"Don't tell me not to be upset"

By: Emma Osborne, Born in Liverpool, studying in Paris


Vote Leave supporters keep reminding us they want to live in a democracy. They keep telling us that the EU Referendum was a democratic vote, and that the result must be respected. They conclude that therefore those who voted Remain cannot be upset, complain or feel angry about the result.

They’re wrong.

I have every right to feel upset. I have every right to feel betrayed, angry and confused. I voted, along with 48% of the country, in favour of remaining in the European Union. Just as the vote was democratic and must be respected, it is my right to express my opinion on the outcome.
This referendum was of huge importance to me. I come from Liverpool, an area which has benefited enormously from EU funding – whether this be for the ECHO Arena, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, both of our beautiful cathedrals or many more projects to restore our forgotten city to its former majesty. Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s expressed a wish to abandon our city. The European Union showed its will to work with us. Only today I visited the Walker Art Gallery and found that their exhibitions had received funding from the EU Regional Development Fund.

I refuse to believe that a Tory government (something we will be stuck with for the foreseeable future) will maintain the level of investment in areas such as my own. With Boris Johnson looking likely to become the next prime minister, I fear deeply that Liverpool will be neglected and overlooked. Johnson is quoted as having expressed enormous dislike for our great city, going so far as to dismiss the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster as the result of “drunken Liverpool fans” and claiming that we see ourselves “whenever possible as victims”. This is absolutely disgusting and insulting to anybody from this city.

When I voted to Remain, I voted with my head, my heart and my soul. I voted for communication with our nearest neighbours. I voted for multiculturalism in all its wonderful forms. I voted to show love to Europe, the same love that was so desperately needed following the devastation and divisions during World War I and World War II. For me, the most upsetting thing about Britain leaving the EU is not the negative effects on the economy but the ideas that this decision represents. I used to view Britain as a multicultural, open and loyal country that stood by its neighbours and did not shut up shop when the going got tough. I now see that those characteristics are not at all fitting to describe Britain. We as a country have chosen to be inward looking, self-serving and ignorant.

I used to be proud to be from Britain. That is no longer true.

Now, I am proud to be from Liverpool. I’m proud to be living in Paris, studying for a French degree and reaching out to our French neighbours. I’m proud to be outward looking, tolerant and welcoming towards different cultures.

I am proud to be part of the 48%.
"Don't tell me not to be upset" "Don't tell me not to be upset" Reviewed by Student Voices on 11:56 Rating: 5


  1. No-one would deny your right to be upset or to comment on the outcome. And we in Leave need to hear your concerns.

    While we have made the democratic choice to end EU membership, we have still to decide what an independent UK looks like. So engagement with the "48%" is needed in order to shape an independent UK that we all accept.

    To address some specifics you raise: (i) EU funding is of course just UK taxpayer funding returned, with a large chunk taken out. So the case for regional funding needs to be sold to UK taxpayers. I certainly support prosperity being spread more evenly throughout the regions of Britain. It is interesting to note that London, the region that takes the lions share of UK wealth & infrastructure investment, was pro-Remain and the Leave campaign won on mobilising "disenfranchised" and "left behind" middle England.

    (ii) Nor do I believe this vote is for an inward looking Britain. Quite the contrary, I was heartened that so much support was expressed for a Global Britain, incl. fair immigration policy for non-EU migrants. Nor do I see us turning our back on Europe, we are simply ending membership of a political union whose aim is a single state. Travel, exchange and so forth will all continue - as it did before UK joined EEC. I think we will actually end up with better relations with European nations - precisely because we are no longer the unwilling participant in the Federal Union project.

    (iii) As to your concern over a Boris led Britain becoming a right-wing hell-hole, well once again the democracy argument needs to be made. If he does start to implement extreme policies (which to be honest I cannot see and I would in any case oppose), then the voice of the public needs to be heard to keep the Govt to policies that have democratic consent. MPs in his own party would feel public rejection and fear for their seats, thereby bringing pressure to bear.

    In short, we need to relearn democracy after decades of slumber while we outsourced more and more power to the Brussels bureaucracy. That means hearing all voices, including those you disagree with, understanding why we disagree then reaching a consensus position that provides for broad democratic consent. It also means that politicians must become the servants of the people in practice, not just in theory. No-where is this more needed than in discussing the future of independent Britain and its relations to Europe and the world.

  2. When politics comes down to lies there is no democracy, most of the public did not understand what they were voting for. There were comments like "I voted to kick Cameron out" or "The EU did nothing to save British steel" but in fact all Britain vetoed the EU plan to impose import duties on Chinese Steel.

    Both sides mislead the public, but the Leave campaigns promises have all ready melted away, that is was because they were a pack of lies like the 350 million per week going to be invested in the NHS totally false, so what happened to democracy?

    Those that lied are not fit to serve the public. There is no point in holding elections when you have no idea if what you are voting for is a fraud. We have serving cabinet ministers who openly lied and can benefit from their lies lied we don't have democracy. If the same people were selling dodgy second hand cars they could get jail, for what they have done. Ruin our trust in our democracy and they could become prime minister is that justice, is that who we are?

    If you have to be honest in business then why should you not have the same responsibility in the house of commons? That is why people on both sides are angry.


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