Have you joined the thousands signing up to the Leavers of Britain community?

Have you joined the thousands signing up to the Leavers of Britain community?

It has been less than three months since we started Leavers of Britain, and it’s been going strength to strength. Not in my wildest dreams could I have expected the level of enthusiasm and welcoming the campaign has received already. Thousands of people signing up – hundreds of people coming to events and the engagement online and offline has been telling as to the passion and continuing support for Brexit.

I’ve been up and down the country visiting Brexiteers of all backgrounds, listening to what they’ve got to say, their fears, hopes and dreams for the country over a pint in local pubs. Long lonely train journeys (I am currently on my way up to Glasgow for a Leavers of Britain meet-up as I write) are all worth it to sit with people, going through the same excitement and fury that so many of us feel as we all journey through this seemingly unnecessary pilgrimage to uphold democracy, freedom and independence.

Leaning back into old upholstered pub chairs fraying and feathering, in small towns and cities across Britain, I enjoy the local brew, listen to people like Iain, I listen to Karen and I get to know them. I see that they are people like everyone else, multifaceted personalities with opinions. Nuanced ideas all articulated in the local dialect, broad accents and catchy idioms. They are unique.

These are people who for the past four years have delivered my elderly grandparents their paper, chatted to them over a nice cuppa, done some of their gardening and brought them a weekly pint of milk. Perhaps even a little bit of cheeky village gossip to cheer them up. Their sense of community and their kindness represented the best I believe humans have to offer one another. Upstanding values and principles they practise daily.

I sit opposite them, they are furious. They fume at the unprecedented actions of Parliament, the mincing of words from politicians and the low-level manipulation of our vote through wilful misinterpretation of the biggest democratic mandate this country has ever seen – where, for once, my company in the pub thought their voice might actually matter. “People up here don’t believe politics is meant for the North, but those in the South – they don’t even know it exists”. Exasperated and politically homeless, Iain tells me of a trip he’ll make to London to demonstrate the betrayal he feels.

They leave, I gaze up at the walls and, so common for pubs around the country, are old photos of the town hung up like little phantoms reminding us what once was. They depict crashed horse-drawn carriages with local townspeople coming to help, days of celebrations and moments of tribulation and remembrance. The sort you might find in a chain restaurant, bulk bought to make the place feel “authentic”.

I am sad and I am regretful that many of us in larger cities like London have lost that sense of an impenetrable community. Common good and the duty to do what’s right no matter what are seldom seen, and when they are, they are novelty morals garishly flaunted in the latest blockbuster. Always advertised but never practised.

There is an injustice for people like Iain and like Karen: good people who deserve the benefit of the doubt and goodwill when discussing their politics. Instead they are lazily tarnished as ‘stupid’, ‘too old’ or ‘xenophobic’. The man who made another man’s life bearable, a man who supported another, now travels South to make his political journey where he thinks he’ll matter, but I am sure he will not be alone. So many of us will not allow 17.4million good people to be ignored.

I am sure when I reach Glasgow, my mother’s home, I will not be alone. I am sure I’ll find more Iains, who are part of a community and not just their local community, but a nationwide community of people who believe in the principles of democracy, freedom and independence.