My response to the referendum and its result.
By Becky Forrest, Bolton Liberal Democrats
I woke up on Friday the 24th June devastated.
I’d become bored with the referendum campaign before it really started; which seemed to be after the local elections. In my mind the benefits of EU membership far outweighed the risks of leaving and no-one would convince me otherwise. I dismissed the lies of the Leave campaign and never thought that very many people would actually fall for them given that independent experts consistently contradicted them with the truth. However, by the Thursday itself I had realised how deep the misinformation and conspiracy theories had taken hold. The pencil conspiracy was my last straw and I began to believe that Leave would win; I’d seen countless tweets about taking a pen and I even overheard someone mention it in the queue to vote.
On going to bed I checked my phone and saw the exit polls, Remain was predicted to edge it. I wish I hadn’t had that hope.
My devastation was mixed with anger; anger at the Leave voters, anger at the Leave campaigns lies, anger at the media’s bias in reporting the campaigns and angry with myself…. I had stood by and let others campaign for something I strongly believed in and hadn’t done anything.
My anger dissipated with the Leave voters, the majority were not racists or bigots, but they had been lied to over what the referendum actually meant; by both the Leave campaign and the media focus on the Tory infighting.
My anger with myself meant I had to do something. The death of Jo Cox and the referendum result made me need to do something.
I decided I would start by joining a political party. Whilst I believed my views would be classed as Liberal I decided to check and first searched for an online quiz (https://uk.isidewith.com/political-quiz) to make sure.
It was an old website designed for the last general election but as I suspected my views came out most in favour of the Liberal Democrats. So at 8.13am on Friday 25th June 2016 I joined the Liberal Democrats.
I needed to do something to work towards making my voice heard rather than sit back and let politics be something other people do.
Since my decision, Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats has stated the party intention of a return/remain in Europe. Whether it be for this reason or some similar to my own, at this moment in time (9 days post referendum) more than 13,000 have joined the Liberal Democrats.
I feel the words of Jo Cox and some of the slogans remain ever true: we have more in common than that which divides us, we are stronger together and we are in this together.
I won’t accept that my one vote won’t make a difference anymore; I will make sure my voice is heard. I want to have the opportunity to speak for the 48% and any who regret their decision to vote Leave or not vote at all. My plea is this, if joining a political party is not for you, then engage with all sides of local campaigns to make an informed decision and continue to use your vote so we can hear your voice on other issues but perhaps most importantly of all be kind to one another.