The Brexit Regret (breget) for many started as far back as 2016. At the time of the referrendum, bizzarre as it may seem, many who voted to leave the European Union did not actually want to leave the European Union. They simply wanted to make a point, a protest vote, a kick in the face to The Establishment. And then when these accidental winners became absorbed into the 52%, they became quietly furious about actually leaving the EU.
This opening few weeks of Brexit was a very special time which is often forgotten by Remainers. And who can forget the look of horror on the victors’ faces when they realised what they’d “won” on that fateful night?
By 2017 the reality had started to set in, and the apparent winners of the Brexit vote marched proudly on, becoming obsessed with obtaining a swift exit, waving aside the details and consciously blind of the obstacles ahead, of the total absence of any plan. Yet even now, there were many who quietly regretted the whole thing, never actually wanting this, only ever wanting to put in a protest vote. Those people went quiet.
By 2018 the movement for a People’s Vote was well underway, to force clarit and knowledge on what brexit actually was and logic speaking, stop it happening ove that clarity was revealed. Remainers were demanding a Final Say on whatever deal was reached for Brexit, with cancel the whole damned thing on the ballot paper. Even two years after the referrendum, Leave voters were in no small part stunned at what they’d unleashed. “I thought I’d put in a protest vote,” many were saying. “We didn’t want this.”
Soon, though the Bregret was impossible to voice, the momentum behind Brexit was ramping up (as things in politics often do nowadays), and by 2019 the voices of doubt were being well and truly drowned out.
A partial balance came with the RemainerNow movement on Twitter, a collective of open and honest ex-Leavers who saw the error of their ways, and were being welcomed in their hundreds to the insistent Pro-EU online community. Yet even as the Leave juggernaut barged its way through parliament, here on the ground, many real people and businesses weren’t quite in the same state determined of mind. Here in the real world, regret contnuied to build.
But, sovereignty. That lovely, comforting sovereignty. Surely it would make it all worthwhile?
Having fully left the EU at the start of 2021, the fantasy began to collide with the reality; Brexit started hurting people.
Brexit started hurting people.
The fishing community have been the first mass casualties of this financial harikiri. Entire generations of fishing businesses were wiped out overnight. Not far behind them in this tragic slide to ruin are hauliers and farmers. Not forgetting of course all of the other small businesses up and down the country who until now traded freely across EU borders for decades.
People like this, facing mass unemployment and poverty directly because of Brexit, will one day swell the ranks of Rejoiners and demand that we undo Brexit. And they will be welcome.