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Opinion: Let Us Seize the Opportunities Brexit Offers

Published on: 24 Jun, 2016
Updated on: 26 Jun, 2016

EU & UK FlagsBy Harry Aldridge

Former Guildford parliamentary candidate for Ukip

I have spent 12 years campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. Watching the results come in last night was surreal, and sobering. It was democracy in action, and the British people have delivered a firm instruction to parliament to chart a new course for our country.

Throughout the referendum campaign it was clear from opinion polls that the result was going to be close. It is clear that we are a divided country, and regardless of the result it is incumbent upon the winning side to allay the fears and concerns of those voters who voted to remain in the European Union.

Ultimately every voter cast their ballot based on their judgement of what was in the interests of this country, it is simply that we divided over which path was best.

Opinion Logo 2There is no definitive right answer and no wrong answer in this referendum. Time will tell. However, voters on both sides of this debate have a shared interest in protecting and building a prosperous, open, liberal country that continues to cooperate and engage with the world, but now from outside the organisational structure of the European Union instead of within it as a member.

I fought this referendum trying to make the positive case for Leave, explaining why I believed it was in our economic and democratic interests. For me this was not primarily about immigration, although it is clear that this was a defining issue in the campaign.

I believe it is right that parliament should have control over immigration, because after years of immigration being central to British politics it is vital that we have an immigration system that has the confidence, support and democratic consent of the British people.

I have heard Remain supporters say that immigration fears were whipped up during this campaign, but I do not agree. Anger about immigration was caused by the politicians and governments who failed to listen, or even chose to ignore, the concerns of many millions of voters. Every time they were called bigots, or racists, or xenophobes, the seeds were sewn for a democratic revolt.

Putting immigration aside, there were intelligent voices on the Leave that recognised the changing nature of the European Union. The Eurozone needs to integrate more deeply, with fiscal union, a Eurozone treasury, and the associated trappings of a more federal structure.

The pressures on the Schengen area have also been highlighted. Britain has steadfastly stayed out of these projects, and it was clear that the time had come to part company and allow the EU and Eurozone countries to continue on the path that is in their interests, and allow Britain to do similarly.

The British people have led the way, and there are now talks in Denmark, the Netherlands and even France, for similar referendums. The people of Europe are unhappy, and Europe needs to regain consent of its people and change significantly to survive into this century.

As an independent UK, we must and we will continue to be good friends and allies to our European neighbours – after all we have shared interests – but it is better to be good friends than remain in an unhappy marriage.

Let us look outward to the world. Let us renew our democracy. Let us seize the opportunities afforded by Brexit, and unite around our common interests.

See also: Guildford Votes Remain But the UK Votes to Leave the EU

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Responses to Opinion: Let Us Seize the Opportunities Brexit Offers

  1. David Pillinger Reply

    June 24, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    As I have mentioned to Harry Aldridge twice when we have met, I believe that he is a very reasonable person with a level head and without the vitriol of many people I have met during this debate.

    What he writes above is truly conciliatory which I really respect. He is right that there is no definitive right answer. However, for most people who are experienced in business and know about the positive impact of the Single Market, a unique product of the cooperation of the founder countries to the EU, we were happy to suffer relatively minor teething issues to reap the massive benefits offered by the project.

    Alas, we feel now that a little bit of excessive nationalism among older people, whipped up by certain politicians and the tabloid press is depriving the next generation of benefitting from this greatest of British creations.

    It’s not fair and personally I feel great pain in my heart.

    David Pillinger was a Remain campaigner.

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      June 25, 2016 at 8:23 am

      It is interesting that when the “little people” have a very rare chance to express their opinions in a free vote and they decide to ignore the lies, distortions, character assassinations of the Remain crowd, elites etc., and vote to Leave the EU, we are told that “It’s not fair”.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    June 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    The UK is not out yet.

    First, Parliament must ratify the result, something which is by no means certain because all the main parties campaigned for the opposite result. If the result is ratified, as it should be, then the European Communities Act of 1972 must be repealed or we will continue to be obliged to incorporate new EU laws into UK law. Should they so wish, the Commission could impose laws on us detrimental to our interests.

    The European Council is meeting next week without the UK delegate, despite the fact that the UK is still a member. Whilst that seems sensible, the urgency shown is in marked contrast to the UK government’s attitude.

    The result should be ratified and the Act repealed immediately. Negotiations under Article 50 can then begin on a proper basis.

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