For most of the UK’s five decades as a member of the European Union, Britain didn’t want to leave. On the contrary, most Brits wanted us to stay.
What’s the proof of that? Well, apart from polling over the years, look at governments and general elections.
- From 1959 to 2016, every UK government and every UK Prime Minister strongly wanted Britain to be a member of the European Community.
Since we joined the European Community in 1973 right up to 2016, at every general election, all the main parties wanted us to stay in the EU, with just one exception.
- What was the exception?
It was the general election of 1983, when Labour’s manifesto – described then as ‘the longest suicide note in history’ – pledged to get Britain out of the European Community.
Labour lost that election by a huge landslide. Arch Eurosceptic, Tony Benn, lost his Bristol seat.
- Since then, Leaving was a minority call on the far side lines of British politics for most of our decades of membership.
Just two years before the referendum, in 2014, Ipsos UK polling showed that Britain’s support for wanting to remain in the EU was the highest it had been in 23 years – 56% in favour of remain, just 36% for leave, as reported at the time by The Guardian.
- This, despite the apparent rise of UKIP, that the Tories and Labour seemed so scared about.
A year later, in 2015, the Ipsos poll showed that support for continued EU membership was even higher – a staggering 61% in support of remaining, with just 27% supporting leave, as reported by The Independent.
What does this all mean?
- It means that many, if not most, of those who voted Leave in the 2016 referendum would have voted Remain just a year or two earlier.
Somehow, in the months, weeks and days leading up to the referendum, many of those who previously would have supported Remain were cajoled and convinced to switch to Leave.
- Of course, many of them now realise that they were conned with lies and false promises in what was a fundamentally flawed referendum.
Eventually, truth will prevail. It usually does.
It’s becoming increasingly, painfully, and shockingly obvious that Brexit cannot deliver its promised land, and that Britain – and Britons – were better off being in the EU.
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