Welcome!

Welcome to the blog. All the opinion on this blog is my own or as attributed. Thank you for reading - I hope you enjoy.
www.facebook.com/StephenRichardsonIllogan
@StARichardson

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Why is MK entering the PPC election?



It will cost well over £5000 to enter the Police and Crime Commissioner election in 2020 - why would MK waste that money?







The Police website states that:

"Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are elected representatives who oversee how crime is tackled in a police force area. Their aim is to cut crime and to ensure the police force is effective."


In 2012 the turnout for the election of this august office for Devon and Cornwall was a mere 15%. By 2016 this had risen to 22%. In other words people care even less about this election than they do about local council elections! 


Yet despite the 'non-entity' status of this election (and the £5000 deposit required to enter the farce), MK is adamant that it is a good idea to take part. Why might this be, and do MK have a chance of winning - or even saving their much needed cash deposit?

Why would MK even contemplate risking so much cash, not just the £5000 deposit, but all the campaign materials as well?

First of all - does MK have any chance of winning this election? Of course you can't absolutely prove something like this in advance so its impossible to say that MK has zero chance of winning the election - but I don't think any sane person would stake anything of value on such a bet. There are all sorts of reasons why MK are rank outsiders to win this election.

Can MK secure enough votes to beat one of the big Westminster parties? Again this seems doubtful - there's too much stacked against this possibility - not least the resources available to MK compared to Westminster parties.

Well can MK at least get enough votes to secure its £5000 deposit - at least that would be a worthwhile effort and save what is a massive sum for a party which only managed to fundraise £300 in 2016. Again, as we will see, even this would be a massive task.

Can MK gain publicity from the campaign? This is very doubtful because nobody, including the media, gives a damn about it. If you want publicity - use the £5000 on a public relations media campaign - it would be money much better spent.

It seems highly unlikely that MK will win the election, beat a big Westminster party, save its deposit or get value for money publicity from this election.

But why is any achievement in this election going to be so difficult?

The election takes place with an electorate from Cornwall and Devon. This means that only one third of that electorate will be residents of Cornwall. 

Michael Bunney is the MK candidate. In his speech at the last MK conference, he pledged to campaign across all of Cornwall - no mention of Devon. MK will not even be actively campaigning with two thirds of the electorate in mind. Even the message of Michael's campaign is (quite correctly for MK) going to be Cornwall focussed - so why would anyone in Devon even be remotely interested?

Does MK have any 'background' appeal whatsoever outside of Cornwall? It seems highly unlikely that the level of support for MK in Devon would be anywhere near the level in Cornwall - and even that is horrendously low for Cornwall nationally. On top of this Michael's campaign is going to specifically focus on Cornwall. It's hard to see how MK could pick up even 1% of the vote in Devon.

Let's look at some figures.

In 2015 in the general election MK polled 2% of the vote. That is bad enough - but if you take out Dick Cole's personal result of over 4% then the average drops to well below below 2%. On a good day the background vote for MK in Cornwall would appear to be somewhere between 1% and 2% probably closer to 1%.

So is there any chance at all that MK might achieve something from this election?

Well, let's look at the optimistic arguments for taking part.

MK's best recent electoral achievements to date, in national elections, are Dick's parliamentary results. Excluding 2017, which MK  didn't enter at all, in the two general elections 2010 & 2015 Dick achieved over 4% of the vote. Let's set a target of achieving 5% to save the deposit and beat the previous best. As we have seen this is a big ask, but we are being positive and if MK did achieve this it would be something to shout about and, maybe, grab some media coverage.

In 2016 the total votes cast in the PCC election were 294120 of which 74648 were in Cornwall. Let's assume similar figures for 2020. 5% of the total would be 14706 - this is the minimum target number of votes that MK would need in order to claim some sort of success in this election.

MK will not be campaigning in Devon and will have a Cornish-centric campaign so to be very optimistic let's allow that MK gets 1% of the vote in Devon. That would be 2165 votes which leaves 12541 votes to be found in Cornwall - this would be 16.8% of the Cornish vote.

So the task ahead of MK is to go from a national Cornish average of around 1.5% of the vote to 16.8% of the vote. Quite a mammoth task given that this is a national average - across all of Cornwall. It is not a single parliamentary constituency never mind a Cornwall Council electoral district that we are talking about.

Could MK achieve this?

There might be some factors that could work in favour of a determined and focussed MK organisation. 

For example, the election is extremely low key. The big parties might not focus on it as much as other, higher profile elections. This could give MK an advantage to use.

Also the nature of the election might mean that voters would be more willing to go with less well known parties and independents for once as it wouldn't matter so much if their normal political party choice didn't get elected.

Similarly, this could be an ideal election for the protest voter to abandon the bigger parties.

Finally, although MK will undoubtedly be outspent by the bigger parties at least they have one resource in equal amounts - time.

So yes, there are circumstances which MK might use to advantage - the question is will they?

To be honest it doesn't look as if MK are living up to the claim to focus on this election and make a big thing of it. We are now probably about 12 months away from the election and MK has already squandered a lot of the one resource that it had - time. What campaigning has MK already done. How many leaflets has MK delivered in order to get the electorally crucial 'name recognition' building up? How many press releases or publicity stunts has Michael created that set out his vision for policing or get his campaign noticed?

And what of money, has MK been busy raising funds to build the substantial war chest needed to compete - never mind the initial £5000 deposit?

Is there a strategic plan in place to target selected voting areas and reach the 12541 vote target for Cornwall?

Somehow, unfortunately, I doubt it. 

I really, truly hope I'm wrong - but I just can't see why all the talk this time will be any more productive than all the talk on previous occasions.

Please, MK, prove me wrong. Prove me wrong and give me hope that a Cornish political party is truly serious about gaining political power.



Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Is Brexit Democratic?

Brexiteers are constantly telling us that Brexit is the will of the people and that the current impasse is a betrayal of democracy by the ruling elite.

How true is this?


On 23rd June 2016 the people of the UK were asked "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

17,410,742 replied leave and 16,141,241 replied remain with 25,359 spoiled papers. A clear result that at that particular day in time an opinion poll of the people clearly indicated that a majority of people who voted wanted to leave the EU. This is undeniable. Whatever else follows it is clear that we had a democratic vote and there was a clear result - with normal usage of words it is undeniable that a democratic mandate to leave the UK had been given to the Cameron government.

But what exactly does this really mean?

To start with I want to clear one thing up! Any democratic mandate is not the 'will of the people'. In 2016 the population of the UK was estimated to be 65,788,574. Only 26% of the population of the UK actually voted to leave the EU. I can hear howls of derision from Brexiteers claiming that children and people ineligible to vote shouldn't be included - and that's fair enough - I just wanted to put that statistic out there because if you are talking about the will of the people then surely you need to include all of the people? Don't you?

Let's look at it another way. In all 46,500,001 people were registered to vote. This gives us a figure of 37% who voted to leave. So a minority of those eligible to vote actually voted to leave. Surely now it is absolutely clear that the referendum result was not the 'will of the people'? The referendum result was the will of the people who bothered to vote on one particular day. Nothing more than a snapshot, an opinion poll on one day in history.

Does this mean that the result didn't provide a democratic mandate? Not at all. With our first past the post voting system our government is usually elected with around 30% - 40% of the vote. In 2015 the Conservative Party obtained 36.8% of the vote and formed a government - although 63.2% of voters did not actively want a Tory government the democratic process provided us with one anyway.

Brexit is not the will of the people - but it is the result of a democratic process and it does have a democratic mandate.

There are challenges to this though. An objection that hard line Remainers often bring up to the democratic efficacy of the vote is the question of illegality. The case is made that the Leave campaign acted illegally during the campaign and, indeed, this has been borne out in the courts. But there are a few problems with this argument.

To look at this argument in context we need to first discuss the advisory nature of the referendum.

Remain makes a big issue of this advisory status. The argument goes that because the referendum wasn't legally binding we should be able to ignore the result. Well this is true - but why would a government ignore a democratic mandate given to it (when it made a promise that it would act on that mandate) just because it wasn't technically bound by the result? As a staunch Remainer I have to agree that it would be a gross betrayal of the democratic process if the government chose to ignore the mandate given to it after it had made a clear promise. In fact I often criticise politicians when they do this so how can I complain when they actually follow through on a promise?

How else can you construct this advisory status objection? You can argue that we only had a referendum because Cameron wanted to protect the Tory vote and fend off the electoral challenge from UKIP once and for all. This seems undoubtedly the case - but it doesn't mean that the vote was undemocratic. Just because the referendum had a poor basis for coming into being in the first place doesn't justify using the advisory status to trump the democratic implications. The government made a promise to act on the result of a vote - end of story - though it isn't quite the end as I will show later!

Going back to the illegality aspect of the referendum - and this is why we needed to examine the advisory status of the referendum - the courts have declared that if the referendum had been binding rather than purely advisory then the result would have been made void because of the illegality of the campaign.

In other words the referendum can't be ignored - even though the illegal acts of the Leave campaign would have technically made it void in other circumstances - because of its advisory status. Another heavy blow indeed for Remain!

Yet Remain still tries to have its cake and eat it. Remain can't argue both that we should ignore the referendum result because it was advisory only and simultaneously argue that the result should be ignored for illegality. It has to pick one or the other, and to be frank, neither really holds water.

I have already shown why I don't think it would be right to ignore a democratic process simply because of an advisory only status. I also don't think it would be right to ignore the result on the basis of the illegality of the Leave campaign.

The courts have said that in a strictly legal term the referendum would have been voided if it had not been advisory. That is certainly the case but it is a legal position rather than a democratic one. On this issue if you wanted to show that the democratic value of the result had been so tainted by illegality as to warrant it being ignored then you would need to make a much better case. Yes, the Leave campaign broke the law - what I am saying is that I don't believe that the effect of that illegality was so great that an entirely different result would have been produced if the illegality hadn't occurred. I don't think the scale of the illegality would necessarily have affected the result that much. And yes, this is my OPINION. This is my personal blog so just an opinion. I don't have evidence for this statement - but then I don't see evidence to the contrary either. So let's move on from the issue of the advisory status of the referendum.

Another argument against the democratic nature of the referendum, and possible justification to ignore the result, is the plethora of lies that the Leave told during the campaign. (Again, I hear howls from Brexiteers that Remain also told lies. Maybe they did but then the result went in favour of Leave, so Remain lies are therefore irrelevant to the result.)

Well this argument doesn't hold any more water than the advisory status red herring. Politicians lie, bears shit in the woods and the Pope is Catholic. If you are stupid enough to believe lies told to you by politicians then you deserve the consequences to be honest. What else can I say?

So my conclusion is that the referendum gave a clear democratic mandate to leave the EU - but this is isn't the end of the matter it is just where the problem starts as far as I am concerned.

Yes - the government has a democratic mandate to proceed with Brexit. Indeed there is a democratic requirement that it should proceed with Brexit because it made a promise that it would.

A big problem though is that the government made a promise which it isn't able to keep and which it had no right to make in the first place!

The UK has a constitutional system of government which involves a principle known as the 'separation of powers'. There are three distinct bodies which provide the constitutional framework by which we are governed. The 'government', known as the executive, brings forward new legislation and uses current legislation as the authority to govern. Parliament enacts new legislation and is distinct, in theory, independent of the executive. This means that the government doesn't automatically get to create new law as it sees fit - new laws can only be created by Parliament. Finally the judiciary exists to interpret the law and make rulings whenever there is a dispute.

When Cameron promised that his government would act on the result of the referendum what he actually promised was that his government would bring forward legislation to do so. The problem is that he had no right to promise on behalf of Parliament that it would enact his legislation. Normally there wouldn't be this problem because the government of the day usually has a majority in Parliament - but on this issue it doesn't. Parliament is in no way bound by the promise made by Cameron's government. This situation is perfectly democratic, given our constitution, it is quite right for Parliament to exercise its power and refuse to enact the legislation that the government brings forward - if it sees fit. All of you people out there, Brexiteers or otherwise, who are decrying Parliament as being undemocratic and betraying the will of the people have got this so wrong. You should be celebrating the fact that we have a sovereign Parliament and that our constitution is doing the job it is supposed to do! Not that this helps solve the problem that our 'balanced' constitution is generating.

There is no answer to this problem until Parliament is prepared to enact a proposal that is brought forward - and this it has been unable to do.

Why hasn't Parliament been able to enact the required legislation and why shouldn't it be bound by the government's promise? Ultimately this is because the referendum didn't address the question of exactly what the terms of leaving the EU should be. This was a question that wasn't addressed because the complexity of the issue would have prevented a sensible referendum question being brought forward in the first place. It has taken three years and we still can't agree on the best way to actually leave the EU - there's absolutely no way that we could have had a referendum question that addressed the mechanism of leaving the EU without several years of debate - as has been proven.

"Well so what!" I hear those Brexiteers shouting. After all Brexit means Brexit and leave means leave. But that's the trouble - this circular reasoning is offered because the detail of what Brexit or leave truly mean was never discussed before the referendum. There were lots of claims made - most of which have now proven to be false - but no clearly defined plan. Whenever the Remain campaign asked the Leave campaign - "well exactly what is your plan?" the question was met with deafening silence - apart from the platitudes of "it will be alright on the night." But it wasn't alright on the night was it?

During the campaign no clear plan of how to leave the EU was offered by either side. The closest we ever got was for it to be stated that the UK government would negotiate with the EU and everything would be fine and dandy. How wrong that was!

But still what's the problem? After all Brexit means Brexit, leave means leave - we can just exit the EU with no deal. Sure - but there's no more democratic mandate for that than there is to revoke the Article 50 invocation - and that's the knot in the grain that we have with democracy and Brexit.

The government has a democratic mandate to leave the EU based on a negotiated settlement with the EU. Unfortunately nobody likes the negotiated settlement and, as I have shown, Parliament has no obligation to enact something that nobody likes.

So yes Brexit is democratic - but only on the basis of a negotiated deal - there is no democratic basis for either no deal or to remain.

The answer? Who knows? Maybe May will be able to cobble together enough support for some proposal at the umpteenth time of asking - I certainly don't have a clue and I have given up trying to predict what will happen next in this embarrassing saga.

My suggestion is a third (binding) referendum which is based on preferential voting options.

On our ballot papers we rank the options to leave with no deal, accept May's negotiated deal or remain. If one option achieves more than 50% of the vote after the first round of vote counting then that option wins. If not then the option that receives the lowest support is eliminated and the second preference of those voters are added to the other options. In that way we would arrive at the option that there is most democratic support for on referendum day.

The referendum could easily be binding (so we could avoid the problems of a non-binding referendum) if Parliament enacted a Bill which included what happens after the referendum without further Parliamentary voting. The last three years have given us plenty of time to consider the real pros and cons of leaving the EU so we would all be better informed.

Indeed, as far as I can see this is the only way forward that can possibly heal the division that we now face within the UK. Unless Parliament votes through May's deal there is no democratic basis for any decision and all sides of the argument would be justified in claiming that democracy had been overridden if we left with no deal or if we remained in the EU.

Whatever happens, without a third referendum there will be years of condemnation from one side or the other and immediately new campaigns will be set up with a view to reverse whatever has happened - and the whole cycle will begin again.




Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Cornwall Council boundary row and how it illustrates my frustration with Cornish politics!

So the LGBC has decreed that democracy in Cornwall needs to be further reduced! The number of people that we can actually choose for ourselves to have any input into how Cornwall is run will be slashed from 123 to 87.

Why are the Tories crowing about this and why are the other Westminster parties going through the motions of being appalled while  indulging in the usual rhetorical inaction - designed to give a pretence of opposition for the benefit of voters?

A little thing like local government isn't particularly important to the Westminster bunch. The Tories are desperately trying to get rid of it. Labour simply uses it to attack the Tories and the Lib Dems are desperate to use it to make them appear even slightly relevant in the current political world.

All of these political uses of local government by London-centric political parties benefit from one thing. Reduced numbers of candidates in future elections will make it easier for those parties to use their vastly superior resources to greater effect - at the expense of independent candidates and smaller political parties. Fewer councillors mean larger electoral districts with more households. More households to visit individually and provide with expensive electoral literature. On top of that the London lot will have fewer candidates to find meaning that it is more likely that we end up in Cornwall with more councillors who will be taking their orders direct from London rather than the people of Cornwall.

All of this is before you look at the thing rather more objectively as Bernard Deacon has done here.

So how does this illustrate my frustration with Cornish politics?

Well - the first and obvious thing is the sheer undemocratic nature of the decision combined with the felling of "Why is it Cornwall, yet again, that is being treated so appallingly by our Westminster masters?"

But more frustrating than that is the way that MK has no power to prevent this kind of attack on Cornwall. What adds to the frustration are the reasons why MK has no power to act and the way that people still expect it to act - even when they are part of the reason why MK does not have the power in the first place.

Let me explain - so that I can be shot down in flames and totally vilified by everyone - what larks!

MK have no power to do anything to stop this because they are a political and electoral  irrelevance - even less relevant than the Lib Dems, and probably still less relevant than UKIP in Cornwall. I don't mean this to sound harsh - just objectively realistic when you consider the number of votes that MK would receive if there was a general election tomorrow and MK had its deposits funded so it could stand candidates.

MK has just four Cornwall Councillors and has never managed to retain a deposit in a general election. If you took Dick Cole's personal vote out of the equation the party would struggle to achieve 1% of the vote in Cornwall.

Until MK, or any other political party, can ever begin to be able to challenge the dictats of Westminster it has to achieve massively more electoral support than it currently gets - surely that's just an obvious fact. A political party exists to win power to be able to give effect to its policies. Anything other than that makes it a pressure group at best. MK has an excellent record of achievement if you judge it through the prism of a pressure group - but as a political party it is failing.

Westminster will listen if it is forced to listen because of a concerted electoral challenge to its power - this is how UKIP have been successful and we are facing Brexit. If you have no electoral challenge then (as a political party) you have no challenge - end of story

But just as galling is the way that Cornish politicos still turn to MK and expect it to act and expect it to lead the fight against attacks on Cornwall.

Why is it galling? Because although the expectations and demands are always laid on MK they are very rarely backed up with the very thing that MK needs in order to lead the fight - votes!

How many people who voted tactically a few months ago for Corbyn's Labour party are now turning to their local Labour party and demanding that they do something in the same way that the demand is made of MK - not many!

How many people are turning to the likes of Andrew George or Dan Rogerson - because they are such champions of Cornwall - and demanding that they lead the fight against this - not many!

So we are in the bizarre situation where miracles are expected of MK and yet the votes go to the Westminster parties because one of them might possibly be slightly less bad than another of them.

That is my frustration in a nutshell. We have a failing Cornish political party - MK - which could and should do better. At the same time people in Cornwall deny MK the very things it needs, give those things to Westminster and then demand that MK does something about the end result.

If we are ever to get out of this seemingly hopeless situation we need a Cornish political party that behaves like a political party and a population that is prepared to vote for it - even it seems like a 'wasted' vote in the first instance.

Otherwise we are all doomed to continuing unwanted hyper-development, poor quality jobs and the eradication of Cornish culture.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The cause of the disconnect between politics and voters?

One thing that the referendum has highlighted is a reported feeling of a disconnect between our politicians and voters.

I have read many times that one of the reasons that people have given for voting in the referendum (either way to be fair) is to give the establishment 'a bit of a kicking'.

People feel that no matter how they vote they are not going to get what they actually want.

I think the  obvious cause to this is the electoral system that we use. It is first past the post which is causing this disconnect.

When was the last time that any government won an election with more than 35% - 40% of the vote - possibly a lot less. The Conservatives are currently governing the country when around 65% of people didn't vote for them - is it any wonder the majority of people feel disconnected?

The problem with the system is that we have a government which represents the biggest minority and doesn't reflect the majority view point on the majority of issues.

Political parties are encouraged to come up with policies designed to upset as few people as possible in an attempt to be the least worst option - that seems to be the the way to ultimate power.

We need proportional representation to sort this out as then you could truly vote for what you wanted instead of voting to prevent what you don't want.

If we had proportional representation then getting 20% of the vote might put a party in the strong position that convincing one fifth of the electorate surely deserves. Currently it gets you zero influence.

In the meantime the big parties tell lies, or are deliberately misleading, in order to lose as few votes as possible instead of setting out what they truly believe in order to gain votes.

Of course, this might mean that our governments might be forced to work together more - but is that a problem really?

An Announcement

Several weeks ago, before the referendum, I contacted MK and let the party know that I no longer wished to have an active campaigning or administrative role with MK.

I have shared my views and opinions, concerning the referendum result, on social media and I am being responded to as if I am still a spokesperson for MK. In fairness to MK and to myself I think it is best that I make it absolutely clear that this is not the case - I do not represent MK in any way.

I reached my decision to step back from active involvement with MK because I don't believe that it is focussed enough on being a political party and winning elections.

When I moved to Cornwall, eight years ago, I had no interest in politics. It was only through living here, and trying to embrace what is here rather than change it, that I became interested in politics.

I remain passionate about the strength of the case for Cornwall to have a devolved government of its own and that has always been my main motivation in becoming involved in politics. But I think that this can only be achieved by persuading enough people to actually vote for this in an election and MK simply doesn't focus on winning elections.

I don't wish to be critical of MK. I remain a life member. I know that MK has achieved many great and good things for Kernow. I know that MK councillors are individually well respected because they work untiringly for their communities. This can be seen in the outstandingly high number of votes that sitting MK Cornwall Councillors receive to be re-elected. The problem is that I think these champions for Cornish communities are being elected despite them being members of MK rather than because of it.

There are too few members who are able, or prepared, to do the hard and long term work that is necessary to win elections. There are too many who expect their ideas to be actioned by someone else rather than committing to the hard work themselves. Ideas are easy - it is putting them into action that is difficult.

I will never join a Westminster establishment party - their leading members are motivated first and foremost by their career opportunities. They use serious social issues as political footballs in a game to enrich their career. I don't want to be a career politician - I just want to see an assembly for Cornwall in my lifetime.

I will never be an independent politician as independent politicians will never be able to achieve strategic change on a wide scale which is what is needed in Cornwall. Independents are good at representing their constituents in a microcosmic type of way but they could never drive a change in wider macro-society without grouping together - then they are no longer truly independents (what is the meaningful difference between an 'independent group' and a political party?)

To my friends and colleagues within MK - I hope we can remain friends. I wish you the utmost success for your goals and ambitions and I pay respect to your hard work and passion.

Corbyn - A Dead Duck

What is the point of Jeremy Corbyn?

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader the Labour Party is dead in the water.

The party is at war with itself. Its career oriented MPs know that they're likely to lose their seats in droves come the next election and the new 'members' aren't likely to ever do anything constructive or anything that smacks of hard work for the party on the campaign trail.

And Corbyn himself is a just a big let down. He stood for election full of ideals and principles and we have watched them slide one by one as he morphs from rebel to establishment figure.

I don't know what Labour can do - or if it really matters in the end. In order to get elected in the current climate the Labour party would have to follow the Tories to the right.

What is the point in that? What colour do you want your right wing government blue or red?

Corbyn will never be able to get Labour back to truly progressive policies - so what is the point?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

My thoughts on the referendum result and the future



I wanted to take time to summarise my thoughts on the referendum result and the future for the UK after the momentous decision to leave the EU.

This is my personal blog and these are my personal opinions. I'm not at all an important person and I'm not claiming to hold any monopoly on common sense, decency or intellectual capability. 

If you don't agree with my thoughts then that's fine I accept that - please accept that I have a right to my opinion - however unimportant it is in the grand scale of things - to anyone else but me.

This is the status that I put on Facebook when the result was finally declared:

I am utterly appalled and dismayed at the result today. I am ashamed and embarrassed to be 'British'.
As the economy crashes, and the politics of hate have become acceptable, it looks like the United Kingdom (once Great Britain) will truly become Little England. We will lose all international credibility and the process of decline in our global status will accelerate.
I have two hopes. First that if you voted to leave you will accept responsibility for what you have done in the future and not try to pass on the blame.
My second hope is that I am totally wrong and Brexiteers are right. Never have I hoped to be wrong so much.
Cornwall needs its own assembly - but, given the result in Cornwall, does it deserve it?

That was an initial reaction to what most people agree was a shock result. Do I stand by it now? Yes just about every word. 

I admit that as I wrote  'As the economy crashes' - while it was accurate at the time that I wrote it - it was (perhaps understandably?) hyperbola given that I knew and understood that the capitalists and speculators were out in force trying to make a quick buck and that it would bounce back almost as quickly and to almost the previous level. Indeed I had discussed exactly this scenario with my son as the poll was being conducted - though I admit the scale of the dip and recovery was beyond what I expected.

But let me explain some of the other parts.

I am still ashamed and embarrassed to be British - the politics of hate have become acceptable. 

This is not because of the result of the vote - we had a referendum and I accept that a majority of people wanted to do something that I disagreed with. That is absolutely fine by me. As Leave campaigners now keep pointing out we live in a democracy so have to accept that result. 

(Though as an aside I find it incredulous that there are so many people lecturing me on democracy and the triumph of the will of the people being heard. Incredulous because just the day before many of the same people were claiming how the vote had already been rigged and that a remain victory would not be a democratic statement by the people at all?)

I have no problem in accepting the fact that, as a society, we have voted to do something.

What I have a problem with is what this decision and how it appears to have been reached says about our society.

As I see it there are three types of Brexiters. 

First there are the people (almost certainly the majority) who have actually thought long and hard about the decision, respected its importance and carefully weighed the evidence before voting to leave.

I respect and applaud these people - I may not agree with you - but you have exactly the same right to vote leave as I have to vote remain.

The problem is that there are two other categories - probably sub-groups of one basic group.

Many people (and this is admittedly a purely subjective opinion from what I have personally witnessed) have voted because they agreed with what they thought were the two fundamental propositions of Brexit: 1 - There will be £350m per week which we can spend on the NHS and 2 - We will have complete control of immigration and only those who we think are 'acceptable' or 'necessary' will be 'allowed in'. 

Why I think there are two groups here is because it was absolutely clear that both of these propositions were outright lies and falsehoods designed to con people and to subliminally appeal to more latent qualities of selfishness and prejudice. 

That they were lies was always clear to any critical thinker. 

The ink wasn't even dry on the declaration of the result before Farage and co were carefully explaining how:

'actually - you know that £350m for the NHS - it was a mistake - er.. sorry'   

or 

'you know what - we never said we were going to stop immigration - just that we might be able - in some way - at some point in the future - be able to say - in some way - that we have allowed an immigrant to come here without actually changing anything whatsoever'

Two central lies exposed within hours!

That is why I think there there were two groups. 

There was a group who didn't really think about anything much - but allowed themselves to be taken in by a promise of 'getting our money back to spend on the NHS' or 'stopping all these foreigners coming here and ruining our country' This group is exemplified by the reports in Friday evening newspapers of hordes of voters admitting that they had voted leave and now wished that they hadn't.

Then again there was a group that knew that lies were being told and knew why the lies were being told. They went along with the lies and reinforced them. This was done because they preferred to condone this in order, for whatever personal reason, to ensure that leave would win. In my mind this was the more cynical and rather more nasty element who have put personal gain or bigoted opinions and principles ahead of what they know to have been the truth. Should the leave campaign leaders and groups like Britain First be included in this category? You decide.

So why am I ashamed to be British? Not because we have had a democratic vote which has led to us leaving the EU but because what it has revealed about a significant element of our society.

We have politicians who are prepared to lie and cheat. We have people who are prepared to back them in full knowledge of what they are doing. And we have people who aren't prepared to look at bit more closely at what is being offered - but are prepared to be duped time after time.

Now you might say this is nothing new. Correct! But it doesn't make be proud to be British and each time it happens it makes me that bit more cynical and ashamed that, as a society, we are letting these people get away with it.

It looks like the United Kingdom (once Great Britain) will truly become Little England. We will lose all international credibility and the process of decline in our global status will accelerate.

There are so many people saying how Britain can now be Great again. I don't think Britain was ever particularly 'Great' and leaving the EU will only accelerate any respect and standing that we have had in the world.

'Great Britain', as I understand most people seem to allude to, was something built on the colonial rape and pillage of societies for the benefit of a ruling elite. Of course, we have all been 'educated' along the way that we were bringing 'civilisation', 'modernisation' and even 'salvation' to 'backward savages' but the truth is that a few people got very rich by using  one lot of  people to murder another lot of people and then stealing all their stuff. 

Does this make us  'Great' - I don't think so?

Even if it did, the colonial era ended a century ago. What might have made us 'Great' a century ago doesn't apply to day does it? 

So what could make Britain 'Great'? Surely it has to be about working together to get rid of 'bad things' from the world. Surely it's all about co-operation, understanding and tolerance for betterment of all. For me it is.

The 'Little Englander' mentality does not make Britain Great - it makes us morally impoverished and isolated.

Our 'Greatness' in the nineteenth century is long gone. We are now just another, fairly wealthy, state which is comparable to many others. If this is a decline from our nineteenth century status of global superpower then that is simply the way it is. We're never going to change it back - even if we really wanted to. Our global status and the respect which the world community pays us has deteriorated steadily since the first world war. It is because we no longer have an empire and the military might to hold it, yet there are those that seem to want to maintain an empty imperial arrogance in our relationships with others. 

Leaving the EU won't bring back the empire. There will be plusses and minuses. If we do better at one thing then we will do worse at something else. There will be no reversal of our our colonial decline and, worse still, it reinforces the international view of our imperial arrogance.

Then again we stand to lose even more. Scotland will almost certainly leave the UK and Northern Ireland may well follow. That's a 'Great result' isn't it? 

I have two hopes. First that if you voted to leave you will accept responsibility for what you have done in the future and not try to pass on the blame.
My second hope is that I am totally wrong and Brexiteers are right. Never have I hoped to be wrong so much.

Now I'm sure that the element who gave the issues serious thought about Brexit will take responsibility and will admit if it shown that they were wrong. 

On the other hand it already apparent the the leaders of the leave campaign are already trying to find ways of doing exactly the opposite. 

No doubt we will have the 'wrong type of Brexit' - even when (or if) it becomes clear we have made a mistake, one thing for sure is that it won't be Farage and co's fault. 

I really do hope that I am wrong and that Brexit will be a massive success. I can't see it at the moment - but if I ever do then I will own it. 

Of course I want our society to be the best it can be. I hope you Brexiters are right and I am wrong. Time will tell.

But at this point it should be worth noting that the democracy, which Brexiters claim calls on us all to pull together to make Brexit a success, actually means that I am liberty to disagree. In fact, if I wished, I could actively campaign and seek to persuade people that we should rejoin the EU. I could form a 'UK in Europe' political party and seek support for re-entry. That is what democracy is all about and shouldn't anyone, who claims to love democracy, agree that I have the right to do so? Surely it doesn't mean blithely accepting any democratic result for the long term. You're only as good as your last result!

Just saying ....