Brexit: a brighter future for a great town


By - Monday 25th July, 2016

Fed up with doomsaying and wanting to respond to concerns about Brexit, Leave campaigner Michael Swadling offers some optimism, and reflects on the referendum in Croydon


The 23rd June was a great day for British democracy. The people stood up against all sides of the establishment and voted to make a fundamental change to our constitution, once again making Britain a sovereign state.

In Croydon, Remain won a majority of the votes, but a joint Leave Campaign which saw Vote Leave, Grassroots Out, Leave.EU and UKIP work as one team outperformed all expectations with 47% of the vote. All three Croydon MPs campaigned for Remain, the Labour council voted unanimously in April in support of remaining in the EU, and while Steve O’Connell (Croydon & Sutton’s London Assembly member) supported Leave, he did not take part in any of the official Leave campaign events in the borough. Remain had the support of almost all the Croydon establishment, yet Leave still ran them close.

We constantly found ethnic minority voters among our most passionate supporters

Of course, now we see the Remain team nationally and locally continue with a campaign of fear. In a tweet, Gavin Barwell, described Leave as “the politics of hate and division”. Thousands of his constituents voted Leave.

I truly believe the relative success of leave in Croydon was due to being the happier side. We ran a positive grassroots campaign, held seven public meetings paid for by the speakers. We held regular street stalls for months, telling people about the bright future if we Leave. Our team in Crystal Palace found itself called fascist and racists generally by people best described as middle class whites, whilst we constantly found ethnic minority voters among our most passionate supporters. In the end, we had fun campaigning for a bright future. In comparison, for instance, no one truly knows why Chris Philp changed from a Eurosceptic to a Remain campaigner. I believe many in Remain simply followed orders – and that shone through.

Now the people have spoken, the real question is ‘what of our future in Croydon?’ House prices are a massive concern. We now have the opportunity to control the number of people coming into the country. With this, house prices should start to stabilise (the Remain campaign said they would fall). In time, less of the outgoing of the people of Croydon should be spent on property. We haven’t had the primary school places we need for the past 5 years, and that problem is now rolling into the secondary sector. A stabilised population can now allow us to plan for this.

Croydon’s businesses are about to be free to focus on doing business

Economic gloom is easy to find now, but Croydon can prosper from Brexit if it embraces the freedom to be dynamic that comes with it. The vast majority of Croydon businesses operate entirely inside the UK. I am confident once we finally leave the EU they will be less burdened by regulation and be able to focus on doing business. Not on having to follow the latest EU diktat. We are now on a path to be free to make trade deals or simply lower tariffs with the queue of counties who already want to deal with us. These are the world’s growing economies, not the stagnant ones in the EU.

One campaign promise from the Remain side I hope turns out to be true is President Obama’s threat to put us to the back of the queue. If his queue is for the affront to democracy that is TTIP, I would rather not be in line at all. Thankfully we have removed that peril to our NHS and sovereignty by voting Leave.

Britain has a great opportunity to once again be a confident, global trading nation. We should be proud we are a country where the establishment can be so thoroughly rejected. Let us hope in Croydon that all sides of the political establishment will start to reflect the views of the 47% of our community who voted Leave. Now more than ever, Croydon needs community and business leaders who will embrace the exciting opportunities Brexit brings.

Michael Swadling

Michael Swadling

Michael works in the IT Industry for and has lived in Croydon all of his life. He has been a governor in local schools for over ten years. During the referendum he was the Croydon Area Manager for Grassroots Out, Leave.EU and Vote Leave. He is a member of UKIP campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union and he was the UKIP candidate for Croydon North in 2017. The Croydon Leave campaign can be followed on Facebook.

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  • Michael Swadling

    A correction Leave got 45.7% of the vote in Croydon (not 47% as above). Am getting corrected.

    Also worth noting we now have the ward figures and a majority of votes in Croydon Central were for Leave.

  • Anne Giles

    I think it is quite insulting to suggest that Remain voters were following orders. We do have brains, actually. The result of the referendum was a complete disaster for many of us. We want to continue our free healthcare in Europe. We want our British friends who work in Europe to be able to stay there. We want the Europeans who work here to be able to stay as well. I don’t want my half Slovakian greatniece to have to obtain a visa to study or work in Europe when she is older. Europe is important to us. The World is not.

    • Michael Swadling

      I was referring to the Remain campaigners following orders not the voters.

      Amazing that you consider the billions of people and all the races, countries and cultures of the world outside Europe not important. Seems very narrow minded to think only of Europe.

      • Anne Giles

        The campaigners were not following orders at all. That is quite insulting to them. All countries are important, but my main interest is in Europe. I will not be travelling any further.

        • Michael Swadling

          Anne – you may like to re-read the artical and note the use of the word ‘many’ rather than saying all remain campaigners as you have implied.

          You did say the world was not important, is this now the official Selsdon conservative view???
          I appricate you have now restated.

          Your choice to travel in Europe and the need of the U.K. to be in the EU seem strange things to conflate. You can still travel, but we don’t need a customs union, open boarders, or unelected commissioners passing our laws. Still thankfully we voted to leave all that behind.

          • Anne Giles

            Why would my view be the official Selsdon Conservative view? I am hardly that important in the party. I am an individual. I have my own views.

          • Michael Swadling

            Anne I’m sure you do I was just using it as a way to point out (I think) you are on the Executive Committee of Selsdon conservatives. I wonder if your concerns are based on this artical pointing out some rather instilling comments from a Croydon Conservative MP?

          • Anne Giles

            I once was on the Executive Committee, but not now. Anyway, I don’t think Gavin’s comments were insulting at all.

          • Michael Swadling

            Nothing insulting about Gavin saying the majority of his constituents voted for the “politics of hate and division” this man is paid by the taxpayer to represent all the people of croydon central, yet he thinks most voted for hateful and devisive views. You don’t find that insulting?

            I think the other side is wrong not bad, clearly you, and Gavin think otherwise I frankly pity you for that.

          • Anne Giles

            I don’t pity myself though!

          • Michael Swadling

            No despite your view of others I suspect you don’t

  • Robert Andersen

    Upbeat article and nice to hear Brexiters still being optimistic and positive despite The Great Sulk from some remainers. I now know of people who were borderline remainers and now would vote leave based on the reaction of remainers in general- they simply don’t want to be associated with some of the behaviour we’ve seen (and been shocked by), and as good news keeps rolling in on the economy, people queuing to do trade deals and booming exports, they are also asking why the ‘experts’ were so wrong?
    Of course, it is a disgrace that politicians label so many in their own constituency as racist and divisive… the irony being of course that it is their own comments that are divisive! And whose the racist when it is ethnic minorities voting to leave?
    Interestingly, it would be great to know who financed Mr Barwell’s remain meetings- the local rate payer, or was it expenses. One thing is for sure, he didn’t finance it out of his own pocket I bet, showing the real depth of his ‘passion’ to remain…

    • Michael Swadling

      Robert – that’s a good questions we paid for our meetings for Leave from our own pockets.

      I wonder if any Conservatives or Remain campaigners know if the Remain campaign paid for Gavin’s public meetings or if these were MP expenses and the taxpayer did?