, 29 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
CONFESSIONS OF A "LIBERAL BREXITEER"

If the UK doesn't leave the EU I don't personally care anymore.

I don't really consider myself a "Brexiteer" now.

I used to have passion for Brexit. Though it was an enthusiasm for a certain vision of it. That died ages ago.

THREAD
This isn’t sudden. My friend & long-term ally @rolandmcs withdrew his support 07/18. We discussed it beforehand. I held off & continued to call for constructive & sensible solutions & trying to convince other Leavers.

But the crisis continues to deepen

A while back former Vote Leave staffer @OliverNorgrove switched to supporting Single Market membership & opened up discussions with Roland and I.

Yesterday he finally threw in the towel on this too:

I set out a vision for & argued for a “Liberal Brexit” & was openly supportive of free movement & the Single Market. My case for Brexit was based on false assumptions, bad political misjudgements & an overestimation of the government & political system’s ability to cope.
I didn’t sufficiently account for incompetence of govt; radicalisation of Brexiteers; LeaveVRemain becoming an intractable culture war; both sides becoming entrenched in their positions for 3 years with no compromise; Northern Ireland; Trump/Corbyn…& a shambolic election.
Retaining optimism for 3 years of relentless negativity has proved impossible. The last year has been particularly draining. Been fed up with the government, the opposition, MPs, the appalling national debate, hard Brexiteers & frustrated with myself for being a mug.
The last 3yrs has been a descent into mediocrity. Terrible PM. Worst govt in living memory. An appalling, morally repugnant, divided opposition with a Far-Left populist leader. A divisive national debate awash with false information…
We’ve seen Britain’s relations with its key allies deteriorate, the exposure of so many of our politicians as woefully inadequate, our Brexit strategy - the very height of ineptitude - has been an embarrassment. My pre-ref reassurances were humiliatingly wrong.
Worst of all, nationalistic attitudes are flourishing – manifesting in backlash against notion of retaining close ties with EU, silly anti-economic attitudes to regulatory alignment, preferential migration regime for EU nationals etc
Worst thing is EU nationals in the UK being treated as bargaining chips. How sad. The worst broken promise of Leave. Making these human beings with real lives feel insecure & unwelcome. This isn’t, or shouldn’t be, what Britain is all about!
I was part of a campaign warning about what a stupid idea leaving with no deal was before many others were. We got a lot of info out there, never believed we’d actually be contemplating it weeks before our membership expires!
So much for “global Britain” and “Liberal Brexit”, the voices of the small minded, the ignorant, the mis/ill-informed are amplified now. They need to be put back in their box for Brexit to actually work and Britain to slowly repair its reputation.
People will say, surely you saw this coming with the tone of the debate? And Liberal Brexiteers were essentially complicit in the anti-immigration/nationalistic rhetoric of the other campaigns. Well, what can I say? We were, but how did I justify this to myself in 2016?
I didn’t endorse by silence. I called out the xenophobia & lies. I thought this set me apart from them, I realise now that wasn't enough.

I just didn't think that negative vision would win out. It was partly a dumb understanding of how the politics would play out, but also…
I didn't get the culture war kicking off.

I was having a debate about how we are governed, the extent to which we should be integrated, supranationalism, democracy etc

It wasn't about that in the end. It was a culture clash.

I ended up in bed with a lot of of nasty ppl
I’ve had a crash course in British politics for 3-4 years, and people like @stephenkb have pointed out how flawed my assumptions were. It has played out according to the toxic splits in the Tory Party, compounded by the crisis in the Opposition.
The explanation for so many false assumptions? It’s because I was part of a campaign. A niche campaign with @rolandmcs among others (it also disintegrated rapidly afterwards & the individuals involved are all in v different places)
In 2015/16 I became involved in actively arguing for Brexit & in online campaigning. That was the end of objective analysis. I began to inhabit a bubble of my own making. In the bubble my own reasoning seemed more solid than it was. Doubts & concerns didn't penetrate the bubble.
Anyone can create a bubble for themselves & live in it. I did so via this single-minded focus on achieving an objective. I wish I had stood back from it.
If I had stood back and analysed it properly, might I have taken the same position as @davidallengreen? A post-Maastricht liberal Eurosceptic who went Remain because he considered that the risks were too high, govt likely to bungle & it would get too messy.

‘Well.’
I would have taken a pause for thought when @s8mb, considered and promoted “Liberal Leave” via the @ASI , but endorsed Remain because he knew that vision would not win Sound reasoning. The last 2 yrs could hardly be described as a victory for Liberalism, social or economic.
@ClarkeMicah also vindicated. He argued that it is for parliament to decide on such matters. The ref was a constitutional outrage bound to cause a crisis & be bad for UK. He didn’t participate in the ref despite deep Euroscepticism
Sadly, the referendum brought out the worst in Britain. It brought out the worst in a lot of people, including, sadly, myself. I’m a writer and I consider it important for my integrity to finally, explicitly, admit I made a lot of mistakes and said a lot of things that were wrong
It was always the case that there was a risk in turning over the table. Leave was revolutionary, and it came with no guarantees. I considered it a calculated risk. My calculations were off. Before the end of 2016, events had already turned against it turning out like i'd imagined
So, what now? I don’t support a second ref because our political system & MPs failed to cope with the first, they’re unlikely to do any better with a second. The debate will be twice as toxic too. Further thoughts below.

I think we should enhance the political declaration for a closer relationship or switch to the EEA.

However, if there WAS a second ref, I would not recommend giving Brexiteers another crack at this. They don’t deserve it. I’d just tell Brexit to shut up and go away.
Sorry to my reasonable Brexit supporting friends but I haven’t felt it for a long time now.

Sorry to everyone else for my small cameo in this too.

I no longer hear the music.
A thread on why I supported and voted for Brexit:

IN which the first tweet has a typo, typical
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