I was and remain (sic) a Remainer, and I wasn’t at all interested in the campaigns of either side in 2016 since for me it wasn’t about who would do what about Euro pe either way. Each campaign made itself into a gathering, a cohort and it wasn’t about who to follow.
I chose and I choose remain because it matters to me that we are part of the EU for ideological reasons that are not based on party politics. The biggest failure of the referendum campaign was not the untruths on either ‘side’ but that either side fought the campaign as though it was a general election, implying that we were voting for a ‘party’ of remain or a ‘party’ of leave. We weren’t. We were voting for an ideology of remain and an ideology of leave. And so, after the referendum, the party political obsession/misunderstanding has continued. People are still thinking that Leave or Remain can be delivered as a party policy. It is not that kind of decision. We have grown up thinking only of party political behaviour, and the referendum for Europe was nothing to do with party adherence, but to do with how you view the world in its entirety.
We vote from the hip. At general and other elections, we are appointing people and we can then remove those people when we vote for someone else. The referendum was not voting for people but for a belief. Sadly, when people voted they did so in confusion of thinking it was for a group of people: whether in or out.
Europe is far beyond such trivialities that can change easily after every electoral cycle. To desire either in or out is to believe in a way of being. My decision to vote remain was never in doubt because for me remaining part of Europe is ideologically sensible. Not for one moment do I think that the EU works well. But I want to be part of a nation that is part of the ongoing process of ensuring it does. The ignorance of the facts now becoming apparent in those who realise they voted through fear or misunderstanding, or in the mistaken belief that all the money would come rushing back to us is frustrating but is really just a consequence of her trying to choose a political party, of arguing that if you vote ‘for’ someone they will do what they said. Show me one person who was significant in the remain or leave campaign who now holds the cards in the Great Brexit Negotiation Fiasco. Can’t really think of one. And yet they were the stars at the time.
It’s such a shame that the campaigns were delivered in this way. It would have been much more useful if people had been given the underlying principles of European unity and not the scaremongering from each side.