Portraits

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Pamela, Surrey

Retired

Voted Remain

“I voted to Remain because I think Europe is good for us. The EU hasn’t always delivered what this country would like and I believe we have had too weak governments in the past to fight our corner. I think the Brexit vote could have been shifted if only our government had decided that they had the guts to actually fight for what this country needs as part of the EU, much like Germany does. Germany fights for what it wants, and other countries do the same.

The migrant crisis was a major issue in the campaign for Brexit, it was touted to be the main issue. And the NHS was the other main issue. And when you’re getting old like I am, the NHS issues become very important, because you need that service more and more. If we have an influx of people who are a drain on the service because in their own country they don’t have that same standard of care, so they come to this country and they need more, it’s going to be a drain on the resources, and I can understand people of my age and above voting to come out for that very reason.

The perception is that when you’re in the hospital environment there is a larger percentage of overseas people being treated than there are from the UK. Presumably this puts strain on the NHS as interpreters are needed and presumably the NHS has to meet the cost of this.

Having worked in schools before I retired, the drain on resources there providing the children with the additional language they needed in order to access the curriculum is also a drain.

I still think remaining would have been the best thing for the UK. Immigration just needs to be controlled. We’ve needed control for years and the government lacked the guts to do something about it. Because I feel the way I feel about immigration and the drain on our resources, it’s not that I feel we should be out of Europe or that Europe is forcing immigrants on us. No, we have a government and the government is supposed to fight the corner for its people, it’s supposed to know what the people want. None of our governments actually have an inkling of what the people of the UK want, all they’re interested in is their own agendas. Immigration and the NHS were the two main issues that either you voted to stay in or you voted to leave and it’s so short sighted because Europe is more than those. We’re not investing in our nurses. We’re making it more difficult for nurses here in the UK to train, we’re cutting down their subsidies, they don’t get paid anything at all, they work really damn hard and we think we’ll just go to the Philippines and pick up the Philippine nurses. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with resourcing staffing from outside the UK but what I’m objecting to is our government doesn’t see enough potential in this country to invest in its people, whether they be immigrants or born & bred here. You work hard, you pay your taxes, my “unofficially” adopted kids (in their 20’s) from Romania do the same, that’s the sort of people you want to immigrate here. Those who want to contribute to our way of life and make a life here in the UK. Immigrant communities stick together and they support one another when they need it and we’ve lost the sense of community spirit here in the UK. We’re all about entitlement, we’re all about what we’re entitled to and if we can’t get it, then we’ve got to blame somebody, it is not as if we can’t work to get it, but it’s got to be somebody else’s fault, so the scapegoat’s going to be the immigrant. We’ve got a whole generation on the dole, complaining about their rights. I’ve paid my taxes and I’ve worked for 46 years and they complain that I’ve got a pension.

We’re part of Europe but we’re also British. Fundamentally I think it’s the weak government that’s got us where we are and not just the Conservatives, Labour were just as bad. They’ve put money in their own pockets by the expenses claim. I’ve never forgiven them for that. Chris Grayling is our local MP. He’s never going to get my vote because he was one of the guys that falsified his claims. The excuse of well “everybody else was doing it” doesn’t make it morally right does it?. These are the guys we’re supposed to look up to, so is it any surprise really that those people who’ve been on the dole, second, third generation feel entitled to be supported and that someone else foots the bill? They are going to feel that the immigrants are taking out of the system what is rightfully (not) theirs.

I think it’s sad that we’re going to come out of Europe.”


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Stuart, Essex

Company Director

Voted Leave

“I’ve got no issue with the free movement of labour, capital, goods, etc. but the political component of the European project is acting to put bridges and walls, whether deliberately or inadvertently between voters and the leavers of power. If you do that, you disenfranchise voters and you will get the exact opposite of what it is the European project was trying to achieve, which is a more liberal, tolerant society.

I think it’s the job of the center left and liberal political organisations to win the argument and not to hope the European project will save them. In Britain, politics has been relatively center right and there’s been a sense that there’ll be a benevolent European project that will pick up the pieces around, for example employment regulation, maternity rights, paternity rights etc. The European project has allowed the center left and liberal political parties to be lazy, because if we have a center right government in the UK we know that the European project will take off the rough edges. That’s not good enough. If you want to win the argument and win elections you need to have active, vocal argument winning political forces domestically, not rely on mother Europe to save you. I think there should be as little gap as possible between electors, and the elected and unfortunately Europe has increased that gap politically, not economically. To me it’s no surprise that there’s this populist, center right at best, far right at worst feeling in Europe.

Brexit will encourage voters to think ‘if we don’t get out and vote, don’t engage in politics this is what you get’. Even in the Brexit vote, the turnout for young people was low, around 50% for 18-30 year olds and yet we were told that was the group of people who were most passionately Remain. Why weren’t they out voting? Again, it’s because there’s a disconnect, so people should get frustrated. The European project, politically has dampened the appetite for people to get out and get involved with politics and I don’t think it’s healthy.

From all sides of the argument, be it from the SNP, the momentum movement within the Labour party, the Conservatives, UKIP etc., there is more vociferous engagement with politics and because Brexit will mean that we’ll be more politically in a bubble, it will remind people that if they exercise their political right within the UK they can actually get stuff done and changed, which will get more people voting, which is a good thing.”


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Sam, Newcastle

Chief Revenue Officer

Voted Remain

“I voted from the heart, I didn’t delve too much into the political statements made by either side to be honest. Instinctively I felt that we should not leave the EU. We gain a lot from being part of it, freedom and mobility for instance.

The ability to explore countries and cultures that are on our doorstep with such ease can only help our understanding of the world and the intricacies of its people. Every one of us could do with a bit more understanding.

The frictionless ability to work across borders, cultures and languages are key to our social mobility. These traits may be taken for granted now but it wasn’t that long ago when international work and travel could only be entertained by the elite classes; now everyone and anyone can do it.

It didn’t feel right to vote leave. The idea that the NHS would be better funded by £350 million per week did not instinctively make sense, it sounded to me to be as a made up statistic; surely we can’t be funding the EU that much per week? It’s an impossibly large sum of money. I also felt there was a strong undercurrent of racism with their arguments regarding immigration; yes there is a discussion to be had around the viability of limitless mobility, and it’s a deeply touchy subject with a vast majority of the proletariat. But on this island, weren’t all immigrants at one point in time.”


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Peter, Surrey

Sales Director

Voted Leave

“The referendum for Brexit seemed very binary and the reason to stay or leave based on two decisions. The benefits of staying or leaving were clouded over by the headline campaigns; immigration and bleak outlook for the economy versus regaining our sovereignty.
Looking at the wider debate and the many reason to leave or stay. The decision for me to vote leave was based on my opinion that the Eurozone is not a level playing field. Having relations in the farming industry, who have struggled with competition from the Eurozone. Although they receive subsidies, they are not equal to those afforded to their counterparts across Europe; bringing prices down is not always bad, except here it is at the cost of the British farming industry, similarly with the UK fishing industry
Do I believe there will be an acrimonious divorce from the Eurozone, No. The Eurozone is and will be for some time in the low growth environment and as with the global economy fragile. Britain imports five time more than they export and our closest supplier is the Eurozone, will France stop exporting Peugeot’s and Citron’s, Germany Porsche, Mercedes, VW’s, BMW’s, possibly not, if they do, does that lead to a resurgence of the great British car manufacturing industry. Looking at other imports such as food etc., the shipping industry is struggling; they would welcome the opportunity to ship goods to the Britain from further afield.

Adding in the current geopolitical conundrums, I could see this as the beginning of a very new chapter in the Eurozone, what it will look like in 3-5 years, I can see a very different landscape, with possibly others following our lead.”


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Charlotte, Hampshire

Campaigner

Voted Remain

“I voted to Remain because despite the EU’s faults, it achieved a lot in terms of protecting workers’ rights and our environment. It was also very effective at redistributing wealth across EU nations – something I’d seen firsthand in Malta where my family originate from. The funding of infrastructure, arts and cultural projects, tackling environmental issues and funding scientific research, all serves to tackle inequalities and issues across Europe. I wasn’t exactly an EU enthusiast, and I certainly had concerns about the EU’s democratic deficit, but I felt it had done a lot of good for the region.

I also voted to Remain because of migration. As someone under 30 and a second generation immigrant, I understand how important freedom of movement is: from a human rights perspective; for work and education; and for economic benefit. And I am a direct beneficiary of migration. I wanted to remain in the EU to protect freedom of movement and also to challenge what the referendum felt like: a proxy vote on migration. I’m appalled and heartbroken by the current narrative on migration, especially as much of it is totally inaccurate. I feared Brexit would serve to entrench nationalism, borders and clamping down on migration – things World War 2 served to defeat and prevent through the EU project. While I understand racism, xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiment already existed, I knew that Brexit would present an opportunity to heighten and legitimise prejudice. Unfortunately, this has become the reality.

But as someone who always aims to be optimistic and proactive, I helped to set up a campaign that is crowdsourcing under 30s’ demands for post-Brexit Britain. Called Undivided, we aim to get the best possible Brexit deal for younger generations. After all, we will live with the outcome the longest. Through this campaign, I’m hoping young people will prove that unity is possible, to help heal the deep divisions that have sharpened from the result.”


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James, Surrey

Sales Director

Voted Remain

“The vote to leave the EU was a massive surprise and disappointment, but it is very complicated. Apart from anything else it was erroneously argued by both Leave and Remain (whose campaign was feeble and possibly complacent). It is incredible that such lies could be peddled by both sides on such a profoundly important issue.

There is definitely a case to argue that certain parts of the country are overwhelmed by the “free movement of people” from Europe or elsewhere and little is done by cash-strapped Local Government, or indeed Central Government, to help these communities and their infrastructure. Its also the case that the free movement of people isn’t a uniquely British cause for concern and I think people have too willingly called Leave voters racists or xenophobes which although is the case is certainly the exception rather than the rule. Will Self said that not everyone that votes Leave is a racist but all racists will vote Leave and I think that is probably true.

My initial frustration was the fact that we were given the Referendum at all just for a party leader to appease his rebellious right-wing. However I am beginning to change my mind. I do believe the EU has gone far enough, possibly too far in bringing us all together because it isn’t. The EU have not described their end game but I think most people would agree that a Superstate is the aim and I don’t think this is possible.

Leaving may precipitate a change perhaps in the thinking and propel people in the EU member states to pushing for change. It is very difficult to have a superstate or a United States of Europe – we are many, many different cultures and tribes who can find common ground on a lot of things that clearly benefit us all but not everything. The effect on Trade is what I worry about the most though and the adverse effects it could have on a lot of the people that voted to Leave, the people who have lost the most from Globalisation who tend to be much poorer.”


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Simon, Cornwall

Chief Executive NUS

Voted Remain

“I voted to remain. The most important bit was that that was just instinctively what I understood to be right. I wasn’t sure that we should have had the vote at all, I felt like we elect our representatives who should have been making those decisions based on all of the information. This doesn’t feel like something which I was qualified to do, other than trust my instincts, which are that we are better together, that we should have the trading agreements in place, the movement of people in place. Born in 1974, I had never known any different, it just felt like a question that didn’t need to be asked, shouldn’t have been asked. We have been asked, we gave the wrong answer, but that’s democracy. It worries me that it seems to have given rise to something which must have just been under the surface, the grotty underbelly of a lack of humanity, lack of decency and the rise of hate crime and racism. That is deeply upsetting.

Still in the process of working out what it means for international students, and for EU students and clearly there are as many unknowns in relation to that as there are knowns. People who have been in this sector a very long time are worried from a collaboration perspective, from a knowledge perspective, from a funding perspective, in terms of research and staffing within education. From an international student’s perspective I think it sends a very strong message “you may not want to come here, we’re not as enthusiastic and welcoming as you might like us to be.” And that’s really sad as that just hasn’t been the case for a really long time and international students have always been welcome, have been right at the heart of rich and vibrant communities within universities which brings depth and strength and richness to the experience of being at university and to knowledge, the knowledge economy and the economy.”


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Colin, London

Stage Hand

Voted Leave

“I thought there was a lot of scaremongering coming from the Remain [campaign]. Basically, it wasn’t about the people, the normal people, the working class people, it was all about the rich. The rich aren’t going to suffer in this move, because they’ll always be rich. It’s the poor people that’s going to suffer, with all this mass movement they’re keeping wages down. I was part of that, when they allowed Poland the free movement instead of waiting for the 5 years for them to move around. I was working for the Railway as a freelancer and I was getting £15/hour at the time. As soon as they flooded in, this is when Labour was in charge, my wages within 6 months went down to £7.50. So who suffered? The rich or the working class family? And when they flood people in it’s because people will come and they will take the money because it’s more than what they’re earning in Europe. And a lot of people come here to just live off other people’s work, they aren’t coming here because they want to be British.

France, Germany, they don’t care about us being British. All these people going on about free movement, that didn’t come in until 1998, I was still able to travel around Europe quite freely, without a visa because I’m one of your football fans that used to travel from the late 70s, following Liverpool all around Europe. Fine, if they want to bring that in, it’s them going to lose because my people will stay at home and discover the best of British.

We can start putting our industrial powers back instead of us closing everything down because of the little cartels they have in Europe. We can get the fisheries back, maybe we can start building our own car industry, that’s taking control of ourselves. Because after all, Britain was an island and it was famous for its trades and stood by itself. What’s the difference? Why do we think we need other people to support us? Basically they’re saying that’s why we joined the EU. For what? We contribute how much billions to it? And then Europe makes out they’re giving us money, they’re not giving us money, they’re giving money that we contributed in to it, and then the other half goes to the rest of Europe, so why are they telling people lies?”


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Matt, Dorset

Managing Director, Scenic Construction Company

Voted Remain

“I voted to remain because I felt that it was the best way forward for the economy and politically. If you think back over the last hundred years, the number of wars we’ve had in Europe, I think the EU is a means to prevent that ever happening again. I think if you resurrected any of the people killed in the first world war and asked them is this a good idea, they’d all say ‘yes it is’. Also this question of identity, I think the key thing was, for a huge number of people it was just about having a voice, about asserting themselves. That’s why they voted to leave, whereas actually they didn’t have any strong political opinions and maybe didn’t even really understand what they were voting for. Which comes down to the question that was asked on the paper, there weren’t really any options, there was no clear plan. The remain campaign were called ‘Project Fear’, the Leavers should have been called ‘Project No Idea’ because they haven’t got a clue what the end result’s going to be.

I think the next thing that’s going to happen, that’s going to affect everyone, is we’re going to see a house price crash. Because of the uncertainty about the future of our trading arrangements, and the number of jobs that there’s going to be, particularly in London and the City. If there was more clarity for that, I think the Russians and the Chinese would continue to buy property in London, particularly now there’s been an almost 30% currency shift since the election. But because there’s so much uncertainty about the way forward, they’re not buying and as a result, if the top end of the London market comes to a stop, the rest of the country does and then everyone’s going to panic, put their houses on the market, over-supply, house price crash. But in terms of the business, it’s actually a good thing generally because it means the Americans will do more TV and film production in the UK and we’ll benefit as a result.”


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Zoe, Worcestershire

Actor/Writer

Voted Remain

“Remaining in the EU for me was a romantic ideal of progression, togetherness and peace. Although an ideal, I also believe that it was the most rational choice. Why would we go backwards in a futile attempt to close the doors on people seeking to come here so that we can exist as a small island, just to do things our own way, but with far less power than we think we have?

I think Britain leaving the EU gives a very powerful and negative message to the rest of the world and one that I fear will be replicated by other nations. I worry about the burgeoning far right parties that are gaining in popularity and Brexit appears to be a symbol of the world lurching toward isolationism. History has taught us so many lessons but a single lifetime doesn’t seem long enough to properly learn them. I hope I’m wrong.”


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Rob, Berkshire

Actor/Songwriter/Musical Director

Voted Remain

“It’s interesting thinking about it a few months on, because a lot of people have been saying ‘See, everything’s fine, don’t know what the fuss is all about.’ But this thing will bruise us gradually over the years – and even if it ultimately works out, the amount of effort that will have to go into all the negotiations etc will divert our attention from other important issues for a long time. I still have a glimmer of hope that we will get the opportunity to vote on whatever deal is struck, but I think that’s unlikely. As May so vacuously says, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ And indeed I reluctantly think it should – no-one was cautioned beforehand that the vote was only advisory in legal terms so we have to somehow see it through otherwise the system of trust will be broken possibly beyond repair.

Why did I vote Remain? I believe in nation states but I believe in international institutions even more. I think this shrinking away from the inevitable compromises that come out of globalisation is very worrying – fierce, isolationist nationalism is by its nature divisive, untrusting and less collaborative. I think the EU is an imperfect but pretty brilliant idea and we will miss it when we’re not a part of it. I also think unfortunately the conversation got hijacked – we were not capable as a population of keeping a cool eye on the detail and appreciating how a bit more patience and a little less pride might have led us to a position of leadership in a reformed EU. Emotion and patriotic bombast took over and so far it hasn’t gotten us anywhere.”


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Ian, Liverpool

Programme Manager

Voted Leave

“Born and bred in Liverpool and growing up with a fairly ‘left wing’ view of life I was too young to vote on joining the EEC, but I do remember it being a very exciting time. I have a great number of friends, family and work friends that are from European countries (EU and non EU) and have always felt ‘part’ of Europe. However I have also always been unhappy with the bureaucracy and wastage that appears to come with the EU (so many examples, but I always struggle to get past the monthly relocation of MEP’s from Brussels to Strasbourg at around £100 million a year!). My largest concern is probably the process where EU remit evolved from a single trade agreement /market in to a organisation that has grown its remit to even include making laws that member countries have to uphold – and all this change made with very little public visibility. The migration side of the debate seemed to be one of the most controversial elements and I am absolutely ‘pro’ migration and don’t think our economy can survive without it. I hugely value the contribution migrant workers make to the country, but I don’t believe we should be favouring migrants from any one country (or group of countries) over another. I think the UK will benefit from migrant works from all nationalities and backgrounds and should not be giving a simple migrant process to EU citizens and a much more complex one for potential workers from Asia or Africa – this just doesn’t feel right.
I voted leave, and strongly believe it was the right choice – and I still do. There has been much pain on both sides since the vote and my biggest personal regret is that I have lost some friends over the vote, simply because they believed a vote to leave the EU was a vote ‘against them’.

I have every confidence that the UK will flourish outside of the EU, of course it will take time – I just hope that everyone remembers we are still part of Europe, just not the EU, and a vote against EU control is not a vote against being part of Europe. I also hope that the EU takes this as a wake up call and uses it as an opportunity to drive some internal reforms as that is long overdue especially if it wants to continue without other member countries questioning their involvement.”


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Pedro, London

Designer

Voted Remain

I was born in London in the 70s from political exile parents. We didn’t stay in the UK very long, when I was 5 months old we moved to Paris were we stayed for the next 6 years then had a quick stint in Mozambique before amnesty was granted to them so we could go back to our country. Moving and travelling has always come natural to me. I came back to England almost 20 years ago because I believe in a multicultural society where life experiences compliment each other to deal with an unprecedented rate of change in economics, social and cultural values. I always admired the British culture for it’s openness and welcoming nature.

I realise that London is a bubble and it’s not a true reflection of what is going on in the rest of the country. Our government has been neglecting ‘middle England’ for decades, however it’s not the European community’s fault. The British people made themselves heard, it was a big slap in the face of the political establishment… Still, I think it’s a big mistake to leave the EU and will have unimaginable consequences in the long term.


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Mital, Manchester

Art Director

Voted Remain

“During the run-up to the EU referendum, there was a lot of misleading noise generated by politicians for the leave and the remain vote. The debates in the press were characterised by bias, distorted and exaggerated promises made by politicians – and this created a lot of uncertainty in my views and opinions.

There was no clarity in the communication being voiced and it was rather difficult to understand the reason why I should vote to leave or remain in the European Union. After much scrutiny, and having researched the issues in hand, I voted to remain in the EU. On personal reflection the uncertainty about the nation’s future if we voted to leave was a major factor that influenced my vote to remain. The implications and the impact on Britain’s economy, on trade and our freedom to travel within the EU were all major factors that informed my decision.

We stand a Kingdom United. It’s reflected in our nations name – the ‘United Kingdom’. Why change?”


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Dennis, Lancashire

Retired

Voted Remain

“Initially I had the view that it would be remain, but as we got towards the end I was reviewing that and I felt as though I could have gone for exit but the safe option was remain and that was largely why I decided to stay. Financially, economically, for the country, I think there was just too many negatives, too many uncertainties with everything that you heard about the exit. And I think also from a security point of view I think that Europe is better as a bigger, stable bloc rather than us, however powerful we might or might not think ourselves as an individual country, so I think security is better.”


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Sue, Shropshire

Retired Care Assistant

Voted Remain

“In the referendum I voted to remain in the EU, a decision based on concern for my children’s and grandchildren’s futures, if the country voted to leave. And also because I am retired, I draw my pensions and will never need to work again, so accusations that immigrants are taking our jobs don’t apply to me. They may not be the best reasons, but like a lot of other people I have not really followed or completely understood politics, but simply tried to do the right thing.”
“And two of my children are married to partners from mixed European parents: Poland and Sweden and Germany and Holland, so we are now a European family, and free movement around Europe would benefit them and their children in the future. I worry about how the decision to leave will affect my family and generations of young people. In fact, for me, the whole campaign failed me with their claims and counter claims about financial worries and desperate displaced people from other countries coming to live here. Although I was lucky enough to have a brother who has taken an active background role in our country’s politics, and he helped me more than anyone in explaining the real issues. I found a lot of TV programmes to be farcical and misleading. I really hope we don’t live to regret the outcome of the vote.”


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Joe, Shropshire

Spiritualist Medium

Voted Remain

“My instincts, throughout my life have been what I would call just left of centre and the EU has been one of the greatest re-distributors of wealth downwards but a lot of the people who benefit from that don’t understand that there’s many projects and improvements in their areas with money from the European Regional Development Fund and that really wasn’t got across. I was open to listening to the Leave Campaign, but I think to change the Status Quo they’ve got to make a strong case for change and I don’t believe they did. Their main plank was reducing immigration but they didn’t explain how they would do it, when they would do it and I’m not convinced they will do it to any great degree. I think some of those who voted Leave will get a shock a few years down the line at the immigration figures and then there’s the down side of course of the markets etc. To me, if people on the far right, who don’t like redistribution of wealth downwards, they like to concentrate wealth, are for getting out, my instincts are to think why? Perhaps we should be going the other way. The further Right you got on the political spectrum, the stronger they were about leaving. I didn’t do it with great enthusiasm, as I think there’s lots of problems but on balance, I thought Remain was safer and better.”


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Neil, South Manchester

Photographer

Voted Leave

“For a long time I was Remain and then as it got closer to the event I thought I should actually ditch all the press and do my own research so I spent days looking for information, finding out how does the EU work I was absolutely horrified. There are more than 10,000 members of staff employed by the EU who earn more than our PM. And the fact that the MEPs have absolutely no power whatsoever, they’re just there as a token gesture, everything is decided behind closed doors, the minutes of all the meetings never have to be published, so we are told essentially how to live our lives by someone who we have no power to un-elect. I do not like to be dictated to. My choices are my choices, whether they’re the right ones or the wrong ones. Regulations stifle business and those economies that have the fewest regulations are the ones that are thriving the best. The Swiss model is a great example. They have fewer regulations regarding business and trade than anywhere else in the world yet they have the strongest economy, the best quality of life, the highest GDP. My point is that there’s too much red tape and it strangles small business and innovation.”

“There’s also other factors surrounding immigration and borders. We have so little control over our own destiny. I mean we signed up in the 70s for the EU common market, we didn’t sign up for common politics, it’s just been gradually dripped down more and more and more until we’re at this stage where everything we do has to go through Brussels. But we never signed up for that, Maggie never signed up for that. It was a common trade agreement and that was all it was. As far as international trade goes, I don’t think we’ll have the slightest problem, there’s already countries falling over themselves trying to get trade agreements in place. It’s impossible to say how it will pan out in the long term, I am convinced that we will come out of this as a stronger country, standing on our own two feet.


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Anj, Cheshire

Director

Voted Leave

“I knew straight away what I wanted to do but before I actually filled in the form I listened to both sides of the argument, just to make sure I knew what I was doing was the right thing for me. I wanted independence for our country, not to stop immigration or anything like that, but something so we could have our set of rules because I felt we’d been gathered up into Europe when our country’s quite different to the Europeans. I just felt that if we could have our say back, there are so many laws that are applied to us in this country that I don’t think need to be, and I just felt it’d be better for us really and the way we spend our money and doing it on the basis of what we decide it needs to be used for rather than being told you can have a grant for this or you can do that or money can be spent on this city. I just felt it would be a better way of working really and with regards immigration, I would go for like the Australian system which already is applied in this country, partially, to countries like India, just because sometimes I think we do take in too many people that don’t really contribute to Britain. I know there’s going to be so much crap for the next few years but I always say you’ve got to have a bit pain before you get gain and that’s how I feel really.”


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Derric, Lancashire

Curtains/Blinds installer

Voted Leave

“When we signed up for the EU it was a good idea, we voted for closer trade ties, but we didn’t vote to become part of a federal Europe that’s crept up on us over the years until its become a problem. We’ve always been a proud nation and the idea of some unelected bureaucrats in another country telling us what to do doesn’t go down well with the older generation. I also think the powers that be were getting a bit too complacent and a bit too arrogant.”

“And of course immigration. They weren’t doing enough about it. You get to hear about people having problems putting their kids in schools and the infrastructure not being able to cope with a sudden influx of people, and then you get all the stories of how the people come here and they don’t integrate properly and the crime that goes on by immigrants, so all in all I voted to leave, just to shake it up a bit, see what could be done.”

“The economy didn’t bother me too much. I think we’re in quite a strong position at the moment. They keep telling us we got the strongest economy in Europe so I think that will take care of itself, it wasn’t such a big concern for me, it was just mainly immigration and finding a bit of our own sovereignty back, making our own decisions, especially on law and order and being able to deport people we think shouldn’t be here.”


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Colin, Surrey

Engineering Information Manager

Voted Remain

“I felt strongly that we should remain in the EU because I feel European as well as British. Being invested in close ties with one’s immediate neighbours necessarily means some compromise but being part of a wider community more inclusive is worth it.”

“I have been privileged to have lived and worked in France for 6 years (and subsequently a further 7 years in other countries around the world). I have seen first-hand the richness of cultural exchange in Europe and particularly between France and Germany, with individuals collaborating and behaving as Europeans, not tied to their own cultural boundaries. I want those opportunities to be available for my children also. I fear that Britain is shutting itself off from new opportunities by trying to rediscover its own identity in isolation rather than embracing a bigger more inclusive vision for itself as part of Europe.”


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Mei, Surrey

Engineer

Voted Remain

” I voted remain even though on the first instance I felt I should vote exit due to the overwhelming evidence that as a result of the EU, the rights of the Commonwealth citizen has diminished. Whilst this is true, further investigation led me to conclude that being in the EU opens opportunities for my children which otherwise will not be there.”


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Emma, Hampshire

Head of Fundraising & Marketing for Adoption Charity

Voted Remain

“My gut feeling at the start of the campaign was to remain in the EU and, the more I read arguments from both sides, the more I felt certain it was the right thing. We have it so good in this country. I thank my lucky stars every day for the feeling of security, hope, opportunity and support that many others around the world can only dream about. When I heard the result I was devastated. What on earth had we done? My overwhelming feeling was impending doom for our children, our economy and our future. Being in the EU wasn’t perfect but there were far more benefits than drawbacks. Its stronger to be in a team. Those that think we are better on our own have an over-inflated opinion of our own capabilities. I can only hope that I am wrong and that, for the sake of our children, Britain will survive this.”


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Adelaide, London

Teaching Assistant

Voted Remain

“Well for me it’s quite simple. First of all I don’t have enough information about what exactly they’re talking about and the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t. I don’t know what’s going to happen if we’re out, what’s the best thing for me, so I voted in. I think we’ve managed to live like this for so long, why change the way it is and what are the benefits, what are the pros and cons, no-ones able to tell you what it is. First it’s about Turkey coming and joining, then its something else or it’s about funding for the NHS. I’m not quite sure what its about, what’s the best thing for me, so I voted Remain.”


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Sandi, London

Nichiren Buddhist

Voted Remain

“I had to think long and hard about a decision about how I would vote. My first instinct was, yes, certainly remain because we need to go beyond the island mentality because we’re very connected to Europe whether we like it or not. On the other hand, I can definitely see both sides of the argument. In London, we’re a bubble, but outside London it’s different, so people are much more aware and affected perhaps by the media, they’re much more influenced by a media which basically tells them what other people want them to hear. The media has lied, but politicians have lied as well. I think when people realise that there will be quite a shock for many people but I’m quite optimistic that it will bring people together on a humanistic community level. Everyone, whatever they vote wants peace and happiness both on a personal and a collective level and I think we have to work with the humanistic aspect, both with ourselves and others.”


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Pat, London

Retired

Voted Leave

“The ruling classes always needed a large pool of cheap labour, in the past they’ve had it from the Irish, then they had it from the West Indians, now they’ve got it from the EU and that’s what they want to keep. There are now 3 million EU citizens in the UK. As far as I’m concerned they should stay, at least temporarily until they can do something about their circumstance. You can’t just boot them out. There are too many people working for the working class, in this country instead of with them and I think that is a major point.”


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Reg, London

Retired

Voted Leave

“The original referendum which was back in ’75 we supported going into the EEC as it was then on the basis that it was a power to equal at least that of the Russians and the Americans who were a threat at that time to the stability of Europe and since then Russia is not a threat any more, in the same sense and the question now of why America supports the question of staying in the EU is because they want the market. I appreciate the fact that there’s a large xenophobic element, particularly from a lot of the working class, because of the threat to their jobs which is being brought about by big business. Now there’s the question of the European pool of cheap labour and again, it’s a question of there’s a limit to how many people the country can take. We are in favour of decreasing population anyway by a question of population control so in the question of the number of people coming in to the country, whether you call them refugees or immigrants or whatever, there’s a limit to how many it can take. And I object most strongly to anybody being called a racialist who adopts that position of saying there is a limit to the number of people you can have in the country. That’s predominantly the reason.”

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6 thoughts on “Portraits

  1. I notice all the portraits were English. Here, in Northern Ireland, Brexit is seen a a vote by the English for the English. What frightens us here is a return to the Troubles as the Good Friday power sharing agreement will disappear (it is an EU brokered treaty). The new UK/EU land border can only be a “hard” border to respect the sovreignty of the UK and the EU. There are now international disputes over the Foyle Estuary and Carlingford Lough, and thousands of livelihoods along the border will be disrupted or destroyed as many have their residence on one side of the border, and place of work on the other. All this, in addition to economic, cultural, and academic impoverishment, no wonder we voted to remain. Then there’s the question of Scotland, which this Tory government is intent on ignoring.

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    1. Hi Colin, You’re right, so far all the portraits are English, or at least based in England. Unfortunately I don’t have any control over who decides to take part in my project but I am keen to represent as far and wide a demographic as possible. I have found people in Wales and Scotland who are willing to take part but nobody from NI yet. If you want to take part, please let me know and I will try and arrange a visit. Ideally I’d like to find a few people in NI. The idea behind my project is to try and open up a dialogue of understanding across all parts of the population who voted in the referendum. I also have to admit that funding is an issue for me with this project so I haven’t yet managed to travel to those parts of the UK which are further from where I’m based. I intend this to be a long term project with no defined completion date and with the possibility of returning to those involved after maybe 5 years to review their opinions. So if you’re interested in being a part of it, or know anyone else who would want to get involved, please get in touch.
      Best regards
      Steve

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      1. Steve, thanks very much for writing back. I’d be delighted to contribute to your project. I am a 53 year old ESOL lecturer at a local college and spent nearly 20 years living in Italy. I am the coordinator for Assessment and Enrolment for our students. I am waiting to hear if Brexit will affect my Italian pension contributions. Brexit is going to affect my life in many ways and I’d be very glad to have my voice heard. I think here we feel no one is listening to us. Very many thanks.

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