I live in Bedfordshire, a middle class county that is home to the multi-cultural Luton in the West and the almost entirely white working and agricultural classes in the East. My home is just a half hour drive to Cambridge and I commute to London every day. I have heard both sides of the EU Referendum arguments from friends, family and colleagues along with experts ranging from the IMF to the punters in the local pub. I’m 47 years old, which puts me in the centre of the demographic data that found the older voters went for Brexit and the younger for Remain.
Bedfordshire where I live voted for Brexit. London, where I work, voted for Remain.
Everything about me should have made me a floating voter, but I was and am very firmly for Remain.
It is too early to judge whether the scare stories peddled by either side will come true, although the billions being withdrawn from British stock markets and the pound suggest that both sides were right that there would be an initial downturn.
The political chaos we are now witnessing across Labour and the Conservatives might be just the sort of shake up that Brexit voters wanted. There was a strong feeling that any change would be better than no change from The Establishment. They are certainly getting their wish.
My personal vote went for Remain, because I can’t stand the thought of Britain’s future being shaped or even influenced by Nigel Farage and UKIP. I think UKIP is a nasty, narrow, inward looking organisation. Its detoxification as a brand does not wash with me, it remains a xenophobic movement and I will always lean away from it. I feel European only slightly less than I feel British.
Leaders from the care home industry that I have spoken to have given their own personal reasons for which way they chose to vote. In general they gave arguments for or against Brexit based on the circumstances of their businesses. There were more Brexit voters in the North and fewer in the South, broadly in line with the views of the country as a whole.
Most people that voted for Brexit are not xenophobes, they are people who feel things will get better if our politicians have more control than politicians in Brussels.
I happen to agree that the EU institutions brought this on themselves by lacking sufficient democratic support to justify the powers they are amassing. I just think that we would be better off still around the table as many of the 28 EU member states put the brakes on this process and even start to reverse it. I think we give up control by walking away, not gain it back.
I do not think the UK Treasury will have more money to spend on public services like social care after Brexit. I think it will have less because tax revenues will be lower than would have been the case, and our national debt of £1.6 trillion may cost more to service.
The £350 million per week that the UK sent to to the EU last year will not find its way into UK public services. I expect we will find a way to misspend that money just as effectively as some argue the EU has.
Workers from the EU and elsewhere will continue to arrive, because we need them.
The reality is the EU does not have a monopoly on bad decisions and wasteful spending. Westminster politicians are masters of the art.
And, if you think that the bunch about to replace David Cameron’s cabinet will do any better, just listen to what Boris Johnson has to say: “The pound is stable, the markets are stable, I think that’s all very good,” he declared on Monday.
As he was speaking, the pound had fallen 10% against the dollar, and the FTSE 100 was down 6% since the referendum.