Brexit vote splits opinions of Cowichan Valley ex-pats

Gordon Nicholson thinks there will have to be another referendum in England to determine if the country should remain in the European Union.

Gordon Nicholson thinks there will have to be another referendum in England to determine if the country should remain in the European Union.

Nicholson, whose family came to Canada from Manchester, England, in the 1950s, said the results of Thursday’s Brexit vote were far too close to be the final say on such an important issue.

The English vote in the referendum was 52 per cent to leave the EU and 48 per cent to stay.

“England simply can’t exist, survive by itself,” he said at Duncan’s Valley Seniors Organization the morning after the referendum.

“It’s only a small country and I can’t see how it can continue to operate without being a member of the European Union. It’s a really sad situation.”

Nicholson said his daughter and son-in-law run a successful business in England that caters to the maintenance of gardens and parks.

He said the couple’s business relies a lot on tourism from Europe, and he thinks it will cost significantly more for Europeans to travel to England because the exchange rate will be unfavourable after the country leaves the EU.

“I don’t know what their future will be,” Nicholson said.

 

British ex-patriot Ken Elstone, who also came to Canada decades ago and now resides in Duncan, said he was “surprised” by the results of the referendum.

He said he has a brother and sister still living in England, with his brother wanting England to remain in the EU and his sister wanting to leave.

“Personally, I don’t think leaving the EU is such a good idea,” Elstone said.

“England is just too close to Europe not to have a say on important issues. The pound has dropped 11 per cent overnight and that’s no good for anybody.”

Elstone said he is also concerned about the survival of England’s Commonwealth with the decision to leave the EU.

He said Scotland is already considering another vote to leave Great Britain in order to keep its ties with the EU in place, and Northern Island may consider doing the same.

“It’s hard to predict what will happen next,” Elstone said.

Trevor, another English ex-pat in Duncan who asked that his last name not be published, said his brother is still in England and he voted to leave.

He said that, among his brother’s many concerns with having England as part of the EU, is immigration and its impacts on the country.

“People keep coming from other European countries with big families and they are entitled to full benefits in England,” Trevor said.

“It’s causing the prices of everything to be way too high. I was there three years ago and the country is not the same as I remember it at all.”

Trevor said he believes England will survive the turmoil of leaving the EU, and be better than ever in the end.

“I expect there will be a few rough years ahead, but England will come through,” he said. “It’s the British way.”

robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com