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Dragon Interview: Christian Holliday, Leave Campaigner

In the wake of the most important political decision in most of our life-times The Guildford Dragon has asked two those who campaigned locally for their view.

Here Christian Holliday, a Conservative borough councillor for Burpham and leading Leave campaigner, gives his personal view.

Cllr Christian Holliday

Cllr Christian Holliday

Did you truly expect your campaign to Leave to win?

With ten days to go, I was reasonably confident of victory: The public were beginning to see through “Project Fear” and feedback was so positive. We were also recruiting new activists daily at a local level.

Keeping up with demand for leaflets and logistics generally were becoming a challenge. Remainers were also becoming more aggressive in their exchanges with us, suggesting they were rattled. All positive signs.

However, we then saw the tragic murder of MP Jo Cox, with just a few days to go, and our opinion poll lead fell back.

I must admit as polls closed on Thursday I thought victory may have slipped from our grasp and I was starting to feel quite ill. I was hanging on to a very positive piece of news from the North that had reached me a few days before – postal vote returns had been 3 to 1 for Leave in some places, and so it proved to be.

I will remember the emotional ups and downs of that night for many years to come.

How difficult will negotiating an exit deal with the EU be?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already indicated that there is “no need to be nasty”. Britain is a massive consumer of European goods, German car manufacturers have 33% of the U.K. Car Market.

Vote Leave logoWe will strike a deal befitting our status as the fifth largest economy in the world. With elections in Germany and France due soon, domestically, economic reality will hit home for European politicians. I don’t envisage a trade war.

The technical detail will potentially be very time consuming, but we have strong negotiators. Even assuming worst case scenario i.e. no deal at all, most trade in the world is done without trade deals. Our largest single trading partner is, and always has been, the USA, with whom we have never had a trade deal. It is important to remember we make a loss trading with the EU.

What are the main changes you foresee in the UK once we have left?

The most important changes will be re-establishing the supremacy of Parliament and our Courts. We will all know where the buck stops.

Control of our borders will be critical to giving fellow Brexiteers confidence that our victory is real, as will control of our fishing waters, where the hurt began four decades ago.

More sentimental maybe, but still very important, will be the removal of 12 stars from projects paid for with our own money and from our driving licenses, which I resent greatly. I also look forward to the re-issuing of truly British passports for the first time in many years. A British passport gets you into more countries visa free than any other – a nod to our global history and our standing in the world. I hope passports revert back to the original black colour, but that’s just my personal taste.

What should and can the government, under a new Prime Minister, do to take into account that 48% of those who voted wanted to Remain?

There seemed to be an unfair impression amongst Remain supporters that this result means pulling up the drawbridge on Europe. It is not. It is about re-engaging with the whole world on our own terms.

I would like the new Prime Minister to emphasise we are still in Europe, Europe is still there and that we want a positive working relationship. With all mutual suspicion now removed EU relations will in time be better than ever.  Any politically formed committee to oversee negotiations could include some Remainians.

However, there is no doubt that among the 48% of people who voted Remain, there are some genuine Euro Federalist sympathisers – people who genuinely and wholeheartedly believe in a United States of Europe, the ending of nation states and that Britain should be part of this.

To them I say you must move on and accept that it is not, and never was, our destiny. If you can’t accept that, you know where the Channel Tunnel is. Some may find this statement harsh, but questions must be asked of those whose first loyalty is now to a United States of Europe.

Why do you think Guildford bucked the trend, along with the majority of Surrey, and voted to Remain?

There is no doubt that there is a direct link between wealth and how people voted. I read an article this morning that said something along the lines of ‘If you’ve got money you voted Remain, if you’ve got nothing, you voted Leave.’

That is a very simplistic assessment, but it was to some extent reflected in the results in Guildford. The poorer wards, traditionally seats fought over by the pro-Remain parties Labour and Lib Dems went for Brexit in a big way.

Some outer Tory shire wards were also for Brexit, whereas the town centre was noticeably for Remain, mirroring some of the 80/20 results in central London in one case.

Do you foresee a realignment of British political parties following this result?

What has struck me the most in this campaign is the dire state of the Labour Party.

I’m now struggling to see what its purpose is or who it represents. Hilary Benn MP is an example of how out of touch Labour now is – throughout the campaign whenever confronted with questions of sovereignty, border control, cultural and social change, he never failed to move the conversation on to climate change!

The Labour leadership, without ever discussing the matter with its own voters, decided unilaterally that immigration, the EU and cultural change were all fine in principle and ‘off limits’ for discussion. The voters then turned up wanting to talk about immigration, the EU and cultural change and the Party was unable to respond.

Trade Unions are also to blame for this. During the campaign they were willing to forget there own 100 year history and pretend the EU was the font of all workers rights. How very sad indeed.  I can only imagine what Tony Benn, a truly great Labour Statesman, would make of all this. There is a possibility Ukip might move permanently onto their territory.

Do you think it was important that the referendum was held so that the will of the people, on a one-person, one-vote basis, is known?

It was essential to hold the referendum. The EU question has been hanging over British politics ever since the Maastricht Treaty. For some people, even earlier. It was a boil that had to be burst.

Will you remain politically active? If so, how? Will you simply revert to being a borough councillor?

Yes, although right now I’m just trying to catch up with sleep and spend some time with my fiancee, Tammy. There is always lots to do locally and helping Burpham residents is the most rewarding part of council work for me.

I will support a Brexit administration in the coming years.

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2 Responses to Dragon Interview: Christian Holliday, Leave Campaigner

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    June 26, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Well done Christian Holliday and all those dedicated volunteers who worked so hard to get our country back.

    Now we must watch very carefully to ensure that the people’s wishes are carried out in their entirety. We know that we cannot trust our old party politicians further than we can throw them.

  2. Sarah Coldrake Reply

    October 17, 2016 at 11:32 am

    “We will strike a deal befitting our status as the fifth largest economy in the world.”

    If you don’t know the facts, how can you know what you’re talking about?

    Britain fell to sixth largest economy in June – overtaken by France as markets began to understand what leaving the EU would mean to the UK – and is still falling.

    International credit ratings agencies reduced the UK’s ratings. The pound has lost 17% of its value since the referendum and will probably lose its status as a reserve currency.

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