Young people voting on a lark; “protest votes”; a feeling of betrayal by the leaders of the Leave campaign; sudden realization of what a Brexit really means.
Many people in the UK who voted “Leave” are having feelings of regret over their vote. So many, that a new tag has been invented: Regrexit.
“I Didn’t Think My Vote Would Count”
The now-infamous “Adam from Manchester” has become the unwilling poster boy for those of his generation who voted “Leave” on a lark, telling the BBC: “I’m shocked that we actually have voted to leave. I didn’t think that was going to happen. My vote, I didn’t think was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain.” He added, “The David Cameron resignation has blown me away to be honest and the period of uncertainty that we’re going to be magnified now so yeah, I’m quite worried.”
The Independent reports Electoral services workers claim to have received calls from people asking if they could change their vote after Friday’s result became clear.
Voting As A Prank
Some voters, especially younger ones, seem to have voted Leave because it seemed to be the “cool” thing, giving no thought to the consequences. Twitter became crowded with Regrexit posts. For example, Tom Walker posted: “I think I kinda regret my vote. I had no real reason to pick what I did!”
BBC reporter Louisa Compton was in Manchester the morning after the vote, asking people who chose Leave how they felt about their vote. She noted on Twitter “most told us they woke up thinking “what have I done?” & didn’t actually expect the UK to leave”
“We Were Lied To!”
Many voted Leave on the promises by Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage that the UK would save £350 million a week by leaving the EU, and that the money could be used to strengthen the National Health Services. Johnson went as far as touring the nation in a big red bus with “We send the E.U. £350 million a week, let’s fund our N.H.S. instead” painted on the side. That promise was taken back the morning after the vote by Johnson, and the night before by Farage, when it was certain that Leave would win the referendum. The Leave website has been scrubbed of any mention of any of the major selling points sold to voters. Nick Cohen, in Saturday’s The Guardian, lit into Leave leaders, decrying their charlatanism to an audience finally ready to hear.
However, it was the bilked voters who took to social media who were the strongest voices. Twitter user Khembe Gibbons has been widely quoted: “I personally voted leave believing these lies and I regret it more than anything, I feel genuinely robbed of my vote.”
Even Leave Cheerleaders Having Second Thoughts
Former editor of The Sun newspaper Kelvin MacKenzie was a vocal cheerleader for the Leave campaign, even penning an article for his former paper titled “Ten Reasons Why You MUST Vote Brexit”. However, he now says that he’s afraid he’s made a mistake:
“When I put my cross against leave I felt a surge as though for the first time in my life my vote did count. I had power.
“Four days later, I don’t feel quite the same. I have buyer’s remorse. A sense of be careful what you wish for. To be truthful, I am fearful of what lies ahead.”
The Triumph(?) Of The Low-Information Voter
Much of the outpouring of Regrexit is coming from Leave voters who did not even know what they were voting for. Google reported that eight hours AFTER the polls closed, searches in the UK for “what happens if we leave the EU” spiked 250% in one hour.
By the morning after the vote, the top searches in the UK regarding the European Union were:
Getting A Do-Over?
People suffering from Regrexit, and Remain voters eager to help them make amends, have been feverishly signing an online petition to Parliament for a “do-over.” The text of the petition reads: “We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum.” Over 3.8 million people have signed the petition so far.
The curious wording comes from the fact that the petition was started last month, far before the vote. Ironically, the petition was started by a Leave voter who was certain that Remain would win, and wanted an escape clause to give Brexit a second chance. Claiming his petition has been “hijacked” by Remain supporters, he has attempted to distance himself from it, and assure comrades that he is not a traitor to the Leave cause.
Since the original Brexit vote was a non-binding referendum, Parliament could choose to ignore it, or could sponsor the “take backs” referendum. In either case, those suffering from Regrexit had better call or write their MP if they want to stop the UK from leaving the EU, instead of crying about it on Twitter or the telly and leaving it at that.
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