Posted 24 Jun 2016 by Walaa Idris
As someone who campaigned passionately to leave the EU I am beyond delighted with the result. However I have to admit there have been moments, even as late as yesterday, when I doubted our side can win. At times, during the campaign, the tone from the other side was dark and even disturbing; that made me think people will vote Remain out of fear and a desire to not rock the boat, not out of conviction. After pulling an all-nighter at the Kensington and Chelsea count, were my side lost, I then stayed awake until it was clear Leave has won before sleeping for a couple of hours.
Sadly, woke up to find David Cameron has resigned. His swift resignation epitomises all that is Cameron, honourable, honest and fair. It is painful to see such a brave leader step down for keeping and delivering a manifesto promise. As the only British Prime Minister to promise and offer the British people a referendum on our membership with the EU. He will also be remembered for stepping aside to allow for a fresh leadership to negotiate the country’s new relationship with the European Union.
A new dawn has broken today. As a naturalised Brit I feel enormous privilege to have taken part in this momentous referendum by campaigning and voting to leave the EU. This is an exciting time full with pride, anticipation but also some nervousness. Particularly for someone like me who grow up in an autocratic country were voting and having a say on such matters never happen. Therefore, unlike others of my vintage, I have nothing to compare this day to. I lived in the UK since 1991 and before that I was a citizen of the Sudan studying in the US. Besides my late father’s government (in the Sudan) being overthrown by a military coup, yesterday marked the most significant domestic political event of my life.
As someone who cut their political teeth in the US, my politics tend to be a tad tribal and my African Arabian blood adds passion and some heat to that tribalism. Despite that I sat on the fence for some time regarding the EU question. I did it mostly out of respect to David Cameron and his efforts; I didn’t want to pick a side until he completed his renegotiations. Once he was finished it became very clear the only way forward is to vote leave because the undemocratic EU had no intention of democratising, listening to reason or respecting the British public’s wish.
All night, despite knowing that we did everything to convince the electorate, there have been moments when I doubted we will win. As the results kept coming, in the early hours of the morning, it became clear Remain were losing.
Leave winning is just the beginning; it’s the start of a new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. Despite the UK voting to leave very little will change overnight. Having said that, there will be some bumps in the road, change is not easy and not everyone likes or knows how to manage and adapt to it, but it will be temporary and will not have a lasting effect.
Like most who voted Leave I did because I love Britain, respect her democracy and trust her people. As I mentioned before, change is not easy and can at times be challenging, but our conviction and resolve can overcome both. Now, what we need is to stay united as a nation, as parties and work as one for the UK’s best interest. As the fifth largest economy, the fourth strongest security and the home of the biggest financial industry add to that our track record in overcoming adversity we have the foundation to become even bigger and stronger than we are today.
So celebrate this momentous day and look to the future, Britain is great and is about to become even greater.