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…....on 23 June 2016 we all trotted off to our local polling station to vote. All the main party leaders campaigned for us to stay and most political experts thought that, although the vote could be a bit close, the “remainers”, those who wanted to remain funnily enough, would beat the leavers, those who...........oh you guessed.

History, as I have often told you, is a mixture of facts, that can be proved, and opinion given by writers and scribes over the years. In true tradition I will now give you my opinion, after telling you the facts. The simple fact is that we voted, by 51.89% to 48.11% to leave. Nearly everyone was surprised, even those who had campaigned and voted to leave. David Cameron resigned and was replaced by Theresa May who had also been a remainer.

Then the problems started. No country had ever left the EU before so no one knew what to do. There were some rules, but how you went about leaving was a blank piece of paper and a lot of blank faces were staring at it.

Now for my opinion on why it happened and why we now have a major problem. Firstly, the referendum asked a stupid question. The question was “should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” This is a bit like a parent asking a naughty child, “do you want to go to your room.” If the answer is no, great but if the child says yes what does the parent do? And supposing, after hearing a yes, the parent says OK your room is now in Syria. Oh, I should add here, don't try this at home. But, seriously, it is a silly question.

The referendum question was just as silly. If you say remain it means, quite simply, that you want to stay in the EU exactly as it is because it gives you no option to say yes I want to remain but could we tell the EU we would like to...................whatever you don't like. If you say leave then we leave whether we can negotiate anything or not.

If David Cameron and his advisors and ministers had thought about things they would have given more options in the questions. I am sure, no I can't prove it, but I am fairly sure that if we had voted to stay but said we wanted to control our immigrants more, the EU would have considered that. The simple fact is that the EU is weaker without the UK.

We also gave ourselves no options when voting leave. The rules say that if you tell us you're leaving then you must go in 2 years whether you have worked out how we will all get on in the future or not. We officially told the EU we were going to leave on March 29 2017. On March 29 2019 we will be gone. Probably. Perhaps. Maybe.

My own opinion is that any organisation with 28 different countries as members, 28 different cultures and 28 different hopes for the future is never going to be able to work properly if it has very strict rules. The EU started out as a trading group. If it had stayed like that it could have worked.

Anyway Theresa May was now in charge of our negotiations to leave. In my view she is trying to negotiate an impossibility. History is all about the past so it is dangerous to predict the future. Some time in 2019 we will all be able to look at things once they have happened....... or not.

UPDATE JUNE 2019

Owlbut and I were right to wonder if we would leave on 29 March 2019. We didn't. Parliament did not approve, on 3 separate occasions, the deal Teresa May had negotiated with the EU. It is possible to leave without a deal but most people agree that would be bad for our economy. The problem has arisen because once we leave the EU, borders would be in place between the United Kingdom and all other EU countries. That would mean, without a deal, an arrangement, that both people and trade would have rules to follow before crossing those borders. Trade would also be subject to tariffs, which are essentially taxes on goods entering a country.

However, the problem is even worse because the so-called Good Friday agreement between the UK and Ireland was based on there always being an open border between the two countries. Without a deal, this would border would be closed and the peace deal might be threatened. You can read a bit more about that deal at the bottom of this page.

Teresa May then asked for an extension of our leaving date until 12 April 2019 and the EU agreed. In those two weeks nothing much changed so Teresa May asked for another extension until 31 October 2019. Once again the EU agreed to give this further extension.

Then the Conservative party, the government, decided a new leaving date was needed but this time it was the date Teresa May should leave as Prime Minister. She resigned as leader of the Conservative Party and as PM on June 7 and then the Conservative party needed to find a new leader who would automatically be Prime Minister. The selection of the new leader, ten people put themselves forward, would first be chosen by Conservative MPs, those elected to Parliament. They would vote for the candidates with the one with the fewest votes dropping out each time, and then, when just two candidates remained, the choice would be made by registered members of the Conservative Party. This is roughly 140,000 people.

You may think it a bit weird that our next leader is chosen by about a quarter of a percent of the voters in our country but Teresa May was elected without any votes from members of the public so you shouldn't be surprised. As I write this we are now down to two candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson. The result should be known at the end of July 2019. Watch this space to find out the facts or read the newspapers to listen to their opinion and a bit of gossip.

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