In common with a lot of life choices we make (please feel free to insert your own questionable past decisions in these brackets) it seemed like a good idea at the time.
We could take back control of our borders, decide on our own rules of law and negotiate independent trade deals. In short, we could cock a snook at johnny-foreigner and at last extricate ourselves from the political and economic equivalent of a one-sided emotional relationship where we’d continually been under the thumb of a more powerful and dominant partner who frequently forced us into submission; resulting in us feeling helpless, inadequate and downtrodden.
Once the over-inflated divorce settlement was finalised (and we don’t even get to keep the Charles Aznavour record collection) we’d be in a position to break away from the chains of a stifling marriage. We could revisit old relationships and create new friendships with those who genuinely loved us for our quirks and eccentricities. We’d be able to do what we wanted, when we wanted and with whom we wanted and we’d never have to ask anyone’s permission. Ever again.
Yes, Britain could once more be Great. Cue a stirring Benjamin Britten soundtrack over nostalgic David Lean style images of Empire.
Yet with the two-year anniversary of the referendum fast approaching, anyone who voted to exit the EU has perilously little to celebrate.
By this stage of the proceedings, a completed deal should have been on the horizon with us truly on our way to reclaiming our mantle as a pre-eminent nation state. The kind others used to look up to and wanted to be. The only problem is that the good Ship Sovereignty has barely left port having already run aground several times. To make matters worse, at any moment, the vessel’s Captain, Boris Johnson, may find himself thrown overboard. What then? Will it be all but over for the brave Brexiteers?
With the mutineers gathering in number and becoming ever more vocal, a great many Leavers are beginning to question whether their decision to go was indeed the correct one in the first place.
But are their jitters justified and are they right to regret their original course of action? Was this, as politicians such as Vince Cable would have us believe, simply a protest vote too far? In reality did we really just want to give the Euro bureaucrats a jolly good scare and implement a few stricter immigration controls?
The view increasingly being peddled by the naysayers both here and in Brussels appears to be that as country we are facing a potential nightmare of epic, almost Biblical, proportions. Therefore, you can’t escape the feeling that with each meeting, each statement and each leaked revelation, everything is being done to secretly water down any agreement as much as possible. If Brexit were a barman, it might be accused of deliberately making the drinks weaker and weaker. Which is far from perfect when we could soon be in need of a very stiff drink.
However, if everything does go wrong and we’re left to drown our collective sorrows, at least let it be because we made the fateful decision on our own. Not because we allowed a select group of ‘running scared’ individuals to make it for us.
Lest they forget, the job of any elected official is to carry out the wishes of the men and women who put them into power. Those who wish to stop the process altogether and are, dear God, seriously pressing for a second referendum need to remember the following: The people have long since spoken. It’s now time for the MPs and party leaders to shut up and carry out the wishes of the democratic majority with a degree of dignity and good grace.
So, as the whole sorry mess painfully edges towards some sort of eventual conclusion, was I a berk for voting Brexit? Well, perhaps I was.
If and when the NHS falls further into decline due to a staffing crisis, I’ll gladly acknowledge that I’m in some way to blame. If and when tariffs result in the cost of cars and others goods soaring in price, I’ll admit to being a tiny bit responsible. If and when Sterling falls to its lowest value in years, others will be at liberty to point their admonishing finger in my direction and say: “We told you so”.
Equally though, if and when none of these calamitous events actually happen. If and when the complete opposite turns out to be true and we enter a period of unprecedented calm, prosperity and happiness, maybe I and the millions of others who also didn’t vote to remain in the EU won’t be such berks after all.
Mind you, Theresa May will still be a bloody idiot for calling that election.