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Sore losers in Remain were blind to UK's ingrained Euroscepticism

By Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 25/06/2016

Britain is split right down the middle. Half of us wanted to leave the European Union, and half of us wanted to remain. In the end, those who wanted to get out slightly edged it.

That's been the official interpretation of Thursday's historic referendum vote.

You can chalk it up as yet another thing that the political and media class in the UK have got spectacularly wrong.

Those who loathe the EU in Britain far outnumber those who feel any affection for it.

The percentage who actually voted in favour of independence may "only" have added up to 52%, but there are millions of others among Remain supporters who feel exactly the same way about Europe - they just couldn't bring themselves to take a leap in the dark when push came to shove.

I should know. I'm one of them.

My heart was always for Brexit. The EU is a bloated, complacent, autocratic and anti-democratic institution whose treatment of small peripheral nations in economic trouble has been shameful.

Its arrogant refusal to admit that it needed fixing was only further proof that this vainglorious project was fundamentally unreformable.

Having said that, I'm also risk-averse and innately conservative with a small 'c', not to mention worried about the implications for Northern Ireland.

Project Fear worked on me. With little enthusiasm, I voted to Remain.

The reaction to Thursday's vote has done little to reassure me, however, about the decency of Remain supporters.

Those who voted to leave the EU are being viciously pilloried as stupid, unsophisticated, reactionary, racist. They've even been denounced for being too old. How dare the over-50s have an opinion about the future direction of their own country!

Don't they realise that the under 25s are all passionate pro-Europeans who should automatically get their own way, despite the fact that practically every comfort they enjoy is paid for by the selfsame wrinklies that they're casually disparaging and whose life experience surely ought to count for something and be respected?

Now they've also turned on Prime Minister David Cameron (left) for calling a referendum at all, because it delivered the "wrong" result.

This is exactly what you'd expect from self-satisfied elites who think they know better than everyone else and have a divine right to run our lives. That's why they hate referendums.

On Thursday, the voices of the great and the good had no more weight than anyone else's.

Those with letters after their name, who've done quite nicely out of Europe, thank you very much, were forced to endure the ultimate indignity of realising that they had no more say in the future direction of the country than a welder in the West Midlands, a fisherman in Falmouth or a farmer in Fermanagh.

These masters of the universe still don't get it even now, wringing their hands and wondering how a Leave vote could have happened, when it's blindingly obvious to anyone who bothered to lift the blinkers that Britain has been naturally, deeply Eurosceptic for decades.

It's just that this was the first time ordinary people had the chance to express it.

If you seriously believe that a democratic vote is something to be embarrassed about, then you're part of the problem.

We ended up here because our so-called betters didn't listen. They're still not listening.

Belfast Telegraph

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