Life in the UK After the EU Referendum: Waking Up Repeatedly at a Funeral That Never Ends


An apocalyptic view of London (image via Reddit).Three days into this disaster, and the fallout is so immense that it colours everything. Bereaved-looking people are everywhere, talking about their disbelief, unable to process it. I had a migraine on Friday, and I don’t normally even get headaches. Many people are reporting similar symptoms — of colossal stress, of an unprocessable shock. Every time we distract ourselves for a moment from the awful reality — that we’ve left the EU and that everything is now in freefall; not just our economy, but basically every certainty we had before Friday morning — we wake up again to the horror of it all, like having endless deja vu at a funeral without end, like being in a real-life version of a film in which aliens have taken over, even though they look just like us.

My funereal encounters are taking place in London, where a majority of those who could be bothered to vote — 60% — called for us to remain in the EU. I live in Lewisham, where the portion of Remain votes was even higher — 70% — so I can presume that I am not surrounded by the deluded, or by those with hideously misplaced anger, however justifiable that anger may be, although I accept that even that is difficult. I have been ambushed in recent weeks by the odd middle class, educated person my age (circa 50) supporting the Leave campaign, and I can’t help but be instinctively suspicious of older white people.

However, I also know it’s not just a white issue. About two years I was in a queue in a service station in Brixton, and I struck up a conversation with a black man about my age, who seemed to me to be a Windrush descendant. I started some small talk, leaning it leftwards as soon as I could, as is my wont, and thinking he would agree with me, until he started talking about how it was all the fault of the immigrants. Since that encounter and others, I have grown to be wary of casually chatting with my fellow citizens on the street.

But if London is largely the same country it was before the referendum, albeit in profound shock, the same cannot be said of those large swathes of the country where the Leave voters outnumbered those calling for us to Remain, and where a legion of stories are already emerging of racism taken to the next step — of people being openly abused in the street, and told to go home. Social media, meanwhile, is a cesspit of racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic filth. The genie that is out of the bottle is a nasty, brutish creature, a 21st century revival of those who, 85 years ago in Germany, began to see Adolf Hitler as their saviour.

And Nigel Farage, who secured 3.9 million votes in the 2015 General Election, after the mainstream media slavishly covered his every utterance as though he was the Prime Minister, has bounced back from his subsequent disappearance — again, with the mainstream media disgracefully attending him every step of the way. How many more of the 17.4 million million people who voted to leave might now vote for UKIP if another opportunity arose — enabling, like Hitler, the rise of fascists in Parliament.

So as we survey the wreckage of Britain today, what can be done by those of us who comprehend that the ties that bind us — that bound us — to the EU, and that confirmed a web of interconnected relationships within Europe, and outside its borders, built up over four decades, are — or were — immense, and yet almost none of that was discussed during the puerile bunfight of the referendum campaign? I’m an educated and reasonably well-informed person, but even I couldn’t begin to tell you how much legislation and funding has been put in place over that time that affects every aspect of British life and the British economy, but over the last few weeks I managed to think about a few of them, and I have ended up believing that the important information discussed in the referendum was rather like the Bush administration’s planning for the Iraq invasion. When the State Department gave Donald Rumsfeld a massive report on what would be involved in nation-building, he chucked it in the bin and replaced it with a single sheet of paper that read, “They will greet us with flowers.” Just last week, a friend alerted me to the possibly fatal impact of leaving the EU on Britain’s university sector, which has been massively encouraged to seek out EU students as the Tories cut their funding, foreign students whose costs are — were — subsidised by the EU, but I heard nothing about that during the campaign.

Those of us who care about human rights have long been dismayed by the Tories’ intention of dismantling our human rights legislation — something that almost all Tories agree on. This is based on a mendacious but well-publicised campaign to suggest that the EU prevents us from sending home alleged terror suspects we don’t like, for generally unspecified reasons, when that is patently untrue. The legislation, in the European Convention on Human Rights, drafted after the Second World War (and which, incidentally, included a prominent role by the British Conservative MP and lawyer Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, who had been a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials), cannot be undone unless we withdraw from the Council of Europe — which, of course, we may well do now, as EU membership is only possible when countries are CoE members, and now we’re not, we’ll be free to join that bastion of extremism, Belarus, as the only other country in Europe that has done away with human rights legislation.

In addition, of course, the EU has also contributed significantly to other rights appreciated by people across the UK. Check out this article — noting how the EU has been responsible for curbing excessive working hours, protecting pregnant women at work, harmonising equality laws, protecting people’s personal data, combatting disability discrimination, acting against gender and age discrimination and fighting for the rights of minorities, and also check out the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

A friend of mine recently lamented that no one in the arts sector had paid attention to the huge significance of EU funding, and, of course, the Leave campaign constantly lied that EU money to the poorer parts of the country would be replaced  — a joke when delivered by politicians who are absolutely devoted to the destruction of all subsidies for anyone except the rich, but one that seems to have worked. For further information, I recommend the sad and almost surreal story of Ebbw Vale in South Wales, which has received massive financial support from the EU, but which voted to leave, pretty much cutting its own throat in doing so.

Almost nothing of significance was mentioned in the campaign. David Cameron, the coward and narcissist, now consigned to a dustbin of political failure that is so abject that it contains few predecessors (think Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, and then reflect that they may be small fry compared to the scale of Cameron’s disaster), called a referendum he didn’t want simply to placate the far right of his own party and UKIP, and then arrogantly thought Remain would win, and ran a tragically poor campaign that has resulted in his political annihilation.

In contrast, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, two other dangerous narcissists, went even further. Although Cameron (and Osborne, and others in the Tory Remain campaign) looked pretty stupid every time they tried to defend Europe, having bashed the EU repeatedly for years, Johnson and Gove saw an opportunity to further their careers by leading the Leave campaign without even believing in it, enabling them to position themselves as successors to Cameron who, unlike the PM, had listened to the people’s concerns.

As Nick Cohen explained in his article, There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, “The media do not damn themselves, so I am speaking out of turn when I say that if you think rule by professional politicians is bad wait until journalist politicians take over. Johnson and Gove are the worst journalist politicians you can imagine: pundits who have prospered by treating public life as a game.”

He added:

The Leave campaign has no plan. And that is not just because there was a shamefully under-explored division between the bulk of Brexit voters who wanted the strong welfare state and solid communities of their youth and the leaders of the campaign who wanted Britain to become an offshore tax haven. Vote Leave did not know how to resolve difficulties with Scotland, Ireland, the refugee camp at Calais, and a thousand other problems, and did not want to know either.

As he also noted:

[N]ot since Suez has the nation’s fate been decided by politicians who knowingly made a straight, shameless, incontrovertible lie the first plank of their campaign. Vote Leave assured the electorate it would reclaim a supposed £350m Brussels takes from us each week. They knew it was a lie. Between them, they promised to spend £111bn on the NHS, cuts to VAT and council tax, higher pensions, a better transport system and replacements for the EU subsidies to the arts, science, farmers and deprived regions … [E]xperts said that, far from being rich, we would face a £40bn hole in our public finances.

And now, having unexpectedly won, neither Johnson nor Gove seems to want to have anything to do with the poisoned chalice that they have secured. Cameron, a coward and narcissist to the end, immediately resigned, refusing to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states that “[a]ny member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements,” leaving that task to his successors, whoever they may be.

And as a reader called Teebs explained in a much-cited comment on the Guardian’s website yesterday:

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost. Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership. How?

Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction. The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50? Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated. If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over — Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice. When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

Not all of the above is true — I’m not convinced, crucially, that finding someone who has “the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction” is sufficient to overturn the result — but it is important, I think, to recognise that implementing Article 50 is definitely a poisoned chalice, and that all the woes and insanely complicated bureaucracy that will follow — as Teebs put it so well, dealing with “the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten” — will become the responsibility of Cameron’s successor, of someone who was a strong advocate for the Leave campaign.

Personally, I’d like to have seen Cameron refuse to accept the referendum result, and then fall on his sword, with MPs also refusing to accept the result that a clear majority of them don’t support (and perhaps MPs collectively are who Teebs was thinking of), followed by a General Election, but that may just be my desperation speaking — the desperation of wanting to wake from this endless nightmare that shouldn’t have happened, and that wouldn’t have happened without the incompetence, arrogance and mendacity of Cameron, Johnson, Gove and every single senior Tory who backed one or other of these senseless positions.

But instead of the media reporting on the above — or on the waking nightmare currently experienced by a majority of the 16.1 million people who voted Remain, or on the increase in racism since the result of the referendum was announced on Friday — what do get instead, as the very fabric of reality is torn asunder and nothing that is left is solid or reliable?

Well, instead of the above we are told that the only story that counts is of Blairite Labour MPs’ revolt against Jeremy Corbyn — MPs who, in case you’d forgotten, were so unimpressive to Labour voters last summer that they contributed to Jeremy’s landslide victory, although the main factor in Jeremy’s victory was that his lifelong socialism struck a resounding chord with voters whose party used to be a socialist party, and who were fed up with losing another General Election after a lacklustre campaign in which the Labour Party leadership failed to show conviction about almost anything, so desperate were they not to upset Tory voters who didn’t vote for them anyway.

To watch the news this morning as I did — from the BBC, the Biased Broadcasting Corporation — was to be told that Jeremy Corbyn was to blame for the referendum that was pointlessly called and lost by Cameron, and won by the most colossal hypocrites in history, led by the almost unbelievably self-serving Boris Johnson, and the creeping and creepy proto-fascist Nigel Farage.

Are we really supposed to believe that a Blairite Labour Party, almost indistinguishable from the Tories, would have changed the minds of millions of alienated voters, obsessed with obstinately deluded and simplistic notions about immigration and the role of the EU, and, with unerring accuracy, in contrast, convinced that Westminster is full of remote MPs who serve only themselves?

The alienated can only be won back by reversing the widespread depoliticisation that began under Thatcher and that has almost wiped out class consciousness and solidarity, and that, I contend, can only be achieved by some form of socialism — something that Jeremy Corbyn, and his Chancellor, the wonderful John McDonnell, and his team of left-wing economic experts, have been busy demonstrating as viable, even though the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored them.

Jeremy Corbyn is a rarity amongst politicians — a genuinely nice person who cares deeply about everyone suffering injustice. I concede that he lacks a certain energy and a demonstration of passion, but if an argument can be made that he should be replaced (and I’m really not convinced that it can be), then the only person who should replace him, if Labour is to stand a chance of challenging British voters’ alienation and/or right-wing drift, is someone who shares all his values, but is younger and more energetic. This revolt, in contrast, only plays only into the hands of the Tory establishment, just when the spotlight of disgust should be shining relentlessly on them, is, yet again, another disgraceful betrayal by the mainstream media — of those who regard themselves as “objective” — of their proper role, which is to challenge dangerous hypocrisy and extremism in politics, and not to act as stenographers for right-wing Labour Party failures, breathtakingly self-serving Tory hypocrites like Boris Johnson, and proto-fascists like Nigel Farage.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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98 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here are my latest thoughts about the fallout from the EU referendum. I discuss how, in London, everyone I meet feels funereal, and I also run through some of the many issues relating to our rupture with the EU and some of its many unforeseen and far-reaching consequences. I also express my disgust at the Labour MPs mobilising to unseat Jeremy Conbyn, and the disgraceful wall-to-wall media coverage of it, to the exclusion of the racism that is being openly expressed across the country, which can only benefit the disgusting proto-fascist Nigel Farage, and the key truth of this whole unprecedentedly awful situation: that the Tories – David Cameron on one side and Boris Johnson and Michael Gove on the other – are ENTIRELY to blame for it.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Astles wrote:

    Thanks Andy

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Paul. I’m not seeing much online about how we’re feeling – everyone I meet is genuinely dealing with profound shock, as I’m sure you know. Meanwhile, the media are back in their fishtank pretending it’s all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault, while Cameron, Osborne, Johnson and Gove have all gone missing. We are at this moment a country without any leadership.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Paul. Good article.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

  7. Andy Worthington says...

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for that, Richard. There was also a good tweet from Frankie Boyle, wondering why Blairites were making such a public move two weeks before Chilcot!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Richard. “For the Labour Right, the moment when Corbyn as Labour leader stands up in parliament and condemns Blair over Iraq, is going to be as traumatic as it was for the hardliners of the Soviet Communist Party when Khruschev denounced the crimes of Stalin. It would also destroy Blair’s carefully planned post-Chilcot PR strategy. It is essential to the Blairites that when Chilcot is debated in parliament in two weeks time, Jeremy Corbyn is not in place as Labour leader to speak in the debate.”

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Osbourne wrote:

    Great article btw. As shocking as the result is, it is also the voice of many people being heard who felt they have not been heard, as you say, for decades. And I think it will embolden many ordinary people around the world. Yes, perhaps, some crazy right wing nut jobs, some racists, but that’s just the froth boiling off of a pan that has had the lid rammed shut very hard for a very long time. I see short-term turmoil and long-term positive outcomes – perhaps even closer co-operation with European allies but without the EU Commission, which even the men in the pub in Norfolk I spoke to today were well aware of, and instinctively didn’t trust, because they couldn’t vote them out. This is an important point of principle for many who are more clued-in than the ‘old racists’ jibes would paint them out to be.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s an interesting perspective, Richard, but I don’t think I can share your enthusiasm for short-term pain, long-term gain just yet. We have no functioning leadership, and a devastatingly uncertain economy, and when the markets open tomorrow morning who is leading us, who has anything to say to reassure them? And how long will that go on? And in the meantime, I think uncertainty will hit us hard in Europe and worldwide, which will further demean and diminish us and our credibility on every front.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Osbourne wrote:

    Consider this: in some parts of the world, Britain is seen as among the most corrupt countries in the world because of our tax havens. And in some parts of Britain, they don’t see us having any standing at all – they have nothing left to lose after decades of Tory abuse and neglect (Blair years included). So perhaps our view of our standing needs a reset and this Brexit is the beginning of it? Once we see ourselves clearly, we might even elect an honest and decent PM and Government who look after the whole country, not just the wealthy and wealthy areas.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Well, I couldn’t argue with that as an aspiration, Richard, but at the moment I only see pitchforks in the hands of the blackshirts, not the enlightened liberators, so we’ve a very long way to go. A concerted programme of depoliticisation since Thatcher, via politicians and the media, means that the ordinary working people have lost touch with any notion of a movement of class empowerment, and until they find it i honestly believe that this referendum result can only make the divisions you describe even worse.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Anita Gwynn wrote:

    I’m glad I went to Pride last evening. It was a positive bit of loveliness amongst all this shit.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Glad to hear it, Anita!

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Astles wrote:

    As was PJ Harvey just now

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Glad to hear that too, Paul.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Astles wrote:

    PJ Harvey Reacts to Brexit Vote in Mid-Concert Speech

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Paul!

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Carter wrote:

    what Corby bears no respnsibility whatsoever for totally failing to connect with the working class northern voters who voted out?? He should be fucking ashamed of himself. Hes a middle class Islington dwelling public school trot of the old school. He’s as bad and as responsible for the brexit as all the ithers. His performance on the campaign trail was a disgrace. He hates the Eu and always has. Sorry Paul buts thats his history and thats the way hes always been On the subject of coups – I do believe it was Komrade Korbyn who lead a plot against Neil Kinnock in 1988. So he can hardly complain about the same happening to him. Jeez the guys presenting himself as some kindof Saviour when it was he in part who failed dismally to stop the Brexit. The chances of him EVER winning an election? Zero.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Nearly two-thirds of Labour voters voted remain, Paul. That’s not a failure. The same percentage of SNP voters voted remain, but I don’t see anyone baying for Nicola Sturgeon’s head.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Carter wrote:

    IN LONDON Andy- the crucial voters were in the north east where they view the Islington Cabal as a bunch of middle class pricks.
    which they are

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    No, that’s across the UK, Paul. The total in London to Remain was 6 out of 10. You’re forgetting that many Tories also voted to remain.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Carter wrote:

    We’re talking about Corbyn not the tories. He’s a disaster, a failure an outsider, and worst of all a fool. He should fuck off and form his own 80’s style Trotskist Party and all his 3 quid fans can follow him into the electoral oblivion he deserves.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    And look, Corbyn has every right to be skeptical of the EU. So am I, because it has some profound problems as well as other aspects that are much better than anything on offer from any ndividual right-wing governments. and so were many remain voters. This wasn’t the time to leave, but why do you think anyone was going to persuade disaffected people in run-down areas who didn’t want to listen to anyone telling them anything apart from what they wanted to hear, mainly about immigration?

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Carter wrote:

    Fine. Cant think why I thought we were at a funeral that never ends in that case.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    This too shall pass. I’m not as convinced about Cameron’s narcissism. I think as leader of the people elected to serve as Conservatives he probably spent more of his time reigning in their zealotry than not. Imagine having cabinet ministers like Michael Gove to deal with. Like his conservative predecessors Ted Heath and John Major, albeit with a somewhat self-serving and deluded notion of himself as a “one nation” conservative, I think he couldn’t contain the ravenous hungers of his own party for their destructive radicalism and appetite for turning everything under their remits to the crudest of cash nexus ultimately to the benefit of private wealth. In private business he’d be making each appointment based on hundreds of highly qualified candidates… As it is he had to fill his cabinet from a couple of hundred odds and sods with neo-liberalism as their guiding god. Not easy. In any event we now have the bizarre business of yet another Labour implosion. And who could possibly replace Jeremy Corbyn. The first name that comes to mind is Jo Cox… You couldn’t make up a mess like this if you were designing one

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t want to argue about Cameron with you, David, and I see what you mean, but if you’re the leader you have to bear the ultimate responsibility, and Cameron caved in to pressure when he shouldn’t have and is directly responsible for the mess we’re in. Also, I really think he showed narcissistic tendencies regularly for the last six years. When anything went wrong, it was always somebody else’s fault.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Osbourne wrote, in response to 14 above:

    Yes, no doubt about it, this is the end of de-politicisation. My FB feed is full of newly-activated ordinary folks who have hardly ever paid attention to politics. They are now! So, yes, there are a few pitchfork idiots. But there are millions more keyboard warriors in the middle class who will be participating to shape the future. This is absolutely good news, because most of them are honest, decent and intelligent. The media is always spinning negative stories. Social media is more balanced (mostly).

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    OK, well, that’s too positive for me to criticise, Richard!
    Apart from the social media comment. There is an army of would-be fascist foot soldiers on Twitter in particular, and the far right pages here, I understand, though I never visit, are really no picnic either.
    But I agree, of course, that more conscious people joining the conversation online can only augur well.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Paul Mason on Jeremy Corbyn – Corbyn delivered the Labour vote for remain – so let’s get behind him:

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Osbourne said:

    Well, when the light shines down the well, the creepy crawlies come out! There will be more ugliness in the public domain perhaps. Political correctness is all well and good but it has the unfortunate side-effect of suppressing what many really think. So their views rarely get aired or countered. There’s turbulence ahead, no doubt, but the decent people have to put the positive message across more strongly. Jo Cox would be very happy about this!

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Well, let’s see then, Richard. But some of that turbulence is really extremely unpleasant. Racists out in the open abusing immigrants and perceived immigrants – children and adults:

  35. Paul says...


    I’d be interested in your thoughts on the following.

    Johnson has said: “EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU.”

    He is playing a slight-of-hand trick. I am an EU citizen living ‘in this country’. It just so happens that I was also born here.

    Will he be ‘fully protecting’ my right to EU citizenship; to be protected by the ECHR; to travel freely? In his Orwellian newspeak he is simultaneously ‘protecting’ EU citizens (but not really, of course) and excluding 17 million (actually 60+) Europeans from that category.

    But here’s my real question. Can he, or the next PM, or any British government, or the EU, do that? Can my government – one that I now oppose with every cell of my being – forcibly deprive me of my citizenship? Does Article 50 account for this? (If my ‘right’ of citizenship as a citizen of the EU, can be forcibly withdrawn by my government, what real ‘right’ of EU citizenship did I ever really have?)

    Could articles 13 or 15 of the UDHR be brought to play in this regard? Would they be violated if my government forcible removes my citizenship of the EU?

    I completely identify with your account of bereavement. The only occasions when I have felt as I do now have been the deaths of love ones. I have spoken to numerous people who feel the same way. I am still shaking intermittently and have only slept a few hours in the last 3 days. The psychological damage to thousands upon thousands must be huge. (Could they sue for trauma, PTS? Who would they sue? The damage is clearly real.)

    Do we need a million person march on London demanding their EU citizenship? Strikes?

    What else could be done?


    P.S. BBC coverage all day has been outrageously and appallingly myopically focused on the minor side story (in the scheme of things) of the manufactured Labour coup. (They just achieved a tiny fleck of redemption by tearing into the Daily Mail, though.)

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m finding this positive news – from the Guardian, ‘Parliamentary fightback against Brexit on cards’:

    The prospect of a parliamentary fightback against the result of the EU referendum gathered pace on Sunday, with pro-remain figures saying they would not “roll over and give up”.

    Some are urging a second referendum after Brexit negotiations have taken place.

    Lord Heseltine has pointed to the practicalities of an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons against leaving the EU. “There is a majority of something like 350 in the House of Commons broadly in favour of the European relationship,” he said.

    “There is no way you are going to get those people to say black is white and change their minds unless a) they know what the deal is and b) it has been supported either by an election or by another referendum,” Heseltine told Sky News. “So there’s a dramatic urgency to get on with the negotiations.”

    He called for a cross-party group of MPs to look at the options and “articulate the case for Britain rethinking the result of the referendum”.


  37. Paul says...

    This is an interesting take on the referendum result (in the form of a petition):

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t know the answers to your questions, Paul. We leave the EU, our passports become British alone, not British as part of the EU. Movement and jobs abroad will obviously depend on whatever deals are negotiated. I imagine our leaders – if anyone turns up again to claim the top job – will want as little change as possible in those areas, but our insistence on closing our borders will surely mean that we will have to face some sort of penalty, and that would have to involve some kinds of restrictions on our movement.
    I can’t see that it’s possible to protest about losing your EU citizenship when fundamentally that was what the referendum was about, unfortunately.
    Sorry to hear that you’re feeling bereaved too, but this really is the most extraordinarily destructive decision inflicted on us in our lifetimes. Which is why, of course, focusing almost all coverage on the Labour Party story is such a profound betrayal by journalists of what their job ought to entail.
    Useless in peacetime, as they have been demonstrating for years, we now find them corrupt and adrift in a time of civil war. They should be thoroughly ashamed.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Paul. I prefer the route of telling – sorry, asking – Parliament to regretfully override the result, because 75% of MPs don’t want to leave the EU and Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum was an act of madness/gross cowardice. Then an immediate General Election is called.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Richard Osbourne wrote:

    OK, Andy, I’ve just read that article. Jeez it’s far worse than I’d seen earlier. The demons have come out in force and overnight. Wow. But, looking at a lot of the tweets, behind the racism, it seems to me there is decades of anger at multiculturalism and unfettered immigration being foisted on the working class – who weren’t exactly consulted about it. They are at the sharp end of globalisation. And if you see your job or council house taken by others, it’s possible to understand some of the anger. British people are known for being tolerant. However this is one nasty boil being lanced.

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    Jobs are never taken by immigrants – employers give them to people who they can employ more cheaply (or, in some cases, because they are regarded as better workers), Richard, so I’m sorry, I have no time for that “taking our jobs” argument. More fundamentally, globalisation and greedy western capitalists took their jobs. Also, social housing’s been taken away by government, and the rising rents are due to greed. I honestly haven’t been able to find any evidence that immigrants have taken much social housing. So I’ve seen these arguments building up over many years, but they’re false. What did Hitler start off by saying about the Jews?

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote, in response to 36, above:

    Seems disgracefully undemocratic and it’s hard to imagine anyone with the chutzpah to do a Sir Humphrey and make elaborate excuses for not triggering Article 50. “When the time is right” “in the fullness of time.” Though if anyone can pull off being a wanker and having his constituency love him for it, the great bumbler BoJo probably could. Suspect he’ll be knocked out though

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t think so, David. I don’t see what’s democratic about a cowardly PM letting people vote for something they didn’t understand in defiance of the majority opinion of MPs, including those of his own party.

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Rosey Prince wrote:

    God I never thought I’d see the day I’d be pleased about something Michael Heseltine said, times really do change 🙁

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, too right, Rosey. Heseltine leading the army to evict the Rainbow Village from Molesworth in February 1985, four months before the Battle of the Beanfield. That’s what I remember.

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    I don’t want to come off as negative, Andy but those who planned this year’s ago hold a lot of power (look what’s happening to Jeremy, not unrelated). They will be viciously in pursuit of accomplishing their goals and ripping Britain to shreds.

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    No, I don’t see that, Tashi. This was a miscalculation. They were happy with the way things were. Cameron didn’t think he’d lose, Boris didn’t think he’d win. He was just positioning himself to take over from Cameron in the near future. This is a victory for the ordinary British people who voted leave – but I don’t think most of them have any idea of what they want or what is achievable or what colossal damage they have inflicted on the country they claim to love.

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Okay. I see it differently. I see it as being planned. I see David Cameron calculating this move and knowing he’s resign. But then, I don’t believe democracy exists. I think it’s only an illusion so that people can feel they had some say.

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    I certainly agree with some of that, Tashi, especially when the establishment party is in power. I’d forgotten for a while that Labour are regarded as underclass usurpers by the establishment, until the Tories got back in in 2010 after 13 years away, and then I remembered – they believe they are born to rule. They have been forced to give away power over centuries of often violent struggle by the people, but fundamentally they treat us with contempt if they can get away with it. Democracy isn’t representative. We have a voting system called “first past the post” (aka “winner takes it all”), in case there was any doubt.
    So 24% of those who bothered to make themselves eligible to vote voted for the Tories in last year’s General Election. That was 36.9% of those who voted, but they got 51% of the seats. UKIP, meanwhile, got 3.9m votes, but just one seat. Under PR they would have had 84. But under PR there’d be no one-party governments, just coalitions, and the ruling class and the Blairite Labour Party that apes them doesn’t want that kind of fair representation. They want only the veneer of democracy – and total power.

  50. damo says...

    Osbornes just been on saying in a round the houses way there will have to be sacrifices made to public spending in a post brexit economy…?????????….more cuts…..and as usual its the poorest and most vulnerable who will be hammered by all of this ….people were bamboozeled and taken in by boris and farage ……madness colletive madness …… quote bette davis in all about eve……fasten your seatbelts …..its going to be a bumpy ride …..on a lighter notę pride was fun people haveing fun

  51. Andy Worthington says...

    When my friend Michael Bentley shared this, he wrote:

    The best, most powerful, informative and important article I’ve seen on the Brexit disaster – by my friend Andy Worthington. It’s long, but if you only read one piece on this subject, make it this one.

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate the supportive words. I’m just trying to articulate something that the media seems to be ignoring – all those faintly upbeat shiny people on the news behaving as though nothing cataclysmic has happened, failing to report on the extent to which racist abuse is out in the open across the country, and not resigning when told by their line managers to focus as much as possible on the Jeremy Corbyn coup story above all else, and not to home in unerringly on the Tories who are entirely to blame for this unprecedented national disaster. The time for aloofness and “objectivity” and biased news management is over. We need the truth. Racists need to be challenged by those interviewing them, and so-called “liberals” in positions of influence need to stop being so mealy-mouthed.

  53. Andy Worthington says...

    Why am I not surprised by that, Damo? The purpose of Osborne’s life seems to be to impoverish the poor as much as possible, so Brexit has no doubt provided another excuse. What I wonder though is why he thinks he’s uncontaminated by his best buddy’s abject failure to prevent this disastrous referendum and its deadly outcome. Surely his scalp will have to follow Cameron’s.

  54. damo says...

    Its very sad to see jeremy corbyn surrounded by such treachery …snakes in the grass on all sides he just wants a peacfull and fair world ……but thats not the gamę it seems nowadays ….maybe andy just maybe… this all goes wronge …it may just trigger a socialist revelution……whatch this space

  55. damo says...

    Lol …..the dumb blonde ….is back peddling …theres no wush to weave the wee woo….lol mummy sways im a widiot she sways i wavent got the faintest idea how to wipe my ares let alone run a …,lol

  56. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, the betrayal is disgraceful and idiotic. A bunch of unelectable, and in some cases completely unknown Labour MPs seeking to oust Jeremy Corbyn, like a re-run of last summer, as though they actually have no memory of how, last summer, a bunch of unelectable, and in one case completely unknown Labour MPs sought to be elected as leader, but were beaten by Jeremy Corbyn. I cannot express sufficiently how stupid this is, when the biggest story in the Labour Party’s history is right in front of them right now – the complete failure of the Tories, taken into a referendum by a man who didn’t want it, which was “won” by someone who didn’t even believe in his own side, and who, between them, have plunged the country into the worst chaos in our lifetimes.
    As for the bright future – let’s wait and see. I don’t see it right now, that’s for sure!
    This is what some of the Lexit people think,

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    Ha, yes, Damo. What a farce the Boris show is.

  58. Anna says...

    Hi Andy, I actually wrote this yesterday but then felt ‘who am I to have opinions in this’ and left it. However … re the parliament petition and while I fully understand that a therapeutic dose of escapist daydreaming is necessary, I’m afraid it’s reasonable to say that any discussions about voting thresholds or Parliamentary vetoing unwanted results should have been voiced & agreed upon in advance. Then everyone including the ‘rest of the world’ would have known to hold its breath after the results were announced, as legally the outcome might still be invalidated. But if it is true that global markets plunged (whatever that means) by over 2 Billion USD on Friday, not to mention the political turmoil all over the world, then backtracking no doubt would provoke even more global fury and I fear would make the UK laughing stock.

    Even if we assume that Merkel & the rest of the EU would be so relieved to have this drama undone -it being a nightmare from which it would love to wake up- that they would agree to backtrack (no doubt without ever any special favours for the UK anymore) what would the effect be in the UK itself? Not all of the exit voters have second thoughts and those who voted not out of spite but ‘convinced’ by the propaganda, will then in turn feel betrayed and risk becoming even more virulent, having a solid case for claiming they were discriminated against -> Farage et al win big. That could only (possibly) be avoided by a protracted period of proper extension about the pro’s and con’s and there’s no way the EU is going to sit and patiently wait until a few million British citizens will have -or have not- changed their minds.

    I think a more realistic option – albeit also in the realm of reading tea leaves but at least in your own hands – is for those who already regret their mistake plus those who soon will discover that they were cheated and are likely to end up in even a greater mess than they were before – to realize which politicians knowingly defrauded them and drop their support, which could at least clean up your political scene. That would require the same careful and factual extension mentioned before, which should unequivocably disentangle the lies and anti-immigrant propaganda and explain the real causes of the disenfranchisement, but at least time-wise that would be possible before general elections which I suppose will be inevitable. Maybe unlikely and an uphill battle -as Bernie would say and Jeremy no doubt will agree- but at least one you can to some extent shape yourselves.

    And if resentment against refugee influx is to be contained, ‘native’ needy groups must also benefit, a basic rule in refugee & IDP resettlement projects. Eg influx of foreign kids : rather than overload existing schools provide additional ones in previously underserved neighbourhoods so that local population gets more of a choice for its own kids. Difficult but not impossible.

    You have been valiantly campaigning -and with considerable success- for such social improvements in your own neighbourhood. Similar efforts are needed all over the country as well as politicians like Jeremy Corbyn. Let’s hope the current outrage will last long enough to morph into larger scale constructive action. Sorry to be so opinionated about someone else’s country, but sometimes a view from the outside shines a different light.

    Having said that, I think that even if petitions etc have little chance of achieving their U-turn objective, they still are extremely important, as they drive home what the true sentiment is in the UK, not only for your politicians and part of the deluded voters, but also and maybe just as importantly in the EU. In other words, even if the EU will not accept undoing the brexit (after all the damage it already caused), it will be a powerful message that the UK is not really anti-EU, that there is a broad basis for future and in fact continuing cooperation. It’s almost a civil society apology for the upheaval caused by a few ‘rotten apple’ politicians and an extended handshake. That would weaken the position of other potential EU leavers -sigh of relief in Brussels- and generally suggest that it all was one great misunderstanding and thus allow EU to save its -seriously dented- face. They then might be more open to positively react to specific civil society wishes such as in education, travel etc. After all, the less laws & regulations need to be undone, the cheaper and less stressful it also will be for the EU itself. So do keep signing them :-)!

    And when the nightmare gets too much, imagine for a moment you’re at the receiving end of regime change the US (and nowadays also Saudi) way : with physical bombs raining on your head & home … There’s nothing like thinking of other people’s greater misery to realize how much you still have to be grateful for. Let’s hope that when the dust settles some good changes will result from this wake-up call, also within the EU. And do come and visit this summer, all three of you 🙂 !

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    This is hugely important: How to stop Brexit: get your MP to vote it down

    Geoffrey Robinson QC persuasively makes the case that, for us to leave the EU, “Parliament must repeal the 1972 European Communities Act by which it voted to take us into the European Union – and MPs have every right, and indeed a duty if they think it best for Britain, to vote to stay.” As he also points out, Article 50 says, “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements,” and “the UK’s most fundamental constitutional requirement is that there must first be the approval of its parliament.” He then states that when a bill to repeal our EU membership is put before Parliament – perhaps in November – MPs “from London and Scotland should happily vote against it, following their constituents’ wishes,” as “should Labour MPs – it’s their party policy after all.” And as a reminder – 75% of MPs support staying in the EU, including a majority of Tory MPs. See:

  60. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Anna. As you can see from the comment above, linking to the article by Geoffrey Robinson QC (How to stop Brexit: get your MP to vote it down), I genuinely believe that a referendum called by a Prime Minister who didn’t want it, and won by a colleague of his who didn’t believe in his own campaign, won by such a small majority, and- crucially – opposed by 75% of MPs, shouldn’t be passed, when it stands to destroy Britain more than anything in living memory.
    Yes, it is hugely embarrassing, and yes it is not exactly democracy’s greatest day, but an immediate General Election ought to sort that out. If there are massive swings away from the main parties, UKIP will actually get serious representation in Parliament, and the Tories should get the bloody nose they deserve.
    You make some other good points, Anna, but at the moment I can’t get beyond trying to find ways to stop this whole disaster. I genuinely fear for the entire British economy if it isn’t stopped.

  61. damo says...

    Just watching the channel 4 news the sad thing is the rise of the far right and its on the rise …..brexit is the green light for people to let out all there hate ……theve just filmed in some destroyed northern town the people were going on about immagrants ect,ect …..but the realy sad thing is ……..there gonna bring the factorys back ………re open…..the hospital……our wages are gonna go up………..theve been sold the lie ….the sad sods…believed johnson,farage…the tories……thease people with nothing…… sad is that…..

  62. damo says...

    The thing is, when people over the next few weeks realise theve been sold a pup, thats when they will turn and god help boris and nigel

  63. Andy Worthington says...

    Channel 4 News was pretty good tonight, wasn’t it, Damo? Journalists finally taking it seriously. Jon Snow gave the risible Chris Grayling a hard time, as our economy freefalls and the Institute of Directors revealed that job losses have already begun, and the discussion between Leave and Remain voters was good too – Leave were worse than useless. Also good to see a major broadcaster looking seriously at the increase in racist violence – something that needs to be covered across the board, and condemned unequivocally.
    But yes, out in the provinces the delusions continue, and I too wonder what happens if they wake up, or, for that matter, what happens if they don’t. Sadly, although I can imagine the Tories suffering, and, hopefully, Boris especially, I can see Farage greasing his way around the country picking up considerable support. What an absolute disaster!

  64. damo says...

    This will fail everythings in freefall and its going to get much,much worse thease deluded leavers or duped leavers think industry is comeing back the immagrants are leaving there wages will rise its not going to happen brexit has been the killer blow after 37 years of destruction yes hopefully it will be the end of boris and co,but its alright for boris and co ,theve never had to live at the fagbutt end of life ,haveing fuck all struggleing on all fronts . Boris and co will dissapear but will never ever struggle like theve condemed the poorest of this country to …its unfaire in this hatefull country …get rid of the monachy and aristocracy and the class system …….then people might just have a chance

  65. damo says...

    The grotesque ch5 with all thease voyeristic sad programs feasting and gorgeing on peoples misery you know the ones…..benefits babys,mums,benefits on sea,….cant pay well take it away ,ect,ect …..thats modern life in the uk ,thats the sad fagbutt end of life ……lives and if you can call it liveing …..that boris and co will never have to expirence ………

  66. damo says...

    Finał word andy …there was a clip on rt news of an old man ,back bent through years of toil dressed in rags walking though what could have been the blitz … abandoned destroyed council estate …..he was enraged …its the bloody imagrants its all there fault ….the tories got one thing right …they have divided and conquered……thats real fucked up.

  67. damo says...

    Osborne has just announced that he will proceed with 30 billion worth of tax increases and spending cuts …..great

  68. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, Damo, my friend, what can I say?
    The collapse is monumental, seemingly unprecedented in our lifetimes, but the politicians and the media are largely behaving as though it’s business as usual. Only Channel 4 News last night showed a glimpse of the anger that is the correct response to this – not the Leave camp’s misguided anger, but the Remainers’ anger at David Cameron for calling the referendum and Boris Johnson and the many other senior Tory politicians who backed Leave.
    And in the meantime, as you note, Osborne pathetically pretends he’s still in charge and talks about more cuts – and although I admit that discussion of tax rises is a first, I’m sure the rich won’t be hit.
    BBC report here:

  69. damo says...

    I love those youngsters in trafalgar sq chanting ,in,in,in ……fab…….though can you believe it farage is in brussels ….gloating

  70. Andy Worthington says...

    Farage’s performance this morning was such a disgrace, Damo, but the young people in Trafalgar Square, who a moment ago were outside Parliament, in huge numbers, and drowning out Channel 4 News – are something else. Wonderful to see. “EU, we love you,” they were chanting.

  71. damo says...

    Those young people are great theve woken up and the defo do not want the world weve left for them ….farage is ….what can you say he was jeered in brussels wasent invited yet went all that way to gloat …..incredable the neck of the man ….it will end badly for farage…likewise with boris…..those two as we know have alienated this country against the world ….a backlash is inevitable ,lol even jamie oliver has said he will quit the uk if boris becomes pm

  72. damo says...

    Farage is STILL in brussels gloating ….he dosent get it …..nigel your not in anyway any sort of mp ….they dont like or want you there …but he,s just been pulled up by a rt reporter ….he was boasting and gloating saying go away europe we dont want you ….???? ,the reporter asked farage well what happens next do you have a plan ……..yes i have a plan……yeah i bet you do nigel …..he couldnt answer….

  73. Andy Worthington says...

    The protest looked great on Channel 4 News, Damo, and it was so heartening to see so many young people, angry at being betrayed, and so positive about being in the EU and supporting refugees and immigrants. I’m hoping to be involved in whatever protest takes place on Saturday. Perhaps one of the routes to a velvet revolution – people power – is going to happen, as it started to look like it could in 2010 with the student protests, until MPs betrayed them in Parliament and the Tories clamped down on them in the streets.
    There need to be mass protests every day, with millions of people i the streets, refusing to back down.
    As for Farage, his performance at the European Parliament was disgraceful. What a shrivelled little excuse for a human being he is.

  74. damo says...

    I watched parliment today tearing jeremy corbyn apart even dodgy dave got in on the act……discusting ,truly vile thease imoral crocked greedy corrupt subhumans the polititions of this country are repulsive.

  75. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s unbelievable, isn’t it, Damo? The unthinkable has happened – a coward (Cameron) agreed to hold a referendum he didn’t want to avoid a fight with his own party and UKIP, a self-seeking liar (Boris Johnson) led a campaign full of lies to win a victory he didn’t even believe in, and yet Johnson is AWOL but not getting any flak, Cameron is treated by the media as though its still business as usual, and has the nerve to insult Jeremy Corbyn today (in one of those rare cases of him letting the mask slip and showing the truly vile and violent nature of the Etonians when they confront someone they truly despise and who they think they can belittle or destroy), and the Labour Party rebels are so dysfunctional that they can’t even figure out who to stand against Corbyn, in the leadership contest they have so shamefully provoked, who stands a chance of winning. What words are strong enough to describe this selfish and self-defeating idiocy?

  76. damo says...

    What kind of message does this send out, it makes us look backwards in this country, feudal,class ridden,racist …..and backwards and inward looking ….lol lol….you couldnt make it up.

  77. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, I know, Damo. Isn’t it embarrassing? I was watching a report today from someone who has been reporting from the European Parliament for many years, and who said, after Cameron went home and the first meeting without him took place, that he had never seen the rest of Europe’s leaders looking so relaxed.
    As for Farage, he is beneath contempt, the sad little worm.

  78. damo says...

    Now ive a bad feeling that …..boris… going to become prime minnister he,s the favorite to lead the tories …wtf….it seems this country is becomeing more reviled by the day the eu union has just said ….the english languge is …..not….the only european language….german and french are more appropriate for europe …..what does that say to you ….the tories esp this bunch of tories realy have screwed it up havent they …..not forgetting the toxic blairites

  79. Andy Worthington says...

    I think the more sensible Tories – those who oppose leaving the EU – really don’t like Boris Johnson anymore, Damo, after his shameful position leading the Leave campaign that he didn’t even believe in, just to position himself to be seen as Cameron’s successor. And remember, a majority of Tory MPs didn’t want to leave the EU.
    But what do I know? Disasters happen all the time, and almost everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Theresa May might get it, you know, but there’s something of the night about her, for sure, to paraphrase what was said about Michael Howard. Plus I have vivid memories of what can happen when a scary woman leads the Tory party.
    There’s nothing we can do about any of it, though, is there? We can only hope that unity eludes the Tories, just as it is doing with the Parliamentary Labour Party, shamefully killing themselves in public. But for now, my friend, it’s very clearly au revoir and auf wiedersehen!

  80. Andy Worthington says...

    This is very good, from Facebook, posted by Maudie Pie –

    My f*cking amazing mother posted this earlier;

    I feel I need to respond to the various posts that I’ve seen, entreating, cajoling, mocking those of us who continue to express our dissatisfaction – actually our/my disgust – at the Brexit referendum result. I am being told that these people are still my friends – and that this was a democratic vote, and therefore I should have the grace to accept the result, abjure the ‘sour grapes’ position, join together with my erstwhile opponents, and get on board the Brexit bus.

    No. This was not some sort of village cricket match, where my side lost and I am required to be the ‘good loser’. Even the expectation of others that I ‘get over this’ asap seems to be further evidence (if indeed any were needed) of an abject failure to understand the enormity of what has just been done. At a minimum, every person who voted leave voted to put themselves and their country first. Before the wellbeing of all the other countries in the EU. Before global security which profits from a strong, united democratic block of countries. Never mind that I am confident that their belief that they have done themselves good is completely erroneous, it doesn’t change the motivation. Inward looking isolationism is the antithesis of everything I believe in – everything I identify with. I will not stand alongside those who support it.

    And I dispute the idea that I am being somehow anti-democratic by refusing to accept this. Democracy doesn’t mean that we sit back after the result, throw our hands up in the air and say ‘well I tried’. If it had been a General Election, the result would have come in and immediately we would have got right back to fighting our corner. Why should this be different? If those ‘leavers’ had lost the vote on Thursday, the arguments would have continued. Especially as the vote was so close. Especially as the vote was ‘advisory’.

    I am appalled at what just over half of the British electorate did on Thursday – and in equal parts ashamed and incandescent about the idea that those EU citizens living in this country, who are now suffering the fallout from the Brexit legitimisation of what, at best, can be called narrow minded and parochial attitudes to immigrants and non-white British citizens, will be looking at me and wondering if I was one of the 52%. When on Friday a Polish MEP retorted that we could rely on there being no more Polish airmen coming over to help, I cried with shame and embarrassment.

    You will, therefore, forgive me if I refuse to share the cup. Instead, I will continue to protest, in whatever way I can think of. I will sign petitions to call for further referendums. I will change party allegiance to whichever party will reverse this outrageous vote. I will point out, without cessation and to anyone who is prepared to listen, quite how mindlessly stupid this vote was, and in how many ways this vote was so mindlessly stupid, until something changes. Because if I don’t, I will have accepted that just over half of my fellow nationals can, with one (it would be so much better if I could believe that it was just uninformed) vote, persuade me to accept giving up on not all, but something certainly fundamental, about what I regard is at the core of how I try to live: open-minded, respectful, hopeful, inclusive acceptance. And accepting Brexit is inimical to that belief.

    I will not be gracefully standing down.

  81. damo says...

    I laughed when i saw gove stab boris in the back lol though the knives are out for gove allso this is all backfireing on boris ,farage and gove hopefully they will be destroyed and buried becomeing parrahia figures …thank god boris will never be pm ….but now we have…..dracula….theresa may……when will the public wake up and rid us of thease people

  82. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, no one saw that coming, Damo, but what a disgrace. He leads the campaign, secures victory, then realises what he’s done and is exposed as a massive self-serving hypocrite – to such an extent that, in large numbers, Tory MPs desert him. Such hubris. I shouldn’t think that Gove will be short of critics, because of the Leave campaign and his alliance with Boris, plus he’s such a weirdo, and every teacher and pupil in the land still hates him, but Theresa May — oh dear, a strong woman, awakening dominatrix fantasies in the inadequate English right-wing male, and how many of them there are. I can see her walking it, and it doesn’t reassure me that we’ve been saved from anything as a result of Boris’s disaster.

  83. damo says...

    Lol is there such a thing as a torie right wing …….małe..???????…..who isnt an inadaquate……lol…surly andy no such thing exists,lol

  84. Andy Worthington says...

    I couldn’t possibly tar every single Tory male with the same brush, could I, Damo? Surely some are worse than others?
    Seriously, though, we do have a problem with the kind of people who want to be leaders – not just the Tories but also all those Blairite Labour MPs. The problem – clearly, it seems to me – is people who aspire to power but don’t believe in the common good.

  85. damo says...

    Bingo andy there not interested in the common good or peoples struggles they dont care we now live in the sociopaths world …i,i,i,me,me,me,me and the thing is there growing in numbers ….becouse ………worth it and our mp,s of all stripes reflect this ….i was reading about some dreary divorce settlement the ex model said she needed 200 milion a year to spend on clothes,food,faceials,beauty ect,ect,becouse thats what she,s accostomed to ….heres the thing andy half the people in this world are starving and as enviromental changes take place that number will increase ….and were are our so called leaders in all of this ….feeding in the trough….thats were

  86. Andy Worthington says...

    What a terrible reality, Damo, that we’re plagued by the totally self-obsessed super-rich, and yet celebrity culture endlessly encourages people to slavishly follow whatever pointlessness they get up to.
    And in the meantime, as you note, the poor continue to get poorer, and yet poor people continue to be regarded with disdain by those seduced by the cultural demand to be obsessed with the rich.

  87. damo says...

    Some one who needs 200 million a year on vanity and lifestyle is going to be a very screwed up and troubled person they would be such high maintainence you,d not get 10 seconds, lol people crave fame and celebrity, wealth ….to fill a void an emptyness inside them …its a world full of dagmars famous for being famous and haveing nothing to say. Unlike the stars of old who were famous becouse they had talent being a great actor or entertainer or artist ….become famous and all your troubles will be over people seem terrified to look within.

  88. damo says...

    Celebritys used to have talent and class and to an extent so did polititions they wanted to give there best ….nowadays with the opening up of everything via social media ect,ect it just seems to be a more fame hungry grotesque race to the bottom ….nothing is off limits ….realy tasteless,tacky,and crass

  89. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s like the dying days of civilisation, Damo, as soon as you step back and look at it objectively. Kim Kardashian and her obsessive body manipulation and self-promotion, the endless parade of empty pretty things on Instagram, the shallow criteria for dating apps.
    People must be getting seriously messed up by the dominance of the visual, the shallow – while, of course, the self-obsession and vanity of the super-rich is in another league altogether.

  90. damo says...

    Society it seems is becomeing more …..deranged…..and twisted ….by the week ….but on a lighter note andrew marr has just…..destroyed…michael gove……saying he will never be prime minister ….a real mauling.

  91. damo says...

    I once watched 10 mins of the kardashian show there they were sat in the mansion …..the most banal small talk,saying nothing trivia ….dull,dull,dull small talk you could fit the conversation on a pinhead … and why would anyone……sane…want ,aspire or be remotely interested in anything thease ….stupid…people ever said or did…????

  92. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m very glad to hear about Michael Gove being destroyed by Andrew Marr, Damo, but behind it all that dreadful woman Theresa May is lurking, waiting to take over, when the truth is that, after the shambles of the referendum, both sides of the Tory Party ought to be thoroughly contaminated and toxic and unelectable – but here we are, back in the ongoing disgusting Tory Show, and the establishment – with the connivance of the Labour Party sell-outs – are still working on convincing the British people that we have a one-party system of permanent Tory rule and nothing else.
    As for the Kardashians – when that kind of emptiness is glorified, you have to wonder what possible resilience this sad excuse for a culture could possibly demonstrate if it all starts to turn nasty. Kind of how Rome was sacked by the barbarians …

  93. damo says...

    We need to get thease tories out of power ASAP they are not just killing the disabled, poor …there killing this country…….but where are labour

  94. Andy Worthington says...

    Where, indeed, Damo? It’s such a disgrace that Labour failed to attack the Tories as they deserved after the referendum result – a one-off opportunity to highlight their extraordinary incompetence, arrogance and lies. But it’s easy to imagine the PLP’s meetings behind Jeremy Corbyn’s back – worried that complaining too much about those who voted Leave would damage their electoral chances in the long run. Mind you, I don’t think Jeremy was up for an attack on the Leave campaign either, so on all sides that never-to-be-repeated opportunity was wasted.

  95. damo says...

    But what does this mean andy perpetual tories, god help us

  96. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, how is that possible, Damo? Cameron took us into this disaster, Johnson and Gove secured it, and yet Cameron’s resignation, Johnson’s sudden humiliation and Gove’s ongoing humiliation don’t seem to have destroyed their credibility, as should surely have happened. And Theresa May’s already made it clear that she doesn’t want another General Election until 2020.
    I don’t know how we get out of this. We need to keep pushing for our EU departure to be overruled by Parliament, and for there to be a General Election, although even then I don’t see anyone beating the damned Tories. Labour’s suidical coup hasn’t helped, but even without it I couldn’t see Jeremy Corbyn winning – although of course it will/would be much worse if one of the Blairites replaced him.
    Is an anything-but-Tory coalition possible if we can get a General Election? Is it likely that the Tories’ support will crumble as the EU negotiations make it clear that we’re screwed if we trigger Article 50 and actually leave the EU? Will Tory support crumble if we proceed with leaving the EU and our economy tanks irredeemably?
    What a nightmare to live in a country that is in such a mess, but to be constantly reminded that the people who caused that mess – and who continue to treat us with contempt unless we’re rich – appear to be permanently in power. I didn’t see this coming in 2010.

  97. damo says...

    That vile runt farage has resighned from ukip …saying job done ….the little maggot

  98. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, they’re all scuttling away from their responsibilities, Damo. I do think that UKIP will struggle without Farage, so that’s good news (unless the little rodent un-resigns again), but as it stands his disappearance will probably only benefit the Tories, who are busily trying to reinvent themselves via either Theresa May or that woman nobody had heard of before who voted Leave – Andrea Leadsom. How can they get away with it? All this sh*t is their fault – theirs and the wretched media that supports them.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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