IAN HART: I voted Remain, but now it’s time to look forward

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

I freely admit referendum-wise I wasn’t far short of doing the hokey cokey – I’d been both ‘In’ and ‘Out. I stopped short of shaking it about but in the end I voted ‘Remain’.

As I said in this column a couple of weeks ago it wasn’t just about Europe, it was also a vote on who would be resident at 10 Downing Street in the future. David Cameron is nowhere near perfect, but what politician is? In my opinion, he was the best option we had as Prime Minister, and taking out some of the more toxic elements of the Remain fear campaign, the vote was more for the benefit of my children and, one day, my grandchildren.

Using the old adage that ‘you never see a bookie on a bike’, seeing the odds they were quoting for either side and the first exit polls on Thursday night I went to bed thinking I’d wake up on Friday with this country still part of the EU. Instead I turned on the TV to be told by a extremely smug Nigel Farage that Friday was ‘Independence Day’, closely followed by large parts of social media telling me that not only the UK was now a divided nation but it was also a racist one to boot. Divided? As a democracy we had a vote, a free vote which a number of nations around the globe can only dream about. One side narrowly beat the other, but it’s not quite the basis for the re-start of the English Civil War. So in the space of seven days, we’ve quit Europe, lost a decent, honest premier, along with perhaps the leader of the opposition and now we face weeks of uncertainty.

A generation of youngsters went to war 70 years ago to fight to preserve democracy. Despite being on the losing side, I am more than happy to accept the result and hope both sides can move on. But how can a parliament where over 70 per cent of the elected members wanted to remain in the EU really have a mandate to carry out the wishes of the majority?

The only way forward I can personally see is to have an October general election where the parties manifestos amongst the usual key issues will set out a successful exit strategy along with what happens in the future outside the EU.

Not divided, not racist and with or without Scotland (be careful what you wish for, Ms Sturgeon), one nation moving forward for the future generations.

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