Continental Cafe 2 Video

We're excited to share the video of the Café Continental 2 which was held at The Cut, Halesworth. This was a successful morning of speakers and discussion which was held at the New Cut Arts Centre. The main speakers were Lord Deben who was former Agriculture Minister and now an Environmental  champion,  Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Europe, Rob Davidson from Scientists for Europe and Sophie Ellis  a researcher from University of Cambridge who spoke on the need for promoting our young people.

Grab a coffee, sit back and relax then watch the whole thing! We hope to see you at future events. 

How about writing to the EU Parliament?

The Suffolk EU Alliance Committee is encouraging our members and supporters to contact members of the EU Parliament to express our concerns.  One of the most influential members is Guy Verhofstadt.  His contact email is below:

(gverhofstadt-brexit@europarl.europa.eu)

If you have had any communications with other EU officials or elected members please feel free to share them with us.


From Philip Gough:

Dear Mr Verhofstadt,

I'm sorry I don't have time to write more formally or at greater length,
but I want to briefly join like-minded UK citizens in expressing my dismay
at the result of the poorly designed referendum on this country's membership
of the EU. I like many others feel we have been highjacked by right-wing forces
which hate the liberal, tolerant, civilized continent that we have built together over the
last 70 years.

I and millions like me here on our islands are doing what we can to thwart this act of unprecedented self-harm.
It is not being done in our name. We must be confident that truth will prevail, we can win over
public opinion, and, ultimately remain members of the EU. This is overwhelmingly in our interests
and those of our close friends and allies across the Channel.

Please do everything you can to support the progressive forces which are increasingly mobilising.
Together we can avert a potential catastrophe.

Yours faithfully,  Philip Gough


And from Dr Lesley Walker

Dear Mr Verhofstadt,

I wish to join my voice to all of those who are writing and emailing you about the sorry state of affairs in UK. I am an Australian-born citizen who came to the UK in 1996 and then took out European citizen including UK in the early 2000s. It was an expensive and onerous process but I wanted to be part of the visionary project of Europeans working together to forge a better world than the ones of the past. I am also an historian and heritage consultant and I know very well the consequences of nationalism, of small-mindedness and insularity. I grew up in an Australia modelled on Britain’s insularity and I experienced the positive influences of European and then Asian and Middle-Eastern migration and multiculturalism. Like the European project, Australia’s multiculturalism is a work in progress, somewhat flawed and at times unsuccessful, but nevertheless a brave and bold stand for a better world where we all can live and work together. 

Brexit is an attempt to stall and sabotage that project and that progress. 

As an Australian I am also aware that referenda need to be managed carefully, with checks and balances to prevent knee-jerk voting and minority pressure groups overly influencing results. A referendum such as this would never have been held in Australia and should not have been held in UK. It exemplifies a vast dereliction of duty on the part of the then Prime Minister and Parliament. There are many like myself in UK who will never accept the validity of the referenda or the result. 

I am working with others locally and joining in national movements to do what we can to thwart this act of unprecedented self-harm which is not being done in the best interests of the people of the UK or indeed of Europe. 

Please do everything you can to support the progressive forces which are increasingly mobilising.
Together we can avert a potential catastrophe.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Lesley Walker

Heritage Consultant

lesleywalker@mac.com

Dr Therese Coffey visits Halesworth and district

Suffolk MP is confronted by Suffolk EU members in Halesworth and Bramfield.  Despite the pouring rain we again   challenged Dr Coffey ( a relapsed Remainer) on her decision to back Brexit.  She refused to be drawn on offering us any kind of support and attempted to defend her position by stating how she had actively promoted the Remain side before the Referendum.  She attempted to pass the blame upon us for not attending her pro Remain meeting in Halesworth before the Referendum, which she alleged was attended by only four people.  Clearly the events since the Referendum and the General Election together with expert opinions regarding the Brexit chaos have passed over her head.

Suffolk EU Alliance Halesworth+Coffey.jpg

Meeting Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey - Tuesday 29th August 2017.  

A group of us challenged our Conservative  MP outside Woodbridge Library.  Although she was prepared to listen and restated how she was a Remain voter in the Referendum, she repeated her position of following ' The will of the People'. Her position was supported by our local Conservative District Councillor Geoff Holdcroft. Why these people are just prepared to change their position and so meekly accept the disastrous referendum vote is beyond our comprehension.  At least the flag waving generated three new Suffolk EU Alliance members and a thumbs up from a lager drinker in Woodbridge's Cumberland Street.

Suffolk Eu Alliance.jpg

Professor AC Grayling at Suffolk University - 6th June 2017

The following is a transcript of notes (taken during the meeting) from the address given by Prof. Grayling (ACG) on the subject of acceptable and appropriate resistance to Brexit.

[Any words in italic are those of the rapporteur and are meant to aid understanding in the transcript]

Key messages of the evening – “retain your faith” and maintain your “anger”. 

“There is no mandate for Brexit.”  

Other key messages were developed later in the talk.

ACG justified these assertions by reminding us of the bar employed in the 1979 Scottish devolution vote – 40% of the total electorate required - authorised in advance of the referendum, to ensure that only a sufficient and democratic minimum would be acceptable for the decision to be accepted.  In the event, 51.6 % of votes cast were in favour of devolution, but that was below the 40% minimum threshold and was therefore rejected.  

The Brexit referendum was explicitly ‘advisory only’ and in achieving 51.9% (of the 72% who voted) of votes cast, represented just 37% of the eligible electorate.  This lack of constitutional critical mass must therefore mean that in accordance with the guidance offered to Members of Parliament (that the referendum was ‘advisory only’ and not binding on either parliament or government) the decision is not mandating. The MPs briefing note 07212 gave clear guidance both on the advisory, consultative nature of the referendum (§5) and warned that if it were regarded otherwise it would need a supermajority bar (§6).  This guidance (to our elected Members used in support of their decision making and in the HoC library) has been side-lined in mainstream Press coverage.  Note also that 16-17 year olds, EU citizens, and expats living abroad for more than 15 years were all denied a vote, unlike the Scottish independence referendum of 2015; the franchise for the referendum was artificially restricted. Had these groups been included there would have been a significant Remain majority.

ACG suggested that the, then, P.M. David Cameron was cornered into his position by the constant manipulation of anti-EU party activists (known by John Major as “Bastards”) and which were currently represented by the pronouncements of Jacob Rees Mogg and “The Moggies”.  The referendum result was artificially derived to achieve a desired outcome to satisfy a political party’s unity rather than the need of the majority of voters… (ACG “a slow moving coup” with no constitutional foundation).

A further opportunity for legal challenge related to the procedural processes that undermined the delivery of the Article 50 Bill to the parliament.  Representative democracy cannot be working properly if a bill lacks clarity and proper definition (the half page of ill prepared foolscap) and is delivered at 4:07 in the morning! (see section 2 para1 of the Article 50 White Paper March 2017). It was rushed out and politically engineered to get a mandate from a whipped Tory majority supported by a Parliamentary Labour Party concerned at losing its core support from its EU sceptical urban centres. (Carol Cadwallader’s investigative journalism was mentioned)

ACG then offered a useful review of the impacts of the use of social media and big data “hyper-targeting” producing an alarming effect through the aggregation of voters into a single voting block via “the necklace of messages”.  The approach allows the manipulation of messages to opposing groups in a cleverly targeted way that means “all things to all men”.  ACG also commented on the “playing” of the media including the BBC being manipulated into delivering misleading Leave headlines on a daily basis and to a predetermined agenda – usually delivered in time for the needs of the R4 “Today” programme – so influential in the news day and on other journalists.  

The Government have no idea on how to cope with the initial EU line on our removal from the EU. The hard EU line on “No parallel discussions” and the likely duration of the discussions following commencement in the next few weeks.  So to get the best result [whether a second referendum or a softer Brexit with continued membership of the single market] we need to campaign for the duration of uncertainty to be minimised.  To do this we must stay vigorous and remember that “the fight to stay is only just beginning”.

The question of organising the Remain supporting groups, nationally, remained open. Whether unified or as a well-coordinated network we needed to take heart that a broader coalition of prominent actors were waiting for the correct time to activate a higher profile campaign.

There followed a discourse on the various effects of 

  • The resurgence of a more militant and youthful Labour left wing, enlivened by a promise of student debt being swept away or minimum wages increase 

  • The growing inequality gap – as differentiated from the poverty gap – that amplifies the extent of the gap between the haves and have-nots.

  • “The Tsunami of realities” i.e. the volume of problems arising from Brexit, such as the Border for Northern Ireland, Gibralter and the loss of EU legislation for Consumer and environmental protection.

Cumulatively, the electorate would start to realise the many factors they may not have been properly informed about. ACG proposed that the individual issues needed to be quantified and explained in detail. This would help to overcome the “emotion” and “attitudes” put about by those who wanted to influence people into voting “leave”. 

Unity to progress. Looking to the horizon and not just the balance sheet. Remind people that 

  • Help younger people to get involved in their civic and political duties from a much earlier age with various forms of support and training.

  •  

  • The membership deal we currently have lasts to March 2019 and cannot be bettered as it includes so may get outs and opt outs including Schengen.

  • Immigrant workers create a net benefit to our Gross Domestic Product GDP

  • It may take ten years (probably much less) to get back in – if we leave.

There is and has been a conspiracy of silence about the EU – unless it is to decry waste in expenditure.  “Does anyone know the differing functions of Brussels and Strasburg?” 

Some Conclusions

  • Wave the flag for the EU

  • Talk up the key points until the debate about the Brexit deal becomes more current in a drive for potential support – increase membership of pro remain groups

  • Maintain a commitment to a regular meeting place to encourage participation and interest

  • Same time – same place will generate exponential growth – eventually.

  • Write to MPs – different people – different topics – different times. (Agree the topics from within the Alliance)

  • Campaign to get the EU issue onto the television and into other media.

  • Remind politicians that a further vote to ratify the Brexit deal may be the only way of avoiding political oblivion.  The electorate deserve to be offered full disclosure on the deal that a government obtains before exit papers are signed on our behalf. 

  • Don’t give up – stay motivated – stay (controlled) angry and participate.

[Notes taken by Stephen Andrews 6th June 2017, edited by ACG 13 June 2017]

 

A Message to Suffolk EU Alliance Supporters

Dear Suffolk EU Alliance Supporters

Many of our members have been in touch regarding voting tactics in the forthcoming general election.  As we are a cross-party group we would not wish to be endorsing any particular candidate at the moment but have been rigorously  pressing for the parties to make Europe a central issue and to come together to  oppose those Conservative candidates who have failed to support close links with Europe and The EU.

At present we are encouraging our members to pursue the following tactics:

  1. To challenge all candidates to spell out their own policy on Europe.  We also want to know what local issues they are going to take to Westminster and  what their specific policies are for local people.To this end individual members will be able to make up their own minds as to who will best serve them as their constituency MP.  Members may wish to share the candidates' responses, via email with the Suffolk EU Committee  and on Facebook pages.  I have attached the list of Candidates for the two constituencies of Suffolk Coastal and of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.  The committee is writing to all the candidates to ask them for their policy on Europe and how they see these policies impacting on us in Suffolk. We will put their statements on our website as they are provided.
  2. To attend local meeting and hustings to hear first hand what the candidates are saying.  So far we have been informed of two local hustings which have been organised by local Churches Together groups.  Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings. The first meeting is on Sunday 21st May at 7.00pm at St John's Church Felixstowe and the second is onWednesday 31st May at 7.00pm at Saints Peter's and Paul's Church Aldeburgh.  A flyer for the Felixstowe meeting is attached. 
  3. To ensure that as many friends and family are encouraged to participate .  Has everyone you know registered to vote and made arrangements for postal votes and proxy votes if they will be away on June 8th?
  4. To support candidates from different political parties in those constituencies where there is a real chance of a pro-Europe candidate being elected. Even if you do not live in Ipswich, Cambridge, North Norfolk, Norwich South or Cambridge your support will certainly be welcome.

All ideas and suggestions are welcome via our website and in the meantime we hope to see you at the hustings and our local meetings.

Roger

Stop Press: 

Other meetings have come to our notice today:

  1. Lib Dems in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich: An opportunity to meet and question their candidate Aiden van der Weyer. In the Unitarian Hall Framlingham.  May 24th at 7.00pm.
  2. Open Britain.  Meeting at Oakes Barn, 1st Floor, St Andrews St South, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3PH on 25th May at 6.30pm.  Further details from christina.burt@talk21.com
  3. Radio Suffolk Live Election Debate from Lowestoft Wednesday 17th May.

BBC Radio Suffolk General Election Debate - Get Involved

As part of our campaign to get as many people as possible informed of the important election issues you may be interested in the following event which has been forwarded to us. If you wish to attend please apply directly to the email address below.

BBC Radio Suffolk General Election Debate

Hosted by Mark Murphy

With the following candidates
Conservative – Peter Aldous;  
Labour - Sonia Barker;
Liberal Democrat - Jacqueline Howe;  
Green Party - Elfrede Brambly-Crawshaw;  
UKIP: tbc 

Further to your interest in current affairs would you like the opportunity to take part in a BBC Radio Suffolk General Election debate?  The live programme is taking place on Wednesday, 17th May in Lowestoft, to participate please send us the following information (below). Tickets are limited so please respond as soon as possible. 

The arrival time 8.45 a.m. for a live debate between 9.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m.

Please email the following to Applicants@fullhouseaudience.co.uk. This information is used to ensure we have balance and a variety of opinions and is completely confidential.

Surname
First Name
Address
Daytime telephone number
Mobile Number
Email address
Age
Occupation
Gender
Ethnic Group
Which political party will you vote for in the General Election?
What issues would you like to discuss?

We are looking for people that would relish the opportunity to join in a lively debate if you know of anyone else that would like to participate please forward this email to them. 

For more details contact Alison Fuller, Audience Producer, Full House Audience Management, On behalf of BBC Radio Suffolk, Tel: 01299 829299

Normal T&C apply
Min age 16 years

We're meeting next week, hope to see you there.

A big Thank You to all those who are following us on our website.

You are all welcome to our next Pub meeting at the friendly Cherry Tree Pub in Woodbridge.

Our next meeting will be held on the following date:  

Tuesday 16th May 18.45hrs for 7.00pm

Please keep an eye on our website :  www.suffolkeualliance.co.uk   for any  further news and information. It would be particularly helpful if you could respond whether you can come to the meeting so we can plan for numbers and make alternative arrangements if we are going to be overwhelmed with support. 

A special welcome is extended to everyone  to hear the committee's views on tactical voting in the forthcoming general elections.

The meeting will be held in the Tap Room off the main Bar area.  Your views and comments all welcome.  Besides offering lively debate and opinion, the pub is 'Dog friendly' and a real ale destination. We are located at: 73 Cumberland Street, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4AG

For further information contact: Julia on 07770 66 66 04 or Roger 01394 385668.

Still Voting at 101

Violet aged 101 and one of Woodbridge's oldest residents. She has been voting for exactly 80 years. (Students of our wonderful electoral system can attempt to work out that one and why).

She was determined to exercise her right to vote. If she can make the effort then there can be no excuses for anyone else to not put their cross where it matters.

 

 

Anyone else wish to share their voting thoughts?

Name *
Name
We're keen to hear your feedback and thoughts.

How We Keep Britain Open, Tolerant and United @BelindaBG

Thank you for inviting me and thank you Julia, Jackie and all of you for everything you are doing for the European cause.

I should explain a bit about my role in ALDE party. As you know the political parties are arranged in political groups, and the Liberal Democrats belong to the Association of Liberal Democrats in Europe or ALDE for short and they vote as a block, so I have a role in developing the policy on which all the liberal parties in Europe vote. Some countries have two liberal parties, like D66 and VVD in the Netherlands we just saw top the vote in the Dutch elections and keeping the forces of division and nationalism in the form of Mr Geert Wilders at bay. 
I am one of five people nationally elected to do this and it is very rewarding work. It means I have to know what our own MPs and Peers are voting on, so it helps that I sit on the party’s policy committee too.We’ve heard a lot about policy today, and we’ve heard today of the economic problems we’ll face if we do leave the EU.

I want to tell you a bit about how Brexit has already affected my University where I am AD for Science. After the vote last year shell-shocked post-grads and researchers were immediately terrified that they would not be able to finish their contracts or jobs. Some had been racially abused on buses or trains. One colleague wrote to me that the £1 million pound MRI scanner cost the university 15% more because of the slump in the pound.

My own research is on civil liberties and protection of the vulnerable. Especially migrant populations, trafficked women, and abused children.  But we lose the EU funding of programmes and refuges that protect women and young people from violence.

Hard Brexit means we would no longer be part of a Europe taking the lead to halt climate change.  And everything we’ve seen since the vote from the government rolled back on Renewable obligations. The impact on Suffolk will be terrible.

The country is now divided. I grew up in Nigeria under a dictatorship. I saw division and bloodshed following the Biafran war with burnt-out cars lay by the roadside. 

That’s why i value the European project of peace  and I want it to be there for others too.

I’ve seen the painful cost of a dis-united country. I don’t want a dis-united Kingdom in a dis-united Europe. The situation in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Gibralter shows that dis-unity is possible how fragile it all is. Europe keeps us all together.

I live with a vet and I’ve seen the impact of disease through intensive farming. Not only is animal welfare very important to us as a family. But as a mother, the safety of the food I feed my family matters. Yet the Food Standards Agency is just one of 40 pan-European organisations that we will lose. 

Because Europe gives us better consumer protection. 

Take standardization - people used often laugh at Brussels for it. But it means that manufacture costs are lower and it ensures safer, better quality goods. Remember how before the vote last year bendy bananas were an issue used by Brexiters. But people are starting to realize, as food prices are rising, and as standards drop, that ‘Project Fear’ was actually Project Understatement’.

Because more than two thousand faulty items are banned each year - from Chinese rubber ducks to suspect tattoo chemicals from the USA. It means we can make informed choices. 
And it means that we don’t have to face some terrible ones. As the control of hazardous chemicals thirty thousand of them, like dioxin, is done by the EU. And products coming in and out of this country will have to be stopped at the border controls, then the A14 will turn into a car park.

The benefit of living in a European Union is that health care is improved. The Medicines Agency ensures the scientific evaluation of drugs. With standards across Europe for screening and diagnosis.  

When our 4 children fall ill, they are cured with drugs that rely on large trials across Europe because drug development isn’t done by one country on its own, but on a continental scale.
My children have grown up having the benefit of cheaper goods, everything from phone tariffs to cheap flights, because of European co-operation.

I care about Europe because I believe in equal treatment between women and men. It was a founding principle of the EU in 1957 when the Treaty of Rome laid down the Principle of Equal Pay. Since then, European laws expanded our choices and improved ALL our lives including paid annual leave, protection from harassment at work, parental leave, and maternity rights.

I campaigned for 20 years for rights the European Social Chapter gave us.  I am not about to give them up now. Rights matter. Gay, straight, bi, trans… the EU makes ALL equal before the law. 

We can only meet the challenges of the future if we stay. The decision we take in the next two months will shape all our children’s futures. It’s a decision we take at a time of fear and insecurity. Fear of terrorism, and violence, and extremism. 

And it is our choice. We don’t have to cast ourselves adrift with Mrs May’s Hard Brexit.
Condemning ourselves to irrelevance as other leaders (first NZ prime minister, and now even Mr Trump) makes their first deal with the EU rather with Britain. We CAN change the direction of the country.

This election is about the values we hold dear. The values, not of fear and isolation, but of human dignity, and freedom.  Not of supremacy, but of democracy & equality. And of justice & respect for human rights. And of the belief that the European project, like most of our families, is not perfect, but is still pretty wonderful.

Analysis done by the British Election Study shows that more people have fallen off the voting register who voted Leave – (died!)  than those who have come onto the register – the young people who vote Remain and care about Europe. And who have marched in their thousands with energy and enthusiasm for their right to remain European.

It is not too late to still be part of a great, and peaceful, sustainable and strong Europe, 
Where Britain can still lead not leave.
We can do this.
Everyone here is part of the solution.
There is a job every person can do.
Votes matter. 
And we have to fight for every person’s vote, and then get them to polls.

Thank you.

It will all end in tears- the dangers of Conservative hubris.

The Greeks had a perfect word for it – hubris, an overwhelming pride that leads to disaster. The gods simply did not like someone who pushed themselves beyond the natural boundaries of human existence. So Xerxes, the Persian king of kings, who invaded Greece in 480 BC with an enormous army was soon outwitted and his collapse at the hands of the small cities of Athens and Spartawas complete.  His hubris had taken him beyond the permissable and the gods punished him for it. 

Theresa May appears to be heading the same way and the collapse could be as total. There are many who are arguing that a vote for the Conservatives will allow her to be more flexible in the EU negotiations. Theresa May flexible? She is by nature a loner, far too dependent on unelected advisers such as Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy who appear to be in league with the Brexiteers on the right of her party. Every time she speaks it becomes clear that she has not the imagination or vision, or even language, that offers any kind of inspiration. This is not a mind that has the capacity tonavigate the tangled pathways through negotiation obstacles. Yet is such navigations that are the specialty of the EU negotiators whom she will soon meet. Ominously, this apparent intransigence is what gives her much of her popularity among voters.

 It is said that an influx of new MPs will moderate the party. Yet, to further bypass local politics, candidates are to be imposed on constituencies by Central Office. Is there any sign that they will be moderates? Even if they were the Brexiteers are already well organised and will surely outmanoevre the scatteringof new members who may arrive as new boys, and possibly a few new girls, in Westminster in June. Would May be able to reorganise them as an effective force to stand up to the Brexiteers? Probably not as she cannot risk a renewed civil war within her own party just as negotiations are about to begin.

Her best method for keeping control will be the manifesto. Suffolk’s very own Ben Gummer, shown recently in the East Anglian Daily Times enthusiastically holding up his Remain poster – what a difference a year makes!- is apparently a key figure here (alongside the influential Nick Timothy). It will be impossible to stand as a Conservative without accepting it and any backsliders will be held to it when elected. So that will be how tightly centralised authority will be maintained. A big majority, of over a hundred, will also encourage an unhealthy triumphalism which will temporarily play in the PM’s hands. She will surely find it harder to resist the fantasies of her right wingers.

The key issue will be how much detailthemanifesto will give on the Brexit negotiations. It will surely have to flesh out the details to be at all credible. If not we really are surrendering our democracy even further than Parliament already has.  History tells us always to be wary of those asking to be trusted with sweeping powers. Yet the more detail there is the more likely the negotiations are to run into trouble.

This is the fatal flaw in Theresa May’s opportunism. Without an election she could simply have continued with her vague promises ‘to get the best deal’. She now has to establish some clearer lines and that brings her up against the biggest problem of all. She may be lord of all she surveys in, well England, hardly the UK, after the election but she will always be an isolated and inexperienced figure in the negotiations to come.  Her obsession with bringing migration down to the ‘tens of thousands’ has already narrowed the possibilities of an achievable deal. Sadly the clumsiness of her ministers, especially her Foreign Secretary, has already lost her much goodwill while the EU’s Guy Verhofstadt has said that a larger majority will give her no advantage.  If she promises that she will remove the European Court of Justice from any authority in Britain and in response the European Parliament insists that it must be kept in place to police the rights of EU citizens where does that leave her? The chance of total humiliation- and the ensuing economic and political disaster of a ‘no deal’ - is very real. 

If that happens the authority of May could collapse very quickly. An enlarged Conservative party might well split between the myopic Brexiteers and those MPs who know in their heart of heartsthat Brexit will seriously diminish the UK and leave it isolated and economically weak in an increasingly protectionist world economy. The decision to hold this election, even if it produces a larger Conservative Party, may well turn out to have been disastrous. 

The Labour party has hopelessly compromised itself by giving Theresa May a free hand in the Brexit negotiations, not even challenging her sweeping away of the Parliament Act. It is unlikely that it will be able to offer a coherent alternative within this short time period, especially with a leader who fails to offer leadership. It is best that the party’s MPs concentrate on local issues and consolidate and defend their individual achievements. This leaves the Liberal Democrats as the standard bearers of opposition to the fantasies of the Brexiteers. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democratic leader, may still be little known but with a clear stance on Brexit and having ruled out a coalition he provides an alternative that is not only a vote against a hard Brexit but also a vote for the maintenance of democratic rule. 

It is also vital to register the under 25sand inspire them to vote.  It is they who stand most to lose from the restrictions on freedom to travel and work in the EU that may well follow a hard Brexit. The student unions need to get to work here.  Every vote against the perilous direction in which the Conservative party is leading us is relevant in that it challenges an interpretation of the referendum vote that has little to do with reality. 

Outsiders are amazed that the government shows no signs of understanding the complexities and apparently unresolvable issues that need to be sorted out in a very short time.  How does a Prime Minister obsessed with migrationdeal with the 30,000 workers who daily cross either way over the Irish border with Northern Ireland? There will be no scope for grandstanding or intransigence. Yet we are still at the stage that May’s intransigence is being seen as a political virtue.  The very ‘quality’ that makes her popular is the very one that is likely to bring her down.

    There is one consolation. The defeat of Xerxes ushered in the achievements of classical civilization. The experience of Theresa May’s opportunism that may lead to her downfall could possible make people rethink the nature of British politics. This election will solve nothing, the many challenges within British society that the commitment to Brexit diverts us from will remain unmet. Perhaps ‘the will of the people’ will re-emerge to back policies that will actually improve the lives of the British people and those who from here and abroad who keep services running.

Charles Freeman is a historian specialising in the history and culture of Europe.