A view from Christina Hendy-Jones, Data Officer, LibDems in France
My father was a pacifist and a conscientious objector in the second world war. My mother the daughter of an army surgeon – a man dedicated to saving lives and not destroying them
I was borne after the war, so did not live through any of its immediate horrors. My life has only known peace in the countries I have lived in.
My childhood saw many marvels – we flew to the moon - we conquered polio – and the invention of colour television brought the wonders of other nations into our rooms. My childhood also brought the original birth of what was later to become the European Union – set up partially to "make war unthinkable and materially impossible"
My parents showed me how, through such union, nations working together can preserve peace. How they bring mutual benefit in the same way as the very different members of our family lived well alongside each other despite some radical differences of thought.
I was encouraged to make my own decisions.
At the age of 10, based on reading schoolgirl tales, I decided that I wanted to go to boarding school. My mother paused a moment and then told me that, should I fail my impending 11-plus, they would consider sending me to boarding school. If I passed, I would go to the local High School.
Even at that age, I found this troubling. Should I fail deliberately to achieve my ambition? Or should I do what I knew was right, try my hardest, pass the 11-plus and go to High School?
I am struck by the parallel with the UK’s emotive vote to leave the EU. As far as us, Jo Public, were concerned, the decision was based on hear-say, on the news-bytes we saw and the public influencers we cared to listen to. I think we are all agreed that the referendum was flawed in many ways.
Yet here we are, faced with fact after fact emerging that things are not as we hoped, spending millions hoping to get it “right”.
It was an immature decision – just as mine would have been had I stubbornly pushed on with it.
My five children, in Britain, see rising poverty and homelessness in their areas. They see neighbour turning against neighbour, strife, tension, underlying fear of what is happening in their lives. From my distance, it seems remarkably like the Germany of the 1930s. Some regret the way they voted - but most have simply hardened their stance.
My personal reality now – having moved to France three years ago – is one of constant worry for myself and for my family. We have seen our pension steadily drop in value through the exchange rate to levels far lower than we ever planned for in our cautious figures. But worse, our future is still precarious – empty reassurance from the government. Many have called us bargaining chips, I see us more as a throw-away commodity along with all the immigrants to Britain, whose livelihoods and devotion to the UK are now being tossed to the wind as it suits the negotiators.
Now are the final hours for the UK to pull itself up by its bootstraps, reflect and think again now that so much more facts and figures and deliberate manipulations have tumbled into our knowledge of “What is Brexit?”
Should we not be allowed another say? We have matured now.