All Brexiteers are stupid … or are they?

By Abbie Stewart, 10 November 2016 – 0 comment

When it came to the in/out referendum in June this year I had a clear and well considered opinion … we must Remain! It seemed obvious to me that bigger was better and being part of something that was trying to deliver an improved way of life for nearly 750 million people was a good way forward to a better future for us all. Clearly the EU needed reforming and David Cameron was achieving some small success along that road. Surely the UK had a better chance for reform from within than from without.

Therefore, the argument goes, anyone who supported Brexit was ill-informed at best and stupid at worst … little Englanders, small minded bigots … and so on.

What a simplistic way of looking at the issue.

The first person to make me reconsider the strength of my Remain argument was my Oxford educated, barrister son-in-law, who is one of the most clear thinking people I know. Imagine my surprise when he told me that he had voted for Brexit … and had strong arguments for doing so.

Could I have been wrong?

The final nail in the coffin of my certainty was hearing Digby Jones (Digby Lord Jones: speak at a charity event I attended last week. Here’s a man who has has served as Director General of the CBI (2000–06) and Minister of State for Trade and Investment (2007–08) speaking eloquently about the flaws of the EU and how the UK will ultimately do much better outside it.

His experience as Minister of Trade was particularly enlightening, discussing the protectionism that is rife within the EU against all of its avowed principles.

After what happened in the US yesterday, with President Elect Donald Trump winning an unexpected victory … certainly unexpected by those who took a simplistic view of the rights and wrongs of the arguments … it seems more important than ever to try and understand that there is always more than one point of view, in business, politics and general life.

Next time there are important decisions to be made and others have strongly held convictions that are different from our own we should make sure that, before making a decision, we “walk a mile in the other man’s shoes” and take the trouble to fully understand his or her arguments.

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