In June 2016 like 17.4 million others I took the opportunity to vote to leave the European Union.
To me it seemed so obvious let’s get out of a union that clearly did not respect national sovereignty and was quickly heading down the route of a European superstate.
Three years later I have changed my mind on Brexit not because the EU looks any less likely becoming a superstate but because of the economic damage and the damage to the Union that Brexit has caused.
Since the Brexit vote the pound has fallen from a high of 1.50 against the dollar to 1.24 with experts predicting that this could worsen. Another study by Cambridge University academics has suggested that in the event of a no deal the UK could lose 10% of its GDP.
What has really frustrated me about the debate has been that every compromise has been shot down by Brexiters, with only the hardest no deal seen as acceptable in spite of the potential damage.
What concerns me even more however is the threat to the Union.
In the space of five years the unionists vote had dropped from over 50% in the 2014 European election to 43% in May’s European election.
On top of this recent polls have shown an increase in support for an united Ireland with 55% supporting one in the event of a no deal Brexit (Lucid Talk December 2018).
So I suppose as unionists should we put at risk the Union that matters most with Great Britain for an ideologically pure exit from a Union that matters much less.
Peter Gray, Co Down (Queen’s University Belfast Young Unionist Chair 2009-2010)