In 1975, I was an enthusiastic 20 year old supporter of the European Economic Community.
I helped in the campaign and voted to join the EEC. In my late teenage years, I had seen how dire the UK economy was with constant strikes, power cuts, rising unemployment and the 1973 oil crisis. Europe at that time was thriving and looked like a beacon for the future.
During the 2016 campaign, I have been reading historian Dominic Sandbrook’s book ‘The State of Emergency 1970-74’, a fascinating study of the period just prior to the 1975 vote, reading about the predictions that Tony Benn and Enoch Powell were making about what would happen if the UK joined Europe. They were both strongly opposed to us joining. 40 years on, by and large, their predictions have been proved correct.
I really wanted David Cameron to be successful with his renegotiations with the EU but he is no negotiator, unlike Mrs Thatcher. He may genuinely have thought he had got a good deal but to me it looked like ‘a sham’, a glorious PR stunt.
In 1975 I didn’t vote for a socialist united states of Europe but that is what the EU has evolved into. I don’t want unelected, unaccountable EU bureaucrats dictating UK laws, telling me I can’t buy curved bananas, dictating who we can do trade deals with and a myriad of other directives covering every aspect of our lives.
As for immigration, well so much has been written and said, that the Westminster elite seem incapable of doing anything about it. Do they understand the impact it has on our communities, the effect on ordinary working people? Do they understand the impact it has on schools, housing and health service?
So, after 40 years, I voted ‘leave’.
Even though I voted for David Cameron as Conservative Party Leader, I am not sorry he is leaving. He has been a big disappointment. I thought Peter Hitchens (Daily Mail columnist) summed him up rather well when he described David as... “a globalist, pro-migration, Blairite Liberal...” (Mail on Sunday 26/6/16).
The British people are a great nation race that throughout history have stood up for freedom and democracy.
My parents and grandparents fought two world wars to keep Europe free. As a race we do not like bullying or being told what to do and I thought historian Andrew Roberts summed this up rather well... “the role of bloody minded insurgents, willing to do the opposite of what they are told by the authorities has long been central to great political events in British history and 14,410,742 people who voted to leave the European Union can certainly be ranked amongst their number.” (Telegraph 25/6/16)
The British people are clever, imaginative and entrepreneurial – just think of the impact Jony Ive (Apple computers), James Dyson, Tim Berners-Lee (the internet) and Richard Branson have made.
We now have an excellent opportunity to build on being the world’s fifthth biggest economy.
Yes, in the short term, there will be some turbulence but we must be positive and not let the liberal, Westminster elite talk Great Britain down.
We do not need more doom-mongering from the media and especially the BBC. I thought economist Roger Bootle’s analysis was very good... “Most of the world does not belong to the European Union and most of it is doing pretty well. Meanwhile the EU itself has been doing badly. In Southern Europe, thanks to the Euro, there is an economic and social catastrophe.” (Roger Bootle, Chairman of Capital Economics, Telegraph Columnist, Sunday Telegraph 20/6/16.)
So, 40 years on, I have played my part in a momentous decision. The future is bright and very exciting.