Look what we’ve done now!

I went to bed worried on Thursday night (or was it Friday morning?) having heard the first few referendum results, and woke to be devastated by the news early on Friday morning. Devastated may sound like an exaggeration but I assure you it isn’t – and it’s a word that I have heard from many friends over the last few days too. We’ve really done it now!

Well, who is ‘we’ now? We are a very divided and un-united kingdom. From this day I am no longer going to use the term UK, but only u-UK (for un-United Kingdom). Maybe it should be dUK – for we have ducked the challenge of the future.

Scotland voted solidly for remain as did Northern Ireland, whereas England (outside London) and Wales voted for Brexit. And the young voted for Remain (although not enough of them came out and voted) and the old voted for Brexit. This was summed up in two radio anecdotes from my car travels on Friday: an 80+ ex-soldier (Radio 4 news?) in tears of joy that we would no longer be ruled by Germany and two bright, coherent young women who were disappointed, worried and felt let down (BBC Radio4 Woman’s Hour).  I’ve often thought that votes should be on a sliding scale with a young vote counting for more than an old one. I also may get a T-shirt saying ‘I may look old to you but I voted Remain too’.

There is so much to reevaluate and ponder, but here are a few early thoughts:


  • the environment and wildlife – probably! It depends.  Everything’ depends’ now, and it depends on things over which you and I have rather little control.  The struggle to protect the environment hasn’t ended, the need is just as strong but the task has got a lot more difficult without the inefficient safety net of the EU.
  • the United Kingdom – is Scotland ready for a flood of English environmental refugees? Anyone got a house for sale? I’d vote for Scottish independence under these circumstances and wish all Scots who do so the very best of luck.
  • politicians in general – the standard of debate, on both sides of the argument, in the referendum campaign was atrocious. Truly awful. Almost every politician that I disliked I now dislike more, and many of the ones I liked have gone down in my estimation. And I reckon, you may not agree, that I am pretty tolerant of politicians in general and of political opponents too.  I can only think of four MPs whose currency in my mind has not been devalued and those are Ken Clarke, Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn and Caroline Lucas (I’m sure there should be more but those are the ones that came to mind) – all on the losing side of the argument of course.  I remember on an evening in September 2015 (when my young friend Findlay Wilde made an excellent speech) talking to Caroline Lucas and being taken aback when she said that she was afraid there was a real possibility that we might lose the EU referendum – that was  a shock at the time and it lodged in my mind.
  • wildlife NGOS – they didn’t look like players in the debate and now they will be focussing on shoring up their finances. There will be losses of jobs and of power and influence in many of the smaller wildlife NGOs (eg many county Wildlife Trusts, but also more generally). The RSPB now has to plan for a break up of the RSPB after a Scottish exit from the uUK – it might not happen, but then again, it might happen within two years (see the words at the top of p290 in Fighting for Birds). The RSPB and WWF, who are the strongest players in their networks in Europe, will be greatly diminished in enthusiasm and ability to influence EU policy and the whole of the EU’s wildlife will suffer.
  • Hen Harriers – Yes, let’s make the point here. The fact that many Special Protection Areas for birds, notified under the EU Birds Directive, are vastly underachieving in terms of their Hen Harrier populations is not a very powerful argument in a uUK heading out of the EU. Likewise, the RSPB complaint against the uUK government about failure to implement the Habitats Directive properly in protecting blanket bogs from excessive burning will now fizzle out and will have gained us nothing whatsoever – because we are now in Brexit limbo. And the RSPB Skydancer project is EU-funded, remember.
  • David Cameron – the PR PM gambled with our future for party political reasons (I believe) and lost his job, the uUK and may have started the break up of the EU as a result – quite a legacy just to try, and fail, to keep the Tory right under control. Tony Blair would never have made that mistake.
  • Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove – all seem to be winners, but all look clueless about where we go from here and their lack of a plan will be their downfall.  Their best day was 22 June – it’s downhill all the way from there.
  • Jeremy Corbyn – this is a tricky one. I voted for Corbyn to be Labour Leader, partly because the rest of the field looked hopeless, and despite misgivings about his EU stance (and other areas too of course).  My assumption, totally wrong, was that we would vote to Remain whatever Corbyn said or did and then we could get on with life. Corbyn’s assessment of 7 out of 10 for the EU was actually quite right – I’d give it 7.5 out of 10 myself – but that was in comparison to a 2 out of 10 for the Brexit option.  Corbyn now faces a vote of no confidence and may be gone in days or weeks. This is slightly odd for a party leader who has shown himself to be in tune with a large part of the traditional voters of his party. All those solid Labour seats in Wales and the north which voted for Brexit – not my choice remember – but Corbyn was in tune with them but tried to hide it.
  • the parliamentary Labour Party – when I heard Ben Bradshaw (Radio 4 again, of course) saying on Friday morning (I was looking over Gunnerside and Grinton at the time I remember) that Labout is a pro-EU party it seemed to me to exemplify the gulf between Labour MPs (many of whom I admire and with many of whom I agree) and Labour voters. Difficult time ahead.
  • farmers – we won’t decide to pay farmers just for being farmers in the new set-up. We can take our money back to pay for the NHS, foreign holidays and a countryside that we want, or just go down the pub with Nigel Farage.
  • the EU – will it exist in anything like its current shape in five years’ time?


  • the Green Party – I wouldn’t advise you to jump ship from Labour yet, but the lifeboat for the disappointed Left looks like the Green Party.
  • the LibDems – Tim Farron is a bit of a twit, but he sounded quite good on the radio (Radio 4 of course) on Friday – slightly shrill but lots of passion.
  • Brexit voters who die soon – only because they won’t see the mess that is made of what they wanted.




94 Replies to “Look what we’ve done now!”

  1. Quite simply, England has lost its head – its becoming quite clear that the Brexit leaders never really expected to win and haven’t the faintest idea what to do next – compounded by the fact that the vote doesn’t really seem to be about Brexit so much as the disastrous Conservative policies and in fighting of the last 6 years – most leave voters seemed to know little about the EU, but quite rightly felt abandoned by a political establishment – led by the people telling them to vote no.

    Whatever it may think internally, from my perspective (as a Labour voter) the Labour party has to all intents and purposes ceased to exist. Whilst I had hopes (nota as many as you, mark) of Jeremy Corbyn he might as well not have existed as far as this vote was concerned.

    And it was very interesting – maybe there is some hope there ? – that the Dutch Foreign Minister said ‘Europe is fed up with (not England or Britain) the Conservative party.’

    As usual in recent years the only person who knew what they were doing, and seemed to be on the same side as her voters, was Nicola Sturgeon – a Sturgeon indeed amongst political minnows !

    1. I agree entirely (I think). As an Englishman living in Scotland I am not in the easiest of positions but I voted for Scottish independence last time round. I had begun to go off the SNP a bit for a variety of reasons but if they are the only way I shall get to retain my EU citizenship, then I shall back Nicola Sturgeon every inch (er, centimetre?) of the way.

    2. Some interesting things in the Times yesterday, saying ‘of course those hit hardest by globalization didn’t vote for more of it’ and ‘many in the UK working class are suffering from low wages and zero hours contracts, why wouldn’t they vote for a change?’. Also an interesting analysis about how being pro/anti Europe has swapped between the parties over the decades. (And a fabulous cartoon of gove/johnson/farage as the three witches, with Cameron & Osborne going in the soup(!), which everyone can see for free, if they’re quick, at timescartoons.co.uk)

  2. This is (typically) excellent, Mark. I share your feelings of devastation (and your age) – I love your T-shirt idea, which made me smile, despite the mayhem that’s going on as I write. As an ex teacher, I am appalled by the ignorance expressed in the vote and can’t help feel that I failed somehow. The short sightedness of ‘Get over it, time to move on’ as if nothing of consequence has happened is staggering. I know young people who are in despair because this will affect them for the rest of their lives, curtailing their employment opportunities.

    Heaven knows what will happen to the environment if we are led by climate change deniers who regard habitat and species protection legislation as ‘red tape’.

    Like you, I am a Labour Party member with strong Green inclinations. I voted for Jeremy Corbyn and support his ideals, but I can see that he is not able to win the support of a public who judge more by the values of our wretched popular press. I am deeply suspicious of the policies of the Labour rebels.

    If the ship goes down, I may be joining you in the lifeboat!

    1. Hang on there – Corbyn absolutely does have the support of the public. All his effort on ‘remain’ was completely defused by rabidly biased media not reporting him. What he doesn’t have is the loyalty of the Conservative wing of the Labour Party, many of whom are resigning. But who cares- look at the list of them on the news – never heard of them

      1. ….whoops, half a comment.
        These arrogant sods who attack Corbyn have over inflated egos; outside their local sphere they are unknown. But a rabidly biased media latch on to the non-entities with glee (BBC now the daily sport of TV news – tragic) and pile in on Corbyn too. We all need to be writing to Labour MPs to beg em not to keep shooting each other in the foot. And to the BBC to ask them to stop creating news by conspiring with all the loose cannons and clowns in damaging the hopes of the moderate decent part of the electorate.

  3. Liverpool has a similar demographic to most of the disaffected northern working class towns and cities but voted to remain. The Sun newspaper isn’t very popular there is it! It seems that all this scapegoating, anti-corbyn rhetoric is being stoked by the gutter media. (What time is Murdoch’s coronation?)

    The Leave voters keep saying that it was a democratic process and remain should accept the vote and move on. How can it be a democratic decision when it was all based on lies only now being admitted.

    The saddest thing of all is that the situation has been seized on by the right. Incidents of racial hatred and abuse have been reported. This country is descending into a firery pit of hatred.

    Labour need to be strong and stick together. Unfortunately the usual suspects are using the situation to their own political advantage (sounds familiar? RE Boris?). The members voted for Corbyn and its up to the members to decide if he’s up to the job. The Blairites need to pipe down and get labour through the tempest this country and about to sail head on into. This country needs a strong anchor.

    1. Of course the other demographic that reads newspapers (and especially gutter press like the Mail and Express) more is the old. And look how they voted.

  4. Oh dear, you ARE disappointed! But where’s that S.B.U-Lip? The future may be as bad as they say for everyone is guessing and probably on the negative side, just to make sure. We in EU were disappointed too at the result. Although documents may say Britain is no longer a part of it, feelings have not changed and you still have the goodwill of all countries, judging by the comments in the international press that have been extremely sympathetic and understanding, if a little puzzled!

    Like others, I am more interested in how “brexit” affects animals and environment for although I live in Finland I am still English at heart so if my signature on a petition is still of use, I shall continue to give it.

    But I truly feel sorry for the youngsters who must deal with the outcome whatever it is and applaud your idea of sliding scale voting as the most sensible I have ever heard. A famous person once said “If you can’t leave the world a better place than you found it, at least don’t make it worse”. Good advice but seldom heeded.

  5. Liverpool (and several other areas were firmly remain, (not just London and Scotland).

    If the Brexit bunch get power then you can guarantee that the environment will suffer. This is the first bit of ‘red tape’ that will be cut for the minority to line their pockets in the short term at the expense of the long term interests of the many.

    Labour unfortunately is a pit of vipers. What the country needs is a good, strong socialist alternative. One that will rebut the lies cast towards it by Tories and the likes of Farage. Alas we have Andy Burnham Whois ‘listening to his constituents concerns about immigration’. Going from the Tory-lite of Blair to UKIP-lite isn’t going to do the party or any of its traditional supporters any favours.

    I’ve previously voted Libdem (in the forlorn hope of ousting a Tory from a safe seat). I then decided to vote with my principles and vote Green (in safe Labour territory). I come from a background of Labour voting people and would vote for the if they were worthy and principled.

    I come from a working class background but could probably be categorised as middle class now. I, and others like me have voted with the best interests of ‘the less advantaged’ at heart (we’d probably financially be better off under Tories but have a belief in social justice). Would people do the same again when they see the people that they thought they cared about voting for the racist and idiotic Farage?

    I’m sad and ashamed for my country, hearing people from other European countries say that they feel vulnerable and unwelcome here is tragic. The similarities of UK 2026 to 1930’s Germany are striking. My father fought the fascists and won and I’ll do the same if I have to.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with both Roderick and Mark. It seems to me that all the things I abhor won on Thursday, led by that lying buffoon Johnson, the idiot Gove, near racist Farage, who has cynically milked the EU gravy train for years. Whilst a seemingly impotent Corbyn was totally sidelined, I see today he has sacked Hilary Benn who I hope succeeds him only too soon or that lifeboat may become very crowded indeed!

    1. Unfortunately once again it appears Benn may not stand. He seems to prefer agitation to responsibility.

  7. Put me down for t shirt Mark,this is one 70 plus that did not vote leave.None of our friends over 60 plus years old friends voted to leave but then us old foggies always kick and scream against change but this disaster warrants a lot of kicking and screaming

      1. The difference being that the general populations of Scotland and NI are already highly politically aware in a way that the populations of Sunderland and the like are not. This is really the first time they’ve had a direct say in anything, ever. NI has been politically aware for well over a century now, and while Scotland’s political awareness took a tanking after the Act of Union it came back to life with a vengeance after devolution. The populations there, even the people without much higher education, know what what is what in politics and which actions effect them positively and negatively and how to calculate the difference.

        Maybe if the English regions had had such devolution (North, Midlands, Cornwall and West Country, London and Dormitories) as was one suggested then it wouldn’t have been so bad. Then again, Wales ought to be as politically savvy as Scotland at least, and the turkeys there just voted for Christmas too. Amazing since Wales more than anywhere else in the UK has benefited from the EU.

  8. Agree. All awful.

    Can I suggest rather than u-UK that FUK is more apt? – formerly united kingdom? It also sound like most people’s first reaction?

  9. The whole issue has shown the distrust/dislike that the public have of politicians who have served themselves and ignored the real issues we face. The repeated lies and false promises that are now being repeated as the Leave campaign now retract the very ideas that probably won them the vote. Do they not realise that this is what causes the resentment? I still think Corbyn is pushing the Labour party in the right direction, but do share concerns re his ability as an effective communicator. I can foresee new alliances being formed between the Labour left and the Greens and possibly the centre of the Tory and Labour parties. No party will be elected unless it can at least present a united front. At this stage it does not appear that this all helps our cause very much-but things change quickly.

  10. I am a passionate environmentalist and European but also a Conservative Councillor who voted to remain. I too am devastated by the result from a personal and political perspective. My daughter is able to work in Switzerland as an EU citizen but her status will change so I wonder where are we going from here? Will we get a lot of professionals back in exchange for professional jobs leaving? I dont know. There are a lot of people saying that despite having no map or knowing how switch on the sat nav, it will be all right ……………unfortunately I am not convinced.
    Politically it would appear that a number of people did not expect the result and are genuinely surprised that the fallout has cost the PM, (probably) the Labour leader, (possibly) Scotland and Gibraltar and the goodwill of our neighbours. The politicians (both sides) are rapidly reverting to type and distancing themselves from anything they said or promised in the campaign so I find myself asking ‘What was the point?’. Well sadly the point was to shut up Tory Eurosceptics and shoot the UKIP fox but that has backfired on everyone including our EU partners who will be damaged by this as well.
    So what next? Although there is a campaign for another referendum under different rules I suggest that the only way out is for the new PM to go to the country to get a proper mandate before triggering Article 50 – the EU wont like it but I and presumably 16million others would not vote for a party that had triggering Brexit as a manifesto promise and history tells me that should be enough for a Lab/LibDem coalition or another hung/coalition government. But if an election is called we must mobilise much better to set out the advantages of membership. My immediate dilemma is whether to stay a Conservative party member and vote for the new leader or walk away!

    1. Gwil – in Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll on the referendum, 28% of all Conservatives see “The Green Movement” as a force for ill (for UKIP its 38%). I commend your important role to reach out, as the green movement can only achieve what we know it must by reaching out.

      Gove is on record for deciding we need to leave the EU because it prevents housebuilding by dictating “the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds”. We now live in a Post-Factual democracy, where reason has no place, and lies are routine.

      Can you sincerely say that you can positively influence these lunatics that have taken over your party and are trashing our democracy? I fear not. Maybe independent, maybe a new pro-euro Tory faction, but there is no room for environmental thinking in coming years inside the Tories.

      1. Yes thanks David. I was working in political engagement for Natural England when Gove was making those remarks and the tide seems to still be going out but faster! The trouble with the Greens as an alternative is the ‘Green on the outside and Red on the inside view’ which rightly or wrongly tarnishes their appeal.
        In my view everyone with a stake in the environment ie everyone needs to be brought together. So general nature conservationists like me need to ally with the entire range of environmental consumers from birdwatchers through to food producers. We get our environment for free and ‘selling it off’ through lax protections should not be an option.
        I think I know where I am going!

        1. I am nearly with you all the way. Fully with you on the limitations of the breadth of appeal of the Greens. However, there is a political stance which is, to borrow a phrase from previous failures of British unity, beyond the pale. There is no meaningful engagement to be had with UKIP on the environment, and beyond them, there is no meaningful – or rather legitimate – engagement at all.

          There has long been a very credible strand of thought with the Tory party supporting the environment, but only within the One Nation Tory end, not the Neo-Liberal cum Tea Party brigade. With the party now moving firmly into Tea Party territory, I fear green Tories are increasingly as irrelevent as Dave’s Huskies.

  11. I am very angry that so many politicians have allowed short-term political gain override the long-term interests of the country. Top of the list, Cameron, using the UK’s future in Europe to continue a playground scrap with Boris Johnson. Not far behind, Corbyn, who missed so many opportunities to provide effective opposition in the past few months and allowed the Brexit campaigners to say they were the voice of the people.

  12. I agree with virtually everything you have said, Mark. I felt devastated on Friday and I feel the same today but I also feel very angry about the old thickos who have delivered us to this situation (I am 68 and strongly supported remain). When Cameron idiotically went for a referendum it was like giving a machine gun to a five years old. Most of those who expressed their reasons for voting to leave seem to have been so ignorant of the facts. My sister said that before we went into the Common Market we were a great country and now we are not and besides that she didn’t believe in zero hours contracts for workers! That was her thinking behind a leave vote. What an example of political illiteracy and lack of education. So many others seem to have voted emotionally, irrationally and xenophobically rather than assessing what might be best for the country but that is the consequence of us being a politically immature society (like most modern societies, I guess) that is easily swayed by the demagoguery of politicians and the press. Now I wonder what will be the reaction when they realise that not only will the country be worse off economically and in every other way but that many of the so called ‘Ills’ of EU membership will continue as before. Or perhaps they wont notice that because of the warm glow that ‘having their country back’ confers on them. We now seem destined to have an even more right-wing government than before that will start stripping all the EU ‘red tape’ from our legislation and thereby constraining all our economic, social and environmental rights. It will be the culmination of Thatcherite doctrine and delivered on a plate by a huge proportion of working class, traditionally Labour-supporting voters who didn’t know what they were doing. I keep thinking ‘surely Parliament can’t just accept this result’ (narrow as it was) because it is going to be so destructive not only in Britain but in the rest of Europe but none of our representatives seems to want to challenge it. So, perhaps the most important decision since the last war has not been made competently by people who understand but by a rabble of political illiterates who didn’t understand the issues involved. We will be seen as the most stupid people in Europe.

  13. One might say that, living in Scotland as I do, I might feel better than I would were I south of the Border with English Nationalism on the rampage there. That is far from the case as the ghastly decision to which we woke up on Friday morning has alarming implications UK-wide, Europe-wide and world-wide. As to the environment and although it may be difficult to achieve, now is the time for all of the UK environmental/wildlife NGOs to join forces (I don’t mean by that a formal amalgamation) so as to present a cohesive and forceful message to government and if necessary persist in putting across this message. Between them they have enough members among the voting public to achieve something worthwhile.

  14. Like you Mark I was devasted by the news on Friday morning. It looks like nature and wildlife will now be in the hands of those who regard it as just getting in their way and wish to sweep it aside. Additionally if one considers the the result overall it has to be wrong for all of us at every single level. The Conservative Party are destroying this country for the sake of trying and failing to unify themselves, while Mr Corbyn, I am afraid, is totally unable to galvanise and lead the opposition, so things could hardly be worse.
    The conservation NGOs must prepare and unite themselves for battles “royal” to come.
    The one ray of hope is Scotland, let’s all hope that they hold their second referendum and that they vote to become independent and therefore remain in the EU. I hope I am not clutching at straws in this respect.

  15. “Likewise, the RSPB complaint against the uUK government about failure to implement the Habitats Directive properly in protecting blanket bogs from excessive burning will now fizzle out and will have gained us nothing whatsoever.”

    This may be true but I hope not. As I understand it our rights and obligations as EU members continue up to the point we actually leave. I would press the RSPB to continue to pursue this if at all possible. Obviously during the limbo period it will be nigh on impossible to initiate any new actions involving EU institutions but for those things that are already in progress we have not yet left the organisation so they should continue.

  16. Well well,lots of sour grapes on almost all the above including seemingly calling those who voted out as ignorant.
    Facts as I see them.
    Age nothing to do with voting statistics as it could only be a poll thing and of course polls suggested resounding in vote so polls obviously no guide.
    Lets not rubbish older generation they obviously almost certainly have family’s that they certainly love and took what they thought best for the youngsters into account including even those coming into this world in the future.
    In a democratic referendum then it is expected that those on the other side get on with life and make things work.
    What is absolutely disgraceful is the in side making out it is a racist thing as it can be nothing of the sort as it is likely we will now be able to take into this country who we want whether they are any colour and it is likely we will actually take more coloured people than before.
    As someone who spent some time in hospital my appreciation of the job some immigrants do knows no bounds but of course we can still encourage such as those to come.The vast majority of out voters have no issue with race no more than the in voters do.
    For goodness sake why make such a issue of it how would you have reacted on hearing on the third of September 1939 that we were at war.
    You really need to get things in perspective,get your own party on sound ground and make this country good for everyone in it.

    1. What a load paternalistic, condescending, imperialistic claptrap you just wrote. ANd based on an utter lie too.

      1. R22,interesting you did not put what the lie is but your comment rather says more about you being a poor loser.

        1. Britain is more divided than I have ever known it – perhaps more so than during the partition of Ireland. As such hectoring us “poor losers” on how we need to put up when the result was so disputed and the consequences so extreme and irreversible is unhelpful. Your condescension comes on a day when many who are or look like immigrants are now becoming victims of racist abuse.

          Your disregard for consensus is why the United Kingdom is breaking up.

          The poor and our environment will be losers in this situation.

    2. “In a democratic referendum then it is expected that those on the other side get on with life and make things work.”

      In a democratic referendum it is expected that the issues are debated publicly in a balanced way. They simply were not. That is why we have the largest petition in the UK ever currently doing the rounds. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215

      1. A petition which the usual suspects and keyboard warriors are trying to undermine by claiming it’s all fixed.

        It clearly isn’t too any significant extent – a glance at the map shows the correlation with the remain vote.

  17. The problem being that so many of those politicians had massive credibility problems before the debate even started. How could anyone believe Cameron et al in anything? I mean I know Leave is composed of some of the worst dregs of British society, but they were up against people in power who had been proven by their own actions to be liars ten times over. If they said it, it seemed like a lie right off the bat.

    I also don’t think it is fair to blame all politicians since all the Scottish ones and many of the Welsh ones flat out told Cameron that it was too soon after their elections and their party coffers would be too depleted and activists too exhausted to run an effective campaign. And also pointed out that in the middle of a Euro football competition, not to mention the run up to school holidays, it would all play to strengthen the Leave vote on inflamed emotion and lost votes. Cameron did it anyway. The pure arrogance of the man.

    Now we are all screwed, I just hope that Scottish politicians can get their act together and organise a “Yes” vote pretty damn soon and negotiate a way to stay in the EU as the rest of the UK crashes out. Hell, I’d even support a Scotland, NI, London “United Kingdom” as the successor state for that purpose (but only on the precondition that its parliament moved in a circuit, sitting through all constituents in turn). And maybe we can then build a wall, and make England pay for it (joke).

    I knew it would happen, I kept telling people they were underestimating the sheer racism and delusions of grandeur of the English population. I get that a lot of it is anger at austerity and -in Wales- the government’s refusal to step in after the Steel industry collapsed, but the EU was a thing that managed to ameliorate, even a little, Westminster’s assault on the poor. Ending austerity was in the grasp of Britain all along, they blamed the wrong target and now we all suffer.

  18. I went to bed at 10am on Friday morning feeling as dismayed with British politics as I have ever done, it was the first time I’d had whisky for breakfast in over 10 years. It didn’t help.

    On one level I think Cameron was right to hold the referendum – I don’t anyone could have predicted the extent to which it would be treated as a protest vote by the disaffected, or the depths to which right-wing demagogues would be prepared to sink, yet be so effective. Chilling.

    What a legacy the Baby Boomers have passed down – the generation that benefited from the perks of cheap house prices, generous pension schemes and free university education. As though a legacy of climate change, a degraded environment and unsustainable national debt wasn’t enough – they’ve now added to that isolationism, a dodgy credit rating, a broken Union and increased marginalisation. The selfish b@stards.

    1. Ernest,will not even bother to point out all the wrong facts in your comment but it comes over as worse than racism and I would have thought well beneath your level of intelligence.
      One point I will make that you should have considered just look at how as you call them the Baby Boomers lived with a relatively very moderate lifestyle and none of the now necessary????? gadgets and ready meals and restaurant meals then history tells me that each generation has equal buying opportunities with house buying as the wages are always in the same basic proportion and actually with mortgage rates being so much lower now if today’s generation made the same sacrifices as your Baby Boomers then they would be in a better position than than the BBs were to buy a house.

      1. ‘will not even bother to point out all the wrong facts in your comment’

        That comes as no surprise Dennis – you do display a propensity for disregarding facts.

        ‘worse than racism’


        1. we are now in a Post-Factual country. This reality represents the environment’s greatest existential threat. We cannot reason with Dennis Ames, as his position is entirely unreasonable (I mean this literally, not as a pejorative term)

  19. Devastated, ashamed to be English, extremely worried for the future and angry that such a momentous decision has been taken on the basis of a pack of lies and under-pinned by xenophobia and racism (and yes, I know that not everyone who voted for leave is racist, but no-one will ever convince me that if you if it wasn’t for the votes of people who are, remain would have won by a landslide).

    So what now? I fear it’s too late to repair most of the damage, but we have to rescue what we can from this mess. I don’t believe it will happen, but for me the 75%+ of our elected MPs who supported remain should, for once, put personal ambition and party loyalty aside and the country’s future first. They should bring a vote of no-confidence in the Government as soon as possible and force a general election. If that leads to the demise of the Conservative and Labour parties, then so be it – some things (actually, many things) are more important.

    The general election should then be fought with a new centrist party standing in the English seats on a platform of seeking a path to remain in the EU (frankly the rest of their policies don’t matter that much – if we do exit, Government will have no time to think about anything else for the next 3 years, and there’ll be no money to spend anyway! Personally, I would add enfranchising 16 and 17 year olds to the list though). A decision should be made on a constituency-by-constituency basis as to who the best candidate is to fight in the local area. Other parties that are pro-remain should stand aside and make it a straight fight against whatever monster emerges from the Johnson/Gove/Farage love in – except they actually hate each other really, so with a bit of luck they’ll split the ‘leave’ vote.

    Outside of England, the SNP and Plaid should lead the way. For the SNP, an independent Scotland with the rest of the uUK out of the EU can’t really be what they want, so they should put thoughts of a second referendum aside for now and fight for the broader national interest.

    Add the 16+ million people who voted remain, to those who voted leave but are now regretting it (and I’m sure we’ve all spoken to some of those!), to those reaching their 18th birthday between now and an election, and there’s a good chance of an outcome whereby the notice under article 50 will never be served. Remember, a long way short of 50% of the population voted to leave.

    There would be an inevitable outcry about the results of the referendum being ignored, but it will have been overturned by a democratic process based on the will of the people. Surely that would be a great example of the ‘control’ that the Brexiters are so keen on!

    OK, so there are a hundred reasons why this idea is flawed and will never happen. But forgive me for clutching at straws. If feels like a time to cling on to even a small glimmer of hope!

    1. “For the SNP, an independent Scotland with the rest of the uUK out of the EU can’t really be what they want, so they should put thoughts of a second referendum aside for now and fight for the broader national interest.”

      It’s not an ideal situation, James, but what do you honestly expect the SNP to do? The SNP is pro-independence (as are a growing number of Scottish residents), and pro-EU (as are the majority of Scots), but we are to be denied all of this to fight for the “broader national interest”?

      Sadly, the people of Scotland have been lied to for decades. We have been deceived, and generally treated like filth by the establishment and its media (treatment which is almost on a par with that handed out to immigrants and poor, unfortunate refugees), and our democratically elected MPs are regularly ignored, or laughed at by unionist politicians, so it is patently clear that we are no longer considered as equal members as far as the dysfunctional UK is concerned.

      It is becoming obvious that Scotland will again be seeking independence from the UK, and hopefully with membership of the EU, and I don’t see why our destiny should be postponed or cancelled in order to save a union that detests our very existence.

      However, I do fear for England and Wales, especially if a snap election is called. With the Tories in disarray, and the right-wing, Chilcott-fearing element of Labour attempting a coup, the only winners would be UKIP, which would be more disastrous for the UK than Brexit.

      The only hope for England and Wales is for Corbyn to rid his party of the right-wing nutjobs, and hope for some form of informal left-leaning pact with Green and Plaid members, along with the SNP for the time being.

    2. And just to add to my previous comment, Alyn Smith MEP gave a heartfelt speech to the European Parliament today, urging our European neighbours not to let Scotland down.

      This was greeted by a standing ovation from other MEPs, however not all MEPs took too kindly to this show of unity. Nigel Farage, the voice of the United Kingdom and the Leave Campaign, allegedly response was “Scotland can fuck off”.

      34 seconds into the clip

  20. I tried to write how I really felt to share it widely with friends last night. I couldn’t. I just cried. It was like a good friend had died. Genuinely hurt by this and so disorientated. Taking a long social media break as I do worry it is part of the problem that information is no longer a currency.

  21. There is a another petition on the uk gov petition web site which has attracted over 3,000,000 votes in a little over 2 days stating that EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum. At the moment this petition is attracting votes at over a 1000 a minute, but considering Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain you would expect that this petition would attract more votes than it has to date. I too voted to remain and am a pensioner so I like the t shirt idea, perhaps with a hen harrier message as well or at least a nature message.

  22. 3rd day and still in shock. Not surprise but shock.
    Totally agree with Mark’s Cameron bullet point.
    Unbelievable. It feels a bit like a WW I moment, almost an accident, where the Kaiser goes on holiday without his mobile phone and comes back to WWI. The EU break up by a political accident.
    I rarely if ever disagree with Mark but the exception is definitely on Hilary Benn.
    I know next to nothing about UK politics but his replies to my letters to him when he was Secretary of State for International Development turned me off him for ever.
    His answer to the terrible human rights situation in Tibet were either totally deluded or lies and history have proven him wrong. Corbyn should have got rid of him in the last reshuffle. Now it could be too late and result in Corbyn’s downfall.
    I am surprised at Mark’s ‘Environment’ bullet point ‘probably! It depends.’
    I can’t see any doubt that the environment is going to suffer drastically (i prefer the vernacular). Even if successive governments make some positive changes the tories will just undo it all when they next get in.
    The only hope for Scotland is independence, hopefully within the EU.

  23. I was always afraid that the vote might go the way it did; not from any expert knowledge, just from being aware that the sensible option of Remain was not the certainty so many seemed to believe. I felt totally dazed on Friday morning and still do so today. That so many of my generation (I’m 68) voted for a result they will never have to deal with and bequeathed the consequences to our children and grandchildren disgusts me.

    As to politics, I was a Labour member all my life until Blair’s betrayal of the British people in favour of cosying up to Bush. I resigned my membership and remained politically celibate until Corbyn threw his hat into the ring for the leadership. I don’t agree with everything he stands for although I like quite a lot of it, but he does strike me as a man with real principles and convictions where so many others have only political ambition. I almost rejoined the party but now see that although my summation of the man is correct, leadership is not his forte. Nothing wrong with that, it’s probably not mine either, but then I haven’t put myself in the hot seat. A year ago I joined the Greens and now consider myself part of the advance party – I can almost hear the sound of the rush coming up behind me. Hopefully they can find themselves a true leader because someone is going to have to stand up against this right-wing tide.

    I’ll take issue with you on Hillary Benn though. I admired and respected his father greatly as a man of both passion and conviction. The son, not so much; that he doesn’t like Corbyn is obvious but in that case he shouldn’t have consented to serve under him. If he wanted to become the Labour leader the honourable course would have been to wait for a leadership election and put himself forward; to go round saying he’s going to resign and urging others to do likewise shows a certain spinelessness coupled with a mendacity on a par with the leaders of Brexit. We’ve got too many like that already.

    1. “betrayal” …. I think is at the root of our current predicament. In 1997 the peeps who were tired of their contemptuous treatment at the hands of the toe-sucking people of the night threw them out resoundingly in favour of a party whose purpose, we imagined, was to treat and look after everyone better. But they didn’t, and contemptuously pissed away 13 years of opportunity. We’re reaping what they sowed.

      1. Not entirely fair, up until autumn 2001 the Labour (even as New Labour) party were doing pretty well. It all went sour when Blair went haring off after Bush with his dodgy dossiers. That was when he started putting seeing his name in the history books ahead of the British public. Well his name is in the books now, but not as he imagined it.

      2. I don’t think any credible and objective analysis of our current predicament can absolve New Labour of their fair share of the blame, particularly the striking increase in income inequality during their 3rd term.

        1. I think you have make a hugely relevant point here. Blair came to power having the blessing of Murdoch and the City. In return for what was by 1980’s standards redistributive, he left them to carry on as they were. Murdoch was free to deliver poisonous messages & illegally collect intel on anyone he wanted to influence, and the City had its snouts firmly in the trough.

          If Blair had not given these people freedom to carry on stuffing our country, perhaps even he would not have come to power. Which brings us back to the failure of democracy, which is what the working class leaver is telling us.

  24. Gardening, cricket triumphs and preparing for 2 weeks in Argyll

    things I should be excited about. I cant shift the numbness I have had since Friday morning.

    I hope it all seems clearer when I return to Cambridge, one of the most remain-y bits of England, or maybe I will realise it has all been a dream and everything is normal.

    Oh, well maybe I should just stay in Argyll?

    Coming from the east midlands, I think I know why this has happened – a place far less affluent than the place I reside now, and it is down to society, which has been split and widening that split for year, probably since 1979, in fact, but it has taken something like this to make that split in society obvious. Jobs, security, education, a decent place to live, a better standard of health and wellbeing.
    Its all broken, but heres an idea – maybe we should actually break up the way the British Isles are ruled back to the Anglo-saxon kingdoms – might make more sense in the post-reality existence we have now to endure.

    1. The best bit is that it was set up by a pro-leave group who thought they would lose and wanted the result overturned. Now they are all upset about pro-remain people signing it and saying it should not count. Makes me want some pie!

  25. This sounds more like a lament for the Labour Party than Britain’s removal from the EU.

    The referendum was a colossal cockup. I have no confidence that any politician from any party has the means nor conviction to sort out the mess.

  26. Superb stuff Mark, as always. And great comments too.

    I agree with you so much about how awful the standard of debate was. I too felt devastated on Friday, though to be fair I’ve got used to that feeling on the morning after almost all the General Elections I’ve known in my lifetime.

    A few more suggestions to add to your winner and losers list:


    * Chris Patten – I wrote a comment a few weeks about his view that referenda were not instruments of democracy but were tools used by despots or weak leaders trying to shore up their position. I stand by that. Personally I don’t regard the referendum result as a democratic decision – although granted we all got to vote in a free and fair election. I don’t believe any government has ever been elected on a manifesto commitment to take Britain out of the EU – the last major party to stand on such a platform was I believe Labour under future EU Commissioner Kinnock in 1987 which if I remember won a whopping 27% of the vote

    * David Dimbleby – could we not just install him as PM of a National Unity government, with David Attenborough and Caroline Lucas taking all the other ministerial posts between them? (Although we’d have to give you the Defra job Mark!)

    * Evan Davies – go get ‘im Evan!!

    * Chuka Umunna (possibly) – I’ve often wondered if his withdrawal from the labour leadership contest was an “Ed Muskie moment” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Muskie) in British politics (he was supposedly the candidate most feared by Cameron). Perhaps he could just see how the campaign was going to go, and kept his powder dry for a future attempt? Like others I had high hopes for Corbyn – I thought his accceptance speech when we was elected leader was wonderful, and he talked a lot of sense in the referendum debate. Trouble is, just like Ed Miliband before him, no-one was listening – and he had so much front bench talent wasted on the back benches (what the hell is Yvette Cooper doing not being in the Shadow Cabinet?). He looks hopelessly weak today sacking Hilary Benn. By the way I think it’s unfair to dismissively label anyone who would criticise Corbyn as a “Blairite”. The sad fact is the labour party looks just as divided and fractious as the rest of the country, and the chances of intelligent debate and leadership to resolve those divisions seems remote. I wouldn’t entirely rule out a split and the emergence of another SDP type party, though I doubt that’s the most likely outcome.

    * Amber Rudd – I thought she did alright in the big debate at Wembley stadium, could she be a focal point for the less swivel-eyed Conservatives? Judging by the Twitter feed of my local MP the pro-Remain Tories aren’t going quietly just yet…

    * Constitutional lawyers, foreign currency traders, bankers, accountants, diplomats – all those so called experts we don’t need any more will be making an absolute killing.

    * George Osbourne – he advised Cameron against the referendum and he was right. There’s now also no chance of him leading the Conservative party, so he won’t have to worry about sorting out the mess.

    * The Emerald Ash Borer – which will now go largely unnoticed as it munches its way through Europe’s ash trees and arrives in Britain

    * Tony Blair – his quote comparing Cameron’s EU position to the sheriff in Blazing Saddles was repeated again in the papers was just genius. In fact the terrified attempted reasonableness of Boris and Gove the morning after reminded me of the little old lady bringing the sherriff apple pie (I won’t repeat what she says for reasons obvious to anyone who knows the film…)


    * Parliamentary Democracy – see comment about referenda above

    * Good taste – Nigel Farage said “we’ve won this without a single bullet being fired”, forgetting about the murder of Jo Cox. Nice.

    * Jo Cox – a tiny footnote perhaps in the terrible tragedy of her murder is a thought that – judging by her mournfully much viewed maiden speech – she might have made a significant contribution to rebuilding a powerful coherent labour/centre left that could face down UKIP in the way Margaret Hodge famously saw off the BNP.

    * Northern Ireland and the peace process – although NI as a whole voted in favour of Remain, the DUP backed leave and I think pretty much all Unionist counting areas came out for Brexit. Still, it shouldn’t matter too much if something happens that divides those two communities should it?

    * Anyone who’s bought a house in the last year, particularly in the southern half of England.

    * Refugees

    * The majority of Leave voters – how many of those cheering loudly at the Sunderland result will be thrown out of work as a result of what they voted for?

    * Any turtle dove, starling, swift, kittiwake or other threatened species thinking of making their home in Britain

    * Tony Blair – everybody knows it’s all his fault that the left is as divided as it is, the b******.

    A few final thoughts. One is your idea in Fighting for Birds Mark that anyone concerned about the environment ought to join a political party and try to influence it in the right direction now looks particularly interesting. I agree Caroline Lucas was wonderful, and I agree exactly with your view of Tim Farron who seems both slightly ridiculous and absolutely spot on at the same time.

    There’s no hiding place for the right now if now they’ve “taken back control” if and when they **** things up and a stronger centre left could reap reward if it can get it’s act together. Equally that dividend is far from likely with the demographic, social and political forces ranged against them – it will take an enormous amount of hard work, good sense and a bit of luck to pull it off. Time to get involved in making a better country, not despairing from the sidelines?

    I end with the words of Neil Young: “I’m still living the dream we had, for me it’s not over”.

  27. After a lot of thought and research I decided to vote out to protect my grandchildren from being sucked into an EU superstate run by the kind of unaccountable people who have brought Greece to its knees, caused massive youth unemployment in Portugal, Spain and Italy and wish to compound the problem by interfering with Ukraine and Turkey. Some of the elitist views expressed here about fellow Britons do the commenters no credit. Most voters know politicians lie all the time, the older ones just have more experience of this. If we are concerned enough (which we are) we can organise ourselves to protect our own environment in the UK. The EU has done some good in the past but they are in the process of losing it. Which is why I discounted their future contribution to our environmental protection. George Monbiot had a big impact on my thinking though surprisingly he decided the lack of democracy was the lesser evil of a potential right wing takeover in UK.

    If Jeremy Corbyn is true to himself, gets rid of the Blairites and aligns with the 52% he might still pull it off at the next election.

    1. Phil – thank you for making a comment which is not along the lines of most posted here so far. A diversity of thoughtful views is most welcome.

    2. “we can organise ourselves”

      Quite – even the politicos might be capable of realising that they ignore the disaffected at their peril. They even have an guide to the numbers of the new disaffected – 48% of those who could be arsed to vote. Not much of a swing to be achieved! But next time they need to make it clear that it isn’t an opinion poll – it’s the real deal.

    3. Phil, There is an alternative view of the picture you paint of the EU which I consider to be more accurate. Though bureaucratic in many respects it is not ‘unaccountable’. It is accountable to the governments of the member states who together determine its policies. I don’t consider that the EU brought Greece to its knees. Greece did that itself by years of deficit financing which built up far more debt than it could ever repay. Once the financial crisis came along international lenders were unprepared to lend it any more and it was facing bankruptcy. The EU helped it through this by funding it and helping to have some of its debt written off but this also meant severe constraints on welfare and other spending in Greece itself to re-balance the budget. Where the EU did get it wrong was in allowing Greece to join the Euro when it wasn’t strong enough to do so. The problems in Spain, Portugal and Italy were not of the EU’s making but were caused by the financial crisis and the fragility of their public finances. Having said this I don’t think the EU is perfect. The CAP which has encouraged to much intensification of farming and destruction of nature is a good example. But our government could have used its influence in the EU to improve this but it never wished to do so. For example we were against the EU suspension of neonicotinoids when other European countries wanted to ban them. The same conservative attitude to farming and wildlife will almost certainly be the case in future when we are on our own because our government will take more account of the wishes of the NFU than of wildlife conservation organisations.

    4. I’m with John Jones on this. Although the EU even in its heyday was far from perfect – cumbersome and inefficient as a decision maker perhaps, certainly with a serious democratic deficit at its heart – I feel it brought many benefits. Almost by accident perhaps it became quite an effective check and balance in our constitutional arrangements, a bit like the house of Lords. Government s elected with a modest share of the vote on modest turnouts, gifted large majorities in the House of Commons through our first past the post electoral system may have been held in check or forced to enact largely progressive legislation to comply with Directives – health and safety and environmental protection being the obvious examples where we have more people and wildlife left alive in the UK and other member states due to the EU.

      Like Mark I appreciate Phil’s alternative viewpoint.

  28. I am just writing this because I wanted to ‘like’ the vast majority of the comments to your excellent post, Mark.

    However, the ‘like’ function seems to have packed up, upset like me – so can I say ‘like’ and join the aged Remain group.

    And wish everyone well.

    1. It is a corrupted cookie that causes the like button to break. Clear your cookies file of MarkAvery cookies and refresh the page, it’ll come back.

      1. “MarkAvery cookies”

        Is Mark diversifying? or predicting future funding for env sector even worse?

  29. Think those who blame trash and uneducated people for the result should start a petition that in future referendums only highly educated people get a vote and definitely no senior citizens.I do not think I have ever read of such a lot of people really poor losers with such poor attitudes towards fellow countrymen.
    Those tofs you often talk seem like gentlemen by the side of most of those comments.
    My days of campaigning for HHs by the side of likes of you are behind me.
    You all seem unable to think that those on leave side put as much thought in what to vote as each of any of you even those who went to university and luckily our vote was worth exactly the same as yours.

    Mark,your last list of the winners of the remains is the work of a man who with a decent education behind him should not be so vindictive,remember most people voted for themselves but I actually voted out and probably lots of others did too for what we believe will be best for my family’s younger generations and in general the younger generation who I will add that all I spoke to voted for out but then none of them were fortunate enough to go to university which your commenters seem to think is a prerequisite of having any sense.
    Farmers might not be losers at all as I think the EU brought in milk quotas just after we had expanded and got a small quota costing us tens of thousands of £s.
    Think these words will be the last on this blog and will never read it again.

    1. Sooty, don’t be hasty. Although I disagree with you profoundly on this one, all views are stimulating and thought provoking and often need to be said. There are many on this blog who haven’t known you as long as some of us and sometimes we agree and sometimes not!

    2. very well said Dennis, some very bad losers on here, our fathers fought for democracy, we do not have democracy, we can not pass our own laws!, Mark you put up the slogan of the Labour party in an earlier post, the Labour party working for workers rights, what a joke Mark! the Tories are the ones who gain from an open door migration policy, with cheap labour coming in from all over Europe allowing employers to cut wages, there would not be any jobs for our children. anyway not falling out with our European neighbors but good riddance to a useless set of over paid corrupt beaurocrats

      1. I don’t really get the bad losers thing. In a general election no-one expects the supporters of the losing party to shut up and quietly let the winners get on with things – we expect them to vigorously oppose, criticize and question what the other side does and to scrutinize the promises it made and whether or not they are fulfilled. The democratic rules say that the side that won the election gets to govern but they most certainly do not say the other side shall be silent. The same applies to the referendum – a shade less than half the voters voted to remain part of the EU and – given the massive changes that will happen as a result of it – we can hardly be expected to just say “well played chaps” and not complain about it. Had the result gone the other way you are surely not suggesting that Farage and co would have just accepted it and quietly gone away? They would have been looking for every possible way of challenging the result and would certainly be looking for the next opportunity to bring about Brexit (and there is an interesting asymmetry there – leaving the EU is undoubtedly forever whereas a remain vote would not preclude future Brexit and therefore an ongoing campaign by Brexiters).
        It is foolish and unhelpful to comment on the educational level, intelligence or bigotry of voters on one side or the other – people on both sides voted the way they did for a variety of reasons and with varying degrees of thought, knowledge and understanding. What we can say though was that much of the leave campaign was misleading and xenophobic in tone.
        With regards to the assertion that we don’t have democracy and cannot pass our own laws – that is simply not true. Yes, some of our legislation comes from Europe but by no means all. We can and have opted out of certain European initiatives that we don’t like. We have yet to see what kind of deal the UK is able to negotiate for continued access to the Single Market but it is extremely unlikely that we will be allowed unfettered access without having to comply with any of the rules that all the other countries have to follow. Whilst we currently have the possibility to affect these rules both via our MEPs and via our Ministers who as part of the Council of Europe actually agree and sign them into law we will no longer have this possibility post Brexit so arguably will have even less democratic control over aspects of trade that affect all of our lives.
        Johnson and co blithely dismiss such concerns on the basis that Germany will want to sell us its cars but they disregard the fact that if we are seen to gain all of the benefits of access to the Single Market whilst bearing none of the associated obligations, that could trigger a wave of other countries demanding the same thing. The remaining EU members are therefore obliged to ensure that the UK pays some clear and obvious price for maintaining privileged access to the SM.
        Finally, I believe that our fathers were fighting against fascism, not bureaucracy, and whilst by no means everyone who has expressed concern about the levels of immigration is either a racist or a fascist, there were undoubtedly some ugly overtones of xenophobia in some of the Brexit campaigning that I believe many who fought against Hitler would deplore.

      2. “our fathers fought for democracy, we do not have democracy, we can not pass our own laws!”

        Merlin, the only reason we do not have full democracy in the UK, is all down to Westminster, no-one else. My mother has lived in Scotland since the 1960s, and like many other “foreigners”, she has paid into this country for decades, yet she didn’t have a vote in the EU Referendum. That was Westminster’s doing, not the EU.

        As for not being able to pass our own laws, well that is just nonsense. EU law proposals must be passed by MEPs, elected by a system of proportional representation. Not exactly the picture of an unelected bureaucracy painted by the Leave campaign, is it? Compare that with Westminster-style democracy, where a refusal to adopt PR can see overall power won with less than 40% of the vote, and where in many cases, laws and actions are passed against the wishes of the people, all of which must be rubber-stamped by an unelected chamber – the House of Lords.

        Furthermore, if EU member states are unable to make or pass their own laws, how can it be that two members of the UK have different laws from each other, with many of those passed during the membership period?

    3. Dennis – it would be a shame if you stopped commenting – although there’s much you say I would take issue with (and presumably you with me) for what it’s worth I appreciate your comments. I come in peace!

    4. Denis I have to say – well said! Not always seen eye to eye with you but good man!

  30. Dennis, I’m afraid its not a game and the tragedy is that its many of the people who voted out who are likely to suffer most. Who will ‘win’ or ‘lose’ is far from clear, but its going to be touch and go whether farmers aren’t the biggest losers of all, bearing in mind that even the barley barons are dependant on EU subsidies to make a profit at current grain prices. In the meantime, dairy farming is being destroyed not by the EU but by the stock market war between the supermarkets – like so much else, no doubt one of the things piled on the EU that have far more to do with what has gone on in England than anything to do with the EU.

    It would be a shame if you gave up commenting, as I really would like to know what leaving the EU is really going to do for us.

    1. “the tragedy is that its many of the people who voted out who are likely to suffer most. ” this is quite probably true but isn’t this how the elite in our society always keeps the plebs in line? “Keep us getting richer otherwise you will suffer even more than us?”

  31. I wasn’t surprised by the result, indeed I had money on it despite being a passionate remainer. I was however devastated. We now have a political crisis of a scale unprecedented in my lifetime.

    The leave campaign has failed to explain the complexities of leaving to the people and seems to have no plan for how to take things forward. It’s also increasingly clear that many of their claims have been lies and that they have not explained that referenda are advisory. And there is reason to believe Boris Johnson didn’t really want to leave anyway, but was positioning his own career in expectation of a remain win.

    The Tory party will need to elect a new leader and de facto PM before taking anything forward. This could be months. Labour has once again and idiotically descended into civil war. Scotland is looking at leaving and NI may well do the same.

    Increasingly it looks like our current political parties and the First Past the Post system are no longer fit for purpose. We need realignment and constitutional reform. What a mess.

    The media has whipped up a nasty atmosphere of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Any student of 1930’s history will recognise the risks here. We need leadership.

    The EU is wrong to try and force issues quickly. The way forward has to be resolved by the UK first before any formal movement to leave is triggered. This could be anything from months to never happening.

    1. PS watch the markets tomorrow. They will react to the political shambles of this weekend and it may get ugly.

  32. Maybe Dennis you will have a quick final peek to see how your comment went down. I can understand anger of communities who’ve been shafted for years expressed by voting for Out, also anger and dismay of people on this blog who now see much of what they’ve believed in and worked for – to take just the basic nature and habitats conservation framework – completely at risk. Not to mention potential integrity of the UK etc. Hardly a legacy I wish on my own grandchildren. My blame though goes to the (mostly) highly educated Leave leadership who frankly lied to the nation, including all Out voters, on key issues (NHS funding, EU payments, and above all reduced immigration) on all of which they have now backtracked or admitted it won’t/ can’t happen. We are also now starting to see the reality of loss of influence over what other EU powers may now choose do to us. See any serious news site today for details. With shining exceptions such as Donald Trump, and France’s Front National, it seems most folk across the world think our entire nation was utterly stupid to have allowed this disaster to happen. No wonder Johnson and Gove appear to be sick at the thought of having to step up to take responsibility.

  33. The UK voted out. I suggest we all get on with it ? Living in a democracy can be so inconvenient at times but ” Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”

    I’d suggest you might be glad that none of have had to suffer the alternatives ?

  34. Mark, it’s truly awful isn’t it. Yet again you put my thoughts into words. I’m so grateful to you for this blog – just knowing that others of us out there feel the same makes it a bit better. It is all so overwhelming – a frightening prospect. And knowing that wildlife will suffer is very painful.

    Yes, we are such a divided nation – just that in England we’re not geographically separated. Lucky Scotland! The right-wing press must take a large part of the blame for this – the tabloids are unique in the world for lies and misinformation. But no politician apart from Caroline Lucas talked about what mattered as far as I was concerned (although Tim Farron wasn’t bad), and she was given too little air-time or press coverage. Radio 4’s coverage was lamentable, bashing on about the same old economic arguments with nothing new to ask.

    Plenty of old people didn’t vote for this though – people who lived through the war and dread the prospect of a newly divided Europe full of bitterness and xenophobia. The uUK has been divided for a long time, but the Tories tried to kid us all that they were the party of hard-working families – perhaps they even believed it themselves?! Did they really manage to kid the working (and non-working) class? What I don’t get is, if it was a vote against a perceived political elite – how come the same people put the Tories, of all parties, into power? It doesn’t make sense. Didn’t they vote last time, or did they swallow the Tory line about being the party of hard-working families etc.? Or, more likely, was it the Tory promise of an EU referendum – scapegoating the foreigner and the immigrant is always going to be the choice of the oppressed, given the lack of information about the real causes of their disadvantage. But the irony! Now IDS is going to be all the rage – the man who devised the new humiliating and degrading process of claiming job seeker’s allowance – have you tried it lately? However, it’s quite easy to blame the poor (again) – but I know Leave voters who are certainly not poor but certainly are anti-immigrant.

    The future for Scotland looks quite bright (can we please have Nicola Sturgeon!), but for Ireland it is worrying – Northern Ireland is another divided country, but along sectarian lines, as was the voting. This could prove a catalyst for dormant tensions to reawaken and put back the peace process years.

    It is all rather terrifying. I just hope Jeremy is quietly onto it. Can’t see a bright side otherwise! Sorry I’ve gone on.

  35. Midnight, and that was some read.
    Probably too late to comment but hey, who’s still listening anyway.

    Nobody has mentioned that our chancellor tried to blackmail the electorate into voting remain by threatening to raise income tax by two pence if we voted out.
    Blackmail is corrupt and illegal.
    I mention this only to point up just how putrid the whole debate was….on both sides. You can’t inform and educate by threats and lies. And the threats and lies were obvious to us all.
    They were typical of the quality of (or lack of) politicians that we have in all parties and it is likely that the result was more about the frustrations of a misled and lied to electorate.
    I would strongly suggest reading Caroline Lucas’s book to understand how out of date and out of touch our politicians and political system really are/is.

    There is no doubt that this will take many months, if not years to sort out, and it will take a leader of a greater strength than any that are currently in the frame. But is it not possible that out of this crisis there may come hope.
    Hope that someone will rise to the challenge and start to repair.
    Hope that out of this mess, in time we can develope a system where people don’t become politicians just to line their own pockets or because they think it an easy option, but to use their expertise drawn from business, experience, life, to enrich, empower and better the lives of others.
    Yes, yes. I know I’m generalising, but really, how many truly dedicated MPs can you name? 650? I think not.

    Many of the above comments I agree with, but there are also many bigoted ones.
    28% didn’t vote so it is assumed they are are ignorant, lazy or apathetic. Could it not simply be that they were genuine ‘don’t knows’? This may also explain the low ‘young’ turnout. Would you rather they went into the booth and simply tossed a coin?
    Also, the assumption that so many out votes were racist is simply ridiculous. Is it really only the born and bred white population who are allowed to feel angry and dissatisfied at the current state of politics both in this country and Europe. Are we really saying that no Asian, Caribbean, Eastern Europeans voted to leave?

    I’m not saying that this vote SHOULD have been used as a protest vote, only that it probably was by many. And if future politicians decide not to take this fact on board, they will do so at their peril and will have learnt nothing.

    Europe can ill afford to be without us and we them. Is it not just possible that this vote will make many politicians sit up and take note.
    Who knows what the future holds, but the assumption that it has to be bad is simply ludicrous.
    Wailing and hand wringing will solve nothing and heal nothing.

    Don’t accuse and rant at your fellow man because he has different beliefs than you but rather shake his hand and agree to talk, debate, compromise and move forward.

    Much of this, I believe, has been bought about by disruption.
    Disruption of cultures, disruption of trust.
    What started out as a genuine attempt to forge links and make friends, ended up pushing people together and trying to meld cultures, values and beliefs to a point where we were all robbed of our identities, our separate voices unheard in a crushing din of political aspirations that we never asked for or wanted.

    We need Europe. Europe needs us. We will find a way forward because we have to.
    Bellyaching and arguing amongst ourselves will solve nothing and delay the healing process.

    There is a way that a united Europe can work for us all. We’ve just got to find it.
    Start looking.

  36. “And the young voted for Remain (although not enough of them came out and voted) and the old voted for Brexit.”

    You can divide it by young and old however the vote is also clearly divided by socio economic class with D & E clearly Brexit, A & B clearly remain and the Cs divided

  37. Sorry it’s taken so long to drop in and comment.

    Been too busy with a heavy weekend of celebrating.

    Chuffed to f**c – my delight made even greater be the absolute indignity with which the bourgeoise have acted over their loss.

        1. Giles – I thought that was what he meant but with some commenters it’s always difficult to know…

  38. Not a good result for England football team tonight but, hang on a minute, if you don’t like a result, you can now stomp your feet a bit like a spoilt child ( didn’t think children were allowed to vote ) and demand a replay. These isles always have and always will be controlled by the wealthy and no amount of EU directives have made any difference to that. The british government can and do ignore the EU habitats directive when it suits them, hence the RSPB’s action against them. It stands to reason that young people would vote to stay in the EU because they don’t know any different. I am 100% against the illegal ( or legal ) persecution of any species and have supported all of the ban driven grouse shooting petitions but I am afraid that Terry Pickford made a very good point in his recent guest blog. Even if the current petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will not get debated in parliament because parliament is full of pro shooting members and there are certain topics within the establishment in which MP’s would not dare rock the boat. I have huge sympathy for Mr Pickford in the amount of raptor persecution he has hade to face head on over the years and, of all the facts that I have read , the withdrawal of the NWRG’s Licences by Natural England was the clearest statement of all that wildlife persecution will never be controlled. Where was the EU when that happened. I did not vote for ” BREXIT ” because I have never been in the armed forces so the habit of making up (nick)names for people/things stopped when I was at school ( unUK?) Rather than the ridiculous petition for a second referendum – and to save Scotland the bother- why doesn’t England have a referendum to let Scotland leave the UK. That way Scotland would be guaranteed a “yes” result. The Scottish government is clearly no more concerned about the persecution of their wildlife than the English one is anyway.I have not read anybody else’s comments on this topic so this is not a response to any individual comments already made and I don’t have time to get into a debate although I am sure that there will be lots of dislikes ( if the moderator deems it publishable )but, all in all, the reasons to leave the EU far outweighed the reasons to stay.

    1. “The british government can and do ignore the EU habitats directive when it suits them, hence the RSPB’s action against them.”

      And that is why remaining in the EU would have been of benefit. A Tory government given a free reign will be utterly disastrous for our environment. How long before raptors are on the General Licence?

      “I am 100% against the illegal ( or legal ) persecution of any species and have supported all of the ban driven grouse shooting petitions but I am afraid that Terry Pickford made a very good point in his recent guest blog. Even if the current petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will not get debated in parliament because parliament is full of pro shooting members and there are certain topics within the establishment in which MP’s would not dare rock the boat.”

      See my comment above.

      “the withdrawal of the NWRG’s Licences by Natural England was the clearest statement of all that wildlife persecution will never be controlled. Where was the EU when that happened.”

      Not the EU’s fault, in fact probably nothing to do with the EU at all. Again, refer to my above comment as to why remaining would have been more beneficial.

      “The Scottish government is clearly no more concerned about the persecution of their wildlife than the English one is anyway.”

      The Scottish Government is very slightly ahead of where rUK legislation is, with some prospects for improvement, however it is painfully slow.

      “but, all in all, the reasons to leave the EU far outweighed the reasons to stay.”

      It may well turn out that the Leave campaign were correct, and Brexit turns out to be a good thing, but we’ll revisit that in a few years time when the Tories and their shooting friends have had unfettered access to “managing” our countryside.

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