– Friday 31st January 2020 –
The day has finally arrived for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, after four years of extreme political chaos and 47 years within the Union. It’s a momentous day for the country, one that marks a day of celebration or commiseration for Brits.
Personally, I am devastated. I have always been a Remainer, always supporting our membership in the EU. I have been a Remainer since the result was announced, and while I don’t want us to leave, I have reluctlantly accepted the result and the fact that we are leaving tonight.
On the day the result was announced, I wrote an article about my opinion on the referendum and result. A painful yet passionate piece to write, and one that I have never published. Until now.
I wanted to publish it on the day we finally left the EU, and now the time has arrived it’s time to share it. This is my piece titled ‘Brexit: My Opinion’, written on 24th June 2016, completely unedited since and published as the exact original piece.
Friday 24th June, 6:25am (this morning at the time of writing). This was the deliberately earlier time I woke up at to find out the results of arguably the biggest vote in Britain during my lifetime- the EU referendum. I did not find out the result from the news, instead a message from my friend with only 5 words – Britain are leaving the EU.
As I ate breakfast with my family, took the bus to school with my friends and even registered for my lessons, Brexit was the subject of our conversations. It was the only subject of our conversations. I watched the BBC results coverage from the moment I woke up in bed up until my first lesson. I saw it all unfold, from the victory speech of Nigel Farage to the resignation statement from David Cameron.
Yet I can not stop thinking about it. The Stronger In campaign had huge supporters, yet they could not convince Britain to stay. Politicians like PM David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, just to name a few supporters.
This is a huge moment in the UK’s history, and not a very good one for me and my generation. I believe that the main negative about this though was the results showing how divided we are here, and taking the ‘United’ out of our name.
The reason for this fell under 3 main categories- qualifications, status and most importantly, age.
What I mean by qualifications ultimately means their level of education and intellect. People with either just GCSE’s to their names or even nothing tended to vote for Brexit, while people with university degrees mainly wanted to remain. With age and status, people aged 18-35 mainly voted to stay, whereas older age bands of 65+ who are retired backed the leave campaign.
The result in my hometown London has not been welcomed with open hands. With the majority of our population wanting to stay, the capital seemed different to every other day. Apart from my debate about the vote with my friends, the bus to school was silent, with not even the large group of school kids from the local schools cracking a word.
Although there is a long process that will go through our exit from the EU, more countries could follow on in our route by the time we officially depart. Other members like France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Denmark are putting their membership up for debate, which could even possibly lead to the dissolution of the European Union.
Now more than 17 million people wanted ‘to get their Britain back’ there is no going back. I am worried, and will stay conscious for as long as my life is associated with the UK. For 5 more years, I can do nothing but wait and watch, and maybe when I come into adulthood I will be the person to change our future once again. For now, I am a spectator, leaving my future in the hands of millions who decided that their nation took more priority over my generation, the generation that will lead the United Kingdom into the next stages of its history.
Whether we will benefit or struggle from Brexit, I know that it will go down in British, if not global history. For some, 23rd June is a new independence day. For others including me, it is a day to forget, and a day that Britain could come to regret.
Nischal Schwager-Patel, 24th June 2016