1 year after Brexit, British public still has mixed thoughts

Almost a year has passed since the UK left the EU, but conflicting views on whether it was a necessary step for the country or a complete mistake are still shared by the public.

1 year after Brexit, British public still has mixed thoughts

Following the June 2016 referendum, in which voters decided to leave the bloc in a 52% to 48% vote, Britain left the union officially on Jan. 31, 2020.

Thanks to a one-year transition period after the official departure, the British public had felt almost none of the effects of the historic decision as the UK still followed the EU rules during that time. However, all sides have now witnessed what Brexit really meant for the country.

A recent poll suggested that six out of every 10 voters think Brexit went badly or worse than they had expected.

Anadolu Agency spoke to the British public on what they think of Brexit now.

‘Absolute disaster’

Silvia Zamperini, a regular to anti-Brexit protests held every Wednesday in front of the parliament, thinks the decision was an "absolute disaster."

"You couldn't find food on the shelves. There was a problem with petrol," she said.

"When there's no free movement and you've got a lot of barriers, then you got a problem with importing goods. And as well, you don't have the workforce collecting fruits in the fields, for example, or driving the lorries," she added, referring to some of the problems British industries have faced after Brexit.

She argued that many of the jobs that "people say are stolen from the foreigners are jobs that British people don't want to do because they're menial jobs."

"I just think it is a disaster. We told them that and then they don’t believe it. So at the end of the day, we're just watching it falling apart..."  

Northern Ireland

Describing the leading Conservative Party as "corrupt," Wendy Nowak said the British public was yet to see the Russia report, which she believes shows Russian meddling in the Brexit vote.

"It was the Russian involvement in our referendum (and) that (report) has not been released yet ... They are going to end up in court."

She said the triggering of Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which would end the protocol unilaterally -- a threat by the government on its demands to change the protocol -- would make things worse for the people of the region.

Nowak said: "They're not suffering quite as much as we are at the moment because of the Northern Ireland protocol. It's going to cause a lot of unrest in Ireland. And the Northern Ireland protocol to ease relationships between northern and southern Ireland. If the Good Friday agreement goes down, there is going be unrest there."  

Brexit 'destroys’ the country

"The facts are so clear," Paul Truim, a pro-EU voter who is married to a Finnish citizen said.

"And this prime minister and his government have been so destructive and hurtful to this nation," he added.

“Not only have they acted like idiots and made stupid decisions, it's not funny anymore. It's what I've got written here. It's just destroying the country. I mean, Brexit split the country in two. They made it so tribal. And unfortunately, we're carrying on. But I won't stop. I'll never stop."  

Sovereignty

One pro-Brexit citizen thinks it was good for the country to be sovereign as "our elected representatives in parliament are directly responsible to us."

"And we haven't got any other organizations trying to come in on that. They need our MPs. Members of parliament are responsible to us, the voters, and that's how it should be," said Suzan.

"We don't want any other organizations external to that," she added.

She said: "I mean, I'm feeling good about it. I'm pleased that we are a free nation, that we can make our own decisions. And so that makes me feel good about it. So that's a positive development for me."

"Yeah, I think the economy, just reading in the newspaper this morning is definitely doing well. And I think we've got a lot of things that we are discussing in parliament that we are saying. We are going to take that decision. We wouldn't have been able to take that decision if we were in the EU. But now, we can." 

'Brexit will work in the future'

Penny Laon, another person who supported Brexit, thinks that "people had it" because businesses and industry decided on "who would run Europe," rather than democratically elected representatives.

"I didn't want the choices being made on behalf of the UK to be made by people that weren't elected into that position by the people that they represented."

She added: "I'm actually very glad of our democratic parliament and the way that the vaccines were rolled out and the way that they are divided amongst, the people, fairly. And I know that in Europe, they had a lot more problems with vaccinations and getting hold of them and the government approving them."

"Brexit will work in the future," she added.

"I know obviously there are downsides like the trade deals and various things like this. But, I always believed that when the UK entered what was then the common market it was for trade and we kind of almost went sleepwalking into the whole EU business, which was more of a democratic republic of Europe, which wasn't what we voted for in the first place," she added.

"And I think post-Brexit, we're going to go back to actually having proper trade deals with other countries and that, I think, will be a benefit for us."

Hüseyin Demir

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