Who are the Brexiteers?
In the year 2016 the people of the United Kingdom were asked a very important, “once in a generation” question: Do you want to Leave or Remain in the European Union?
Those who won the referendum to Leave, 17.4 million of them, the most people that have voted for anything, ever in UK history, became known as The Brexiteers.
You may think you know who they are, and their reasons for voting Leave. But do you?
Some people say they think all Brexiteers are stupid, inward-looking, anti-foreigner, nationalistic thugs. Some even think they’re racists, fascists and even (of late) Nazis!
This is, of course, codswallop.
See for yourself...
But they are called...
Brexiteers cherish the distinct, ancient and diverse cultures of Europe. They appreciate the value of tradition, custom and heritage and therefore favour the concept of the Nation State - independent countries with their own unique identities. The EU does
not believe in the Nation State, instead its trajectory is to eventually abolish Nation States in favour of a United States of Europe.
Brexiteers understand that, whilst it is imperative to work together with other countries for the common good, it is important not to lose one’s own identity in the process. After all, most human beings feel comfort from belonging to a ‘tribe’, whether that’s the Bushmen of Botswana or the Morris men of Morcambe!
They see how the EU’s forced ever-closer integration, and expansion, “More Europe”, is causing friction across the continent, with a resulting rise in ‘populist’ far right / left parties in many EU countries over the past couple of decades, plus months of unrest throughout France with the Gilets Jaunes (some of whom are protesting against the EU). The EU hasn’t ‘kept the peace’, there have been at least 50 European conflicts since its early formation. In some ways it unintentionally fuels unrest.
Brexiteers love Europe and that’s why they dislike the EU that they see is slowly destroying it. Far better, therefore, to be an independent country within Europe, continuing to cooperate and trade with our European friends and allies just like we did for hundreds of years before joining the EU.
What began as a Common Market / EC seemed like a good idea. However, what is now ‘The EU’, something we never voted for and was not what was sold to us, is not working for many European people. Thus regained true sovereignty for EU countries, for example Brexit (Britain), Frexit (France), Nexit (Holland), could help heal the fractious, unhappy tinderbox that is now much of Europe.
But they are called...
Far from being anti-immigration Brexiteers are pro-immigration for people that the country needs.
They understand that allowing completely uncontrolled Freedom
of Movement (FoM), from mostly white Europe, generally only benefits the privileged few 1% of Brits, and is ultimately discriminatory against people from many non-white countries around the world. They also appreciate that gradual, steady, manageable and controlled immigration is a vital and enriching thing for our country.
Over the past 20 years millions more people migrated to the UK than predicted. This had an impact on those (mostly poor and already stretched) communities.
Many Brexiteers witnessed, first hand, the resulting strain on schools, hospitals, infrastructure and social cohesion.
By voting to end FoM Brexiteers wanted to do something to address (and not ignore) those ever increasing tensions. So that, rather than resenting immigration, people would come to welcome it; if it was fair and manageable for all concerned. A consequence of this would also be to re-kindle the Brit’s renowned and historic generosity and open- heartedness when it comes to helping genuine refugees.
Brexiteers know that if we do NOT address these concerns then resentment could well turn to hatred, violence and yet more division.
Thus Leaving the EU could help to heal the country.
But they are called...
You will hear it said that “they didn’t know what they were voting for”. This could be said of almost all who voted in the 2016 referendum in the sense that most of us (both Leavers
and Remainers) aren’t experts in international law, trade or the colossal EU treaties that affected our everyday lives. However, Brexiteers knew enough, from the reasons already described in this book, to understand that, if they were given the chance to Leave then they would grab that wonderful and rejuvenating opportunity with both hands to bring full democracy, accountability and control back to their own country, their own communities and, ultimately, their own lives. To be truly Sovereign again, like most every other country in the world.
Many Brexiteers based their vote on personal experience from over 40 years living within the EU and seeing its effects, good and bad. Some really knew their stuff when it comes to matters such as the EU’s overarching Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties.
Others started off undecided so listened to all the arguments, dismissed Project Fear (of disasters predicted to happen in 2017/18 which turned out to be pure propaganda), they weighed up the risks and the benefits and opted to leave based on their own knowledge and common sense.
Some say that people voted Leave because they were conned into doing so by Social Media ads. But, seeing as it was supposedly the older generation that ‘won it for Leave’, and that age group doesn’t spend 24/7 on their iPhones glued to social media, then it’s unlikely that ‘Russian bots’ or ‘Cambridge Analytica’ brainwashed them into voting Leave. Also, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, voted to leave the EU based on what was written on the side of Boris’s bloody bus!
But they are called...
Let’s not forget that REMAIN is, in reality:
The 3 main political parties: Tory, Labour and Lib Dems (though two of those Parties purport to be Leave). Plus 75% of MPs,
almost 100% of the Lords, billionaires, big business and multinationals, most newsprint (including the Daily Mail!), the CBI, BBC, Sky, C4, Cameron, Osborne, the EU, the Speaker, the Civil Service, the Stock Exchange... the list is endless! Basically, the entire Establishment – all with vested interests.
It was the rebellious, adventurous and daring - The Brexiteers - who voted against The Establishment, to Leave.
By contrast you could say that it was the staid, comfortable and timid that chose to Remain by voting for what they believed was the status quo (though, as we know, there is no status quo with the EU as it is ever- expanding its empire and control).
Brexiteers caused a political revolution by standing up to the elites and using their precious vote to shout No More!
They are the radicals, like so many throughout the history of the British Isles. Fighting for ‘The People’ to be heard.
History will remember the Brexiteers as the peaceful Revolutionaries who determinedly fought for progress, for change, and for a reinvigorated, representative, liberating democracy for all.
Yet they are all called...
Brexiteers are continually misrepresented as all being far-right and English, but this is wrong.
The historic position of the true left-wing is to be anti-EU, with the likes of Tony Benn, Barbara Castle and Jeremy Corbyn who was a vocal Eurosceptic (until elected Labour leader).
The historic position for the Tory Party is to be pro-EU. And still is! 64% of Labour, 74% of Conservative and 25% of Lib Dem constituencies voted Leave. A good number of Greens and even one or two Lib Dems also voted Leave! One third of Black and Ethnic minority (BAME) people voted to Leave. Therefore, being pro-Leave is most certainly not a ‘right-wing thing’.
Wales voted to Leave, as did England, as did over 38% of Scots, 44% of Northern Irish and 40% of Londoners. In fact, as we know, in 2016 MOST of the country voted to Leave!
Brexiteers are students, doctors, labourers, nurses, artists, carers, fishermen, company directors, charity workers, intellectuals, managers, grandparents, gardeners, lawyers, professors, conservationists, cleaners, translators, academics, farmers, TV presenters, economists, sky divers, priests, scientists, accountants, musicians, toffs and serfs!
Brexiteers hail from every conceivable walk of life. They love Europe, are pro-immigration, are savvy and wise, are progressive and diverse. They are people who, when asked if they wanted to Leave or Remain in the EU, in a “once in a generation” vote, they opted to put their X in the Leave box.
Their side of the argument won the referendum.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I created these illustrations, and later wrote this book, because I wanted to counter the continual misrepresentation of Leave voters in the media and to answer some of the prejudiced insults that we receive on a daily basis from politicians, journalists and on social media (as depicted).
I also wanted to show that, contrary to the sterotype, Brexiteers are good people with sensible, thoughtful and decent motivations.
I don’t claim to speak for everyone who voted Leave. Just from a combination of my own perspective, from that of many of my Leave friends, and from hundreds of other Brexiteers I follow on Social media. My main aim is a hope to change the misconceptions of who we are, to help end the divisions.
This book was written in May 2019 and, in our ever changing political chaos, it’s pertinent, for Brexiteers, to that moment in time.
Whilst it (shockingly) remains difficult to be openly pro-Leave, without risking repercussions, I have written this book under the Princesque pseudonym:
I am a musician, designer and business owner
the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
2012: blend of British (or Britain) and exit, probably on the pattern of Grexit (a term for the potential withdrawal of Greece from the eurozone (the economic region formed by those countries in the European Union that use the euro as their national currency)).
/brɛksɪˈtɪə/ noun: Brexiteer; plural noun: Brexiteers
a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.
Early 21st century: from Brexit + -eer