My Brexit: Written on 27 March 2019
The title of this piece may possibly cause all you, my readers, to click elsewhere - but please read on and you may be surprised, because I am just as sick of non-stop Brexit news as you probably are.
I didn't vote in any general election before my retirement from the RAF in 2001. There were several reasons for that, the main one being that I was never able to register to vote since I never knew where I would be on voting day. In any case, as a serving member of the RAF I never took much interest in politics. I did once, very early in my RAF career before I was commissioned, register my Dad as my proxy for one election and I asked him to cast my proxy vote for the Conservative candidate. The Labour candidate in Wakefield in those distant days was always elected with a huge majority over the Conservative candidate. My Mum told me, next time I was at home, that Dad had not turned out to vote. He would undoubtedly have voted Labour but he would have followed my wishes and used my proxy for the Conservative candidate so the two votes would have cancelled out.
After I retired and moved back permanently to Wakefield in Spring 2001, I voted at each election as they cropped up, as much for the novelty as for any real allegiance to a particular party. By now Wakefield had several wards rather than just a single one. By the time I reached my 75th birthday in 2010, I decided not to exercise my vote again. I now firmly believe that no-one should have the vote after their 75th birthday. Why? Because decisions about the way the country, or local council, is run should be restricted to those who are most likely to be directly affected by the results. At the same time and for the same reason, I would like to see the minimum voting age to be reduced to 17 and eventually to 16 years.
After months of pondering, and increasingly disgusted at the fake news and the party-political machinations, I did vote in the EU Referendum on 23 June 2016. I was one of the 16,141,241 citizens who voted Remain. Why did I vote Remain? I thought it was obvious that the EU leaders would do everything they could to thwart a majority UK Leave vote, because they were afraid that our departure would encourage other EU member nations to follow suit. Furthermore, I seem to have been one of the very few who also realised that the Northern Ireland border question (and to a lesser extent the Gibraltar border problem) would almost certainly prove to be crucial – and insurmountable.