In the early hours on the 24th June 2016, I was sitting at my count in Eastleigh waiting for our results to be announced for the Borough. Worrying that the result for our country and our future was not the one I was hoping for.
Not long after 10pm, the ballot boxes began to arrive and the counting of the votes began. As my role as a counting agent I stood there watching the votes being unfolded and I started to see what I saw as a worrying pattern. Leave, leave, remain, leave. And as the counting went on I saw this same pattern again and again.
Then at 3:30am on Friday 24th June 2016, The Eastleigh Borough results were announced and that 52.5% of people who had voted in the Borough, wanted to LEAVE the European union. At this point in time as well I was starting to hear results from all around the country. And as dawn broke I woke up to the news that I really didn’t want to hear. Britain had voted to LEAVE the EU and that David Cameron had announced his resignation as prime minister.
At that point in time when I heard the news I felt a mixture of emotions (anger, sadness, confusion)but most of all, heartbreak! Heartbreak because I knew that this result, would have a big impact on my generation and the many generations that are yet to come.
During the weeks leading up I campaigned as much as I could with the Eastleigh Liberal Democrats because I had (and still have) the strong belief that Britain in better off within the EU.
I believed this for a number of reasons such as the freedom of movement within EU countries which meant as a student nurse I would have the chance to study freely within EU countries if I so desired. As well as access to free health care within EU countries, the many different types of rights we got from the EU, as well as well movement of trade with EU countries.
Whilst I was out door knocking, leafleting or helping out of Stronger IN stalls I met a very different variety of people with all different types of stories from how they have benefited from us being to EU, to being shouted at and even had a door slammed in my face by leave voters. However i’ll never forgot the two loveliest leave voters I met at my count, who didn’t rub it in our faces that we lost, they showed us respect and dignity, which is what all people within politics should show to each other, no matter what their opinion.
I’ll also never forget when I was helping out on the stall at Eastleigh Market and I was explaining to an undecided voter, my reasons for why I think we should stay within the EU. Not only had I managed to convince him to vote remain, but he also said to me “You know, we need more young people like you to get involved and take an interest in politics. You my dear are a breath of fresh air!”
Remain campaigners we should not forgot all our efforts and hard work over the many weeks we campaigned. We did our best, and we can be proud of that.
But now we must leave and try and move on as a nation and as people! The challenges that are ahead are ones we must face together! We will not let this defeat us. We are British, and we can be proud of how far we have come.