the UK voted to no longer remain.
It is now time for those of us in the Remain camp to work with the outcome. I believe in deliverance of promises and that is what an In/Out EU Referendum was – a delivered election promise.
I believe in democracy and I now must place my hope in a new prime minister. I hope he or she is able to negotiate a great deal and that we as a nation, along with those in power and opposition, work together to find the best opportunities going forward. Voters’ remorse is nothing new, but for so many to regret their votes to leave so soon, combined with the rapid unravelling of the Leave campaign’s promises and the clear lack of a plan sits uneasily with me.
Now is the time to be optimistic, constructive and united. We may have voted to leave the EU but we need to remain a United Kingdom. We need to work towards what terms of exit we can
get and then put that to the people. For this to be possible, we need a strong leader at the helm – someone whose focus will lie in getting on with delivering the will of the people, securing us the best deal and simply getting the job done well.
It is apparent already that so much that was promised may now be undeliverable. We must understand that there is a difference between the vision that our leaders may have and what is actually likely to be achievable before we take that first irrevocable step to trigger Article 50. Once they do, there is no going back, despite what many of us wish. We need honesty and pragmatism like never before.
We must now define the new United Kingdom in the world. We must work as a nation to fulfil the potential of our great country for ourselves and our future generations. We must put our personal and political differences aside and be united in what has been at the heart of our individual decisions to stay or leave, to achieve the best for our country. Brexit is bigger than any one person or group of people – it is about us all and we must all now engage politically. We should ensure that our voices enhance the debate to be a United Kingdom for today, tomorrow and the future and we should not let some dominate the conversation.
Once negotiations have taken place, I believe that the proposed deal and terms of exit must be put to the people, so ultimately we can make an informed decision about what a UK out of the
EU looks like. This is vital to ensure that we are given the sovereignty that so many voted for and the self-determination on clear and unambiguous terms to leave or take stock of our situation.
I hope now those who promised us the world can deliver it for me, my children and grandchildren’s sakes.