Two years on and Brexit is still going strong

By - Thursday 14th June, 2018

Twenty-four months after the EU referendum, where are we in Croydon?

Photo author’s own.

On 24th May Croydon’s Leave campaign team held a public meeting in Clyde Hall, Croydon, to discuss Britain’s opportunities outside the EU. The meeting had guest speakers Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, and London Assembly member, David Kurten. Each spoke followed by a Q&A, with much follow-up discussion afterwards.

Chris supported the Remain campaign in the referendum, but as a democrat was happy to speak about the path being taken by the government and support the majority vote. David, a former teacher in the borough, has been a long-time Brexiteer and the attendees used the opportunity in the Q&A to extend the discussion to encompass climate change and foreign interference in our politics.

What were those opportunities? Chris Philp spoke about the process of transition and the deal that the government is working on. Chris also spoke of his belief that the EU will want to do a deal on financial services due to, amongst other reasons, the depth of liquidity in London not found elsewhere in the EU. It was especially pleasing to hear Chris’s commitment in saying that Britain will have full control of its fisheries from 1st January 2021. Around the coast we have the prospect of a major industry that provides good, local, long-term jobs.

There will be increased employment opportunities for young people

David spoke about the increased employment opportunities for young people that will come with reduced immigration. David also talked about the reported £40 billion we are paying to leave the EU. He put this into context of the number of full football stadiums’ worth of wages that this represents. At an average salary of approximately £30,000, this is 6.9 years’ salary for every one of the 193,000 workers in the borough. It can also be seen as 52 years’ salary of everyone in full attendance at Selhurst Park. Whatever you think of Brexit, to pay £40 billion we need to gain an excellent deal in return; anything else would be little more than massive theft from the British people.

Sadly, as always today with political debate, we had people who tried to derail the meeting, with large bookings from fake accounts (it had no impact). Democracy is about supporting the validity of a result even when you lose. It is also about accepting others saying things that you don’t like. You don’t have to support, like or fund them, but it is critical that differing views can be aired in the public space.

The campaign for Brexit is two years on from the referendum and still going strong. More events are planned in the borough and it you’re interested please get in touch at . If you would like to know more about what was said, videos from the evening can be viewed online for Chris and David.

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 twelve years. During the referendum he was the Croydon Area Manager for Vote Leave, Now promoting Classical Liberalism and Freedom. Visit Croydon Constitutionalist for events and articles on Classical Liberalism in our area Former UKIP candidate for Croydon North and Croydon Council.

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  • Mark Johnson

    Excellent article. Don’t let the anti-democracy extremists win.

    • Michael Swadling

      Mark – thanks and yes agree this is now all about democracy, and the vote being fully implemented.

      • David Jupp

        As a remainer who reluctantly agrees that the vote should be adhered to in the name of democracy, I’m interested in what you think that entails? If the negotiations fail, and I’m not saying that will happen, but if they do and it becomes clear that Britain can not get a good deal, do you think that matters? Or is it Brexit means Brexit regardless of the impact

        Whilst I’m not happy with the result, I can definitely understand that the 52% are paranoid about the 48% trying to sabotage their sunlit uplands. It’s a divisive issue based in different visions for Britains place in the world. Vote Leave sold a future, which you have won the right to implement, if it becomes evident that this future is not realistic/not achievable is that something you could/will admit to or does the principle/victory outweigh the cost?

        • Michael Swadling


          Fair questions. Re the impact I believe it will be overwhelmingly positive. I’m not convinced any deal we do with the EU will be better than simply reverting to WTO terms. So if we don’t do a deal, fine. Many countries outside the EU (in essence on WTO terms) trade well with us today, so no reason why we being
          outside the EU we shouldn’t trade well with them on WTO terms.

          Your second question perhaps assumes the benefit / cost is financial. Surveys after the referendum suggest a significant number of people believed the Project Fear lies of economic armageddon but still voted to leave. Self-determination
          is of greater value to many than some future ‘loss’ due to lower economic growth. If of course once we have fully
          left, we are outside the Single Market, the Customs Union, and outside control of the ECJ, a party runs for parliament on a manifesto to hold a referendum to join the EU, wins a majority, wins the referendum, they can rejoin. I of course will campaign against that, but for Britain to be a functioning democracy we must first fully implement the last referendum result.


          • David Jupp

            I guess the important factor is how big a part socio-economic background plays in a Leave voters tolerance of an economic downturn. If the post industrial towns that voted so strongly for a change, don’t see a tangible positive difference in their lives after Brexit in the form of more jobs or less immigrants, and a decade of young people are now of voting age, that 4% will be a distant memory. Unfortunately for Britain, the ideologies at the core of Leave/Remain are integral to people’s beliefs. Unless post Brexit Britain really is tangibly better, we are going to have a very divided and angry little island to live on. You only have to look at USA right now for a taste. Even though I resent your campaign, and the reluctance for another referendum on the deal I do hope we get a Brexit that succeeds with minimum damage.

          • Michael Swadling

            Your comments are I believe a great display of the difference in fundamental beliefs between Leave and Remain voters. Your assumption is Brexit will have a negative economic impact. Th8is may come from the predictions of many leading
            business and finance organizations. These or course are the same people and groups who said we should join the ERM (it was a disaster), said we should join the EURO (it’s been a disaster for everyone except Germany), said no money down, 100% mortgages to people who couldn’t prove an income were AAA rated (it largely caused the financial crisis), and now they say we should stay in the EU – why would you believe them? If the government limits immigration, with a lower supply of labour wages will go up, this will most benefit those blue collar
            workers in postindustrial communities. The starkest difference between us however is your phase “we are going to have a very divided and angry little island to live on”. I, and I would say most Leave voters see the 6th biggest economy in the world, the country that spread democracy, stood alone against National Socialism, defeated French imperialism, used its
            blood and treasure to stop the international slave trade (to name but a few achievements) as an “angry little island”. I think we see us a great nation, with now we are leaving the EU, a greater future.

          • David Dreebin

            I am sure you are the David Jupp I know locally in Addiscombe and hope to see you again soon. Just to let you know that I entirely agree with all what you say. I am also a remainer, although I’m a bit reluctant for a second referendum or “people’s vote”, not least because the swing to Remain does not appear to have changed very significantly in Croydon or nationally. I understand Michael Swadling’s argument on democracy and about, strictly speaking, having to adhere to it.

            However, I think the public were ‘sold a pup’ by the Leave campaign if not the constant “campaigning” during the couple of decades before by various tabloid newspapers. I disagree with Michael’s implication that a vote to leave the EU means a utter and complete break from the European Union, and think that some sort of deal, even Theresa May’s very poor deal, is better than no deal. As you have said, I hope that we do get a Brexit that succeeds with minimum damage to Britain. Time is certainly running out, though.

          • David Jupp

            I’m guessing you deleted your post referencing the achievements of the British Empire? I would agree with you that that is the stark difference between the two ideologies. From purely anecdotal experience of the Remain crowd I am friends with, our vision for Britain’s future is outward facing, as part of a European community where we don’t see immigrants as competition/a drain on society rather as valuable members of a multicultural melting pot Britain. Rather than remove immigrant competition, the Government regulates industry to prevent the undercutting of established trade/etc wages and big corporations exploiting a race to the bottom economy.

            There is nothing wrong with being proud of British heritage but your list made no reference to the ills of colonialism or the racist and exploitative attitudes of the Empire that are rearing their head again in these populist times. Also, we did not stand alone, the Russians won the war, regardless of how loony their current government is you can not deny them that achievement. I am proud of all that Britain has achieved but I don’t see the uplands in regressing back to a bygone era complete with its backwards attitudes. This whole assumption that anyone who criticises Brexit or Britain is ‘doing us down’ is just a convenient way to shut down any discussion or challenge from the 48%. It is no better than some of my leftie tribe crying ‘racist’ whenever anyone mentions tradesmen being undercut by Polish immigrant competition.

          • Michael Swadling

            I didn’t delete I assume it’s some over zealous moderator did. In fact I reposted it but it’s gone again. I think the empire had many ills but wasn’t also the more
            Liberal empire in all of human history – of that we should be proud. This gives a good idea The EU is a protectionist club. If you want a modern open country look to Brexit with a plan to step out from a protectionist wall and join the world.

  • Nigel Davey

    Your point about the fishing industry – may I comment on this? With 75% of the fish caught by the UK fleet being exported (much to the EU), how much of this market do you believe will remain after we leave? As the majority of the fish consumed in the UK is imported, how are we going to convert UK palettes to eating the species that are landed in the country? If we don’t do that, it doesn’t matter whether we have full control.

    • Michael Swadling

      Thanks for commenting – a few thoughts on this.
      - why wouldn’t we continue to export 75% to the EU or other countries?
      - If we do face more difficult trade with the EU / some tariffs. We would likely export less but still near to 75% to them.
      - Lots of the fish imported may well be caught in British waters and landed abroad so that would now become domestic consumption.
      - If it’s harder to export to the EU, it will likely be harder to import. This in turn will encourage consumption of domestic fish.
      - If we had a surplus still of fish that would increase supply on the domestic market. In turn prices would fall and consumers would be more tempted to buy British fish.
      - Over time as we sign more free trade deals we can export more fish (now at cheaper prices with lower tariffs) to other markets outside the EU.

  • Bernard Dainton

    That Brexit is practically harmful – particularly economically – is obvious to anyone who isn’t hopelessly naive. The least harmful option would be to stay in the EU; given that is off the table, the next least harmful is the so-called Norway option of staying in the Customs Union and Single Market, but having no say over them. The draw back is that makes us rule-takers rather than rule-makers.

    The further we get away from the Norway option the more economically harmful it will be. A so-called ‘No deal’ Brexit – with no agreement reached with the EU about anything at all – would lead to immediate disaster. For example, all flights from Britain to Europe are governed by EU rules, flights to the US and much of the rest of the world by an EU policy called Open Skies. If we left the EU without a deal on this, then all flights out of the UK would become illegal on 29th March next year. And there are many other aspects of our economy that are likewise governed by EU rules, that if no replacements are in place by next March will cause complete gridlock. So bad would the situation be that I am convinced (?) that the government would rather give in to all the EU’s demands than leave without a deal.

    And that’s to say nothing of the issue of the Irish border, or that the EU’s raison d’être is to so integrate the economies of Europe that they can never go to war with each other again.

    That Brexit is morally wrong takes a bit more thinking about, but is equally the case in my opinion. So far as I can see Brexit seems to be mostly motivated by a mixture (in varying quantities in different Brexit voters, to be sure) of
    * xenophobia – dislike of too many foreigners
    * nostalgia – hankering after a golden age in the past that never was
    * selfishness – an unwillingness to share the benefits of our wealth with other members of the EU (even though it is in our interests so to do, as the only effective way to reduce immigration from Eastern Europe is to develop those countries so that their standard of living doesn’t drive their brightest and best to the West)
    * pride – that we are somehow superior to all the other EU countries
    * solipsism – a desire to be self-contained rather than being willing to cooperate with others.
    None of these are Christian virtues – indeed many of them are generally considered sins. The only motivation others have suggested that seems to me remotely positive is righteous anger at the corruption of the EU, and/or the negative effects of EU policy on parts of the UK – anger which while probably justified seems to me to be misdirected. If anyone can suggest any more reputable motives for Brexit, please let me hear them!

  • Charles Barber

    I find it very hard to believe how you think Brexit is progressing well. We have a cabinet that is divided and completely incompetent, a Prime Minister that seems to have no idea about how to conduct the negotiations and most politicians seem to be either living in cloud cuckoo land or too scared to say what they really think. Surely if you believe that Brexit will be a disaster for the country, you have a right and perhaps even a duty to try and persuade both the government and the people to change their minds. There are many things that the EU and our government do that I disagree with, but in a world of increasing nationalism, the ideal of neighbouring countries working together in a free trade zone is one that is still worth struggling for. I fear that those that think the grass is somehow greener the other side of the EU fence, may if we continue down the current wretched path, be in for a very rude awakening.

    • Michael Swadling

      “you have a right and perhaps even a duty to try and persuade both the government and the people to change their minds” fully agree. However we have had the vote already. Leave won, and therefore for Britain to maintain being a democracy we must fully leave.

      • Charles Barber

        Except we live in a representative democracy. We didn’t have a referendum on whether we should have a referendum. The reason we have a parliament is so that we have people who we trust to make the right decisions on our behalf. The problem with the referendum on the EU is that people did not know what they were voting for – it is clear that the politicians and people who support Brexit are completely divided over what sort of Brexit we should have. ‘Brexit means Brexit’ must be one of the most inane comments that Teresa May has uttered, especially as she had no idea when she said it, what exactly Brexit meant. The most sad and worrying aspect about this whole political mess is that there do not seem to be enough politicians who are willing to be honest with the British people about what Brexit is likely to mean. Of course if we had a more democratic democracy with proportional representation, perhaps the Lib Dems might be able to lead us out of this quagmire. The only certainty at present is that very few people or poiticians will emerge from this foul-smelling pit of manure, smelling of roses.

        • Michael Swadling

          50.1% of the votes in the 2015 election went to Tories, DUP or UKIP, all three committed to a referendum or leaving the EU. Parliament who as you say “we trust” (not sure I agree), trusted us to make the decision, hence they voted for the referendum and voted to invoke Article 50 after the referendum. We had a referendum on a form of PR and few wanted it. The LibDems have decided democracy doesn’t matter I would be surprised if they ever come back in any sort of power again. It appears you don’t like Brexit, you think it’s a mess, I don’t (the government is but Brexit isn’t). Either way, what we do was settled in the vote in 2016. Once Brexit has been fully implemented, people might hate it, they should form or join a party planning a new referendum, run for office with this in the manifesto, win a majority, run a referendum, win it, then re-join the EU, I hope that doesn’t happen but that’s democracy. We simply cease to be a democracy until the democratic vote of the people has been fully implemented.

          • Charles Barber

            Brexit hasn’t happened yet and people do often change their minds. The only reason the referendum was called in the first place was because Cameron thought that he’d win the vote and it would get the Brexit Tories off his back. If as looks likely we end up with a deal that is liable to damage our economy and the future prosperity of the country, don’t you think the people have a right to decide whether they want that particular type of Brexit or not ….. or as Brexiteers are so concerned about restoring the sovereignty of our own parliament, presumably you’re happy to let the politicians in Westminster decide. Democracy like Brexit has many forms and I could make a very good case for claiming that the German system of government is far more democratic than ours. By the way, I didn’t actually say that we trust parliament, but was trying to suggest that we have usually been happy to let politicians make decisions on our behalf, with the knowledge that it might be possible to remove them if we think they’ve made a complete cock-up of things. Part of the perks of living in a democracy is that people have a right to say what they think is best for the country. The Lib Dems have said that they believe people have a right to a second vote when they know what Brexit actually consists of. If that’s anti-democratic, then I’m a giraffe.

          • Michael Swadling


            People can change their minds, Brexit was for the 17.4 million not just the Tories. For us to remain a democracy the vote of the people must be implemented.

          • Charles Barber

            But which particular Brexit were they voting for? Surely it’s just as valid to say for us to remain a democracy people should have a right to vote on the outcome of the negotiations. Why are you so happy for people to have a vote on something when they don’t really know what it is, but not happy for people to have a vote when they can see the clear implications of what they’re voting for. Surely if you are so confident that you can show that Brexit will be good for the country, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
            I’d much rather be a giraffe than an ostrich.

          • Michael Swadling

            There isn’t a type of Brexit. Brexit is the British exit from the European Union. This is the United Kingdom becoming a nation fully outside the EU, this has already been voted for on 23rd June 2016. You appear to have fallen for the lies that suggest there is a type of Brexit and we have a need for negotiations. We can, should have, and voted for simply leaving the EU. You don’t get to change the terms of the vote after its happened. Re “they don’t really know what it is” I fear you have made the mistake of judging others by your own lack of knowledge. The largest vote in British history happened because people were motivated to vote, wanted to vote for Britain and knew what they were voting for.