Friday, 24 June 2016


I'm sitting in the York Bar of The George Hotel in Stamford, sipping a self-indulgent and decidedly expensive £8 gin and tonic, still weighing up the consequences of the winning Leave vote in the Brexit Referendum.

I am not afraid to be unfashionable and unpopular about actually enjoying the collective decision of the nation. I am so glad I followed my gut feeling that Britain would do better if it disengaged from the EU while it still could. 'Do better?' I don't mean economically, although many opportunities will now become available. I do expect higher taxes in due course: just like the old days, in fact. There's a price to pay. But certainly, Britain can stay distinctively Britain, and move forward without EU interference, with all that means.

As a Leave voter I must however have been in a local minority, for 'my' voting area, Mid-Sussex, a tract of countryside full of city commuters, was in fact one of those areas clustered around London that firmly voted Remain. Clearly many city types feared a mass forced exodus of their work to Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan. They were looking after Number One, I suppose. A natural thing to do.

I expect things to settle down quite quickly now. At the moment the eyes of the world are on us. But soon the US elections will be the Big Story, and the troubles of Europe and its Problem Child will be eclipsed by something altogether more important.

Meanwhile it's completely comprehensible that many people in Britain, if they are not British Citizens, will suddenly feel insecure, with that sense of 'belonging' snatched away. They will probably get a right to carry on residing here, but of course may find themselves without some other rights. Others too: anyone belonging to a vulnerable minority, indigenous or alien, who was hoping for further priority legislation connected with their welfare and protection, must be feeling sick with apprehension - even though nobody has seriously suggested that they will be denied anything. How you view this depends on your present situation, and your plans for the next ten years. So I can see why some young people - maybe most of them - might feel downhearted.

One thing that irks me is that about 30% of the electorate did not vote at all. What a difference their votes might have made! Who were they? They were not very likely to have been older people, who are well-known for being keen voters. Younger people, then? It's impossible to say. But how awful it would be if the groups who feel most let down by the Referendum result were, by and large, the groups who failed to vote.


  1. I was wrong yet again. I thought fear of the unknown would motivate voters to remain in the EU rather than take "the plunge." I hope leaving proves to the right course for the future of the UK. The next few months (years) will likely be a bumpy ride for all concerned.

  2. In 1975 I voted to leave the European Union and we stayed in; this time I voted to stay in and we're leaving. Maybe I just always get it wrong.


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