Cllr Robert Foulkes is a councillor on Lincolnshire County Council representing the Stamford North division.
To go back many years to my student days, to the colourful time of Edward Heath and Mick McGahey with the three-day week, I remember how grim life could be under the domination of the unions. It was a monumental “Who governs Britain?” tussle which led to Wilson and Callaghan with the Winter of Discontent. But behind these headline grabbing events, Heath had earlier allowed a change to happen which would eventually undermine the whole basis of our future as a sovereign nation – the so called “Common Market”. I voted in favour, believing it would be a great idea to get rid of bureaucracy and red-tape and lead to prosperity and a golden future. But it was a lie, sold to us with malice and forethought. In those pre-internet days we had little chance of discovering that the grand plan called for a European Superstate and the eventual elimination of Great Britain. Watching debates from the period on YouTube the same arguments were raised even then by Enoch Powell, mirrored 40 years later in the Brexit debates, again only to be scorned and derided. Hindsight is 20:20, we should have heeded his warnings at the time.
By now a serving RAF fighter pilot, it was such a relief to see Margaret Thatcher take the helm and steer the country back onto the right path, but the poison was spreading. The Common Market had now become the European Economic Community and slowly increased its grip on our lives. Behind the scenes the “wets”, aided by their fellow travellers, were undermining her authority. She was doomed. John Major took over and put his foot on the accelerator of our national moral decline. His premiership was so bad and the Conservatives so loathed that the people would vote literally for anyone to take his place. Like lambs to the slaughter we ended up with Blair and the catastrophic years of his “Cool Britannia” so called New Labour party. We’re still suffering to this day with the legacy of the right-on PC indoctrination of the liberal-left. But I’m jumping ahead of myself. At least Gordon Brown (an end to boom and bust!) united the nation against him and we could see a ray of hope to escape from the nightmare of Blairite New Labour, with the added bonus of not adopting the Euro.
In 2010, I thought the Conservatives should win by a landslide; it was an open goal, they just had to tap the ball into the back of the net, but I hadn’t taken notice of David “Heir to Blair” Cameron. Apart from his laudable decision to scrap Labour’s ID Card plan, it was just more of the same. My new passport arrived, with “European Union” emblazoned on its now red cover. What was going on? I’d been asleep too long. Delving into current affairs I saw Nigel Farage and UKIP railing against the EU – it was Enoch Powell all over again, but this time I listened, and more importantly took action. I joined UKIP and found myself in the company of fellow conservatives who committed themselves to making Britain a sovereign nation once again. Growing public anger at the whole EU project led to my election as a Lincolnshire County Councillor for UKIP. The momentum behind UKIP’s campaign was growing and we dared to hope we could get the referendum denied to the British people for so long. The campaign is so recent there’s no need to go over it all again, suffice to say “we won”.
My time as a UKIP County Councillor put me in a difficult position. I’m a Conservative at heart and the Conservative Group on the Council were doing an excellent job running Lincolnshire, so I gave them my full support. It was the Conservatives who put the Brexit motion to the council which provided a great boost to the Leave cause. I couldn’t cross the floor then because that would have provided ammunition to the Remainers, and every bullet counted in this referendum. Many Conservative Councillors joined the Vote Leave campaign and it was a great feeling to be “brothers in arms” with people I respected.
So as 2016 draws to an end, the country has voted to Leave, and the Conservatives are led by a top team who will achieve what we voted for – exit from the EU and the return of our sovereign powers. Why leave UKIP? Because the political tectonic plates have fundamentally shifted; Trump, Brexit, and the rise of anti-EU parties in Europe. Under Theresa May, Brexit will happen, it’s inevitable, it’s what the people voted for. I don’t have nightmares about it. The Brexit deniers are on the run, their death rattle is loud and clear.
But looking to the possibly very near future, it’s inevitable that the EU will collapse, both economically and politically. The coming conflagration will be of biblical proportions, and it’s absolutely vital we have a safe pair of hands to navigate this coming storm. Only a Conservative Government has the intelligence and skill to bring us to calmer waters, so they have my full support. As I said at the beginning, that’s why I left UKIP to join the Conservatives – I blame it on Brexit!