"I’ve put on the uniform. I’ve picked up the gun. I’ve stood my watch. My grandson is one year old now and I want to make sure that the opportunities are there for him." Richard Pendry - former soldier, Parachute Regiment.
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I love this country. I think it’s an amazing country, it really is. I’m from a town called Merthyr Tydfil which is in the South Wales valleys. Leaving school I had no qualifications, and I had the chance to join the army. I liked to scrap, so I wanted to get in with the Parachute Regiment.
I don’t like politicians, I have to be honest with you. My vote for Brexit was a protest vote. That’s why I don’t want politicians alone to be the ones to decide my future for me, or the future of our country.
The full facts need to be presented to the country and from this, rational decisions can be made. Brexit is the biggest thing to hit this country since the Second World War. I don't want headline-grabbing politicians with inflated egos making the decisions for my family’s future. After all, it’s because of politicians that we’re in this mess.
For me to do my job properly, I have to identify the potential threats, and I need to know what's going on around me. When you plan for something, you go on the information that you’ve got.
Let’s say I’m planning a mission in Afghanistan. I’d gather all the information I can and I’d make my informed decision. But it is becoming more and more clear that we are making decisions on things that we don’t really fully understand in the case of Brexit. It would be a logical conclusion in my type of work: if we don’t have the information, we can’t assess the risk properly. And if you’re not happy, you don’t do it. That’s sensible.
To take the risk of leaping into the dark without knowing all the information beforehand would be reckless and dangerous, and not something I would ever advise.
I would say that there’s justification, with the relevant information on the table, for there to be a People’s Vote. A Final Say. We now have much more information about what Brexit will look like, what the implications will be for us as a country. So let’s let the people decide whether or not they’re still happy to go ahead with it, now they have that information in front of them.
It’s OK to change your mind. You’re not selling out. You’re making a decision for yourself, for those nearest and dearest to you, and for the benefit of the country. That’s what it means to live in a democracy. Everyone has the right to change their mind.
I voted for Brexit because I wanted to show the political establishment that they can’t ignore us anymore. But the result has been a disastrous Brexit being pursued by a political elite who don’t care about people like you and I. That’s why we all need to press the pause button, start holding politicians and bureaucrats to account, and take back control before it’s too late.
I’ve put on the uniform. I’ve picked up the gun. I’ve stood my watch. My grandson is one year old now and I want to make sure that the opportunities are there for him, and for future generations as well. That’s why I’ll be marching, alongside thousands of others, for our future on Saturday 20 October. I hope others will join me.
Richard Pendry is a former soldier in the Parachute Regiment
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