The debate leading up to the Brexit referendum posed questions about our understanding of democracy. The debate took place in an atmosphere in which lies were not sufficiently challenged and to disagree was and still is considered to be undemocratic !
This has fueled an increasingly polarized debate aggravated by austerity and feelings of deprivation and negative attitudes towards immigrants, which have been ruthlessly exploited by politicians putting their ideologies before the good of the country.
These negative aspects of what should have been a thoughtful and reasoned debate are still very much alive today.
We have the sense of political leaders who, while masquerading as defenders of democracy, are not immune to leaving aside what democracy really means. Political power seems to matter more than integrity.
Parliament is supreme and this was defended initially by the Lower Court. We have a government which questioned this judgment and so it went to the Supreme Court.
The appalling reaction by some sections of the media to the final judgment that Parliament is sovereign was not immediately condemned by the government.
The ongoing rise in physical and verbal political intimidation is accompanied by a general rise in hate crimes.
Our leaders have a duty to combat this by showing respect towards each other and an awareness of how we present ourselves to other nations.
In a small way at a meeting in Florence on 18th September I was able to convey to HE the British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris the concern that many of us feel about how we present ourselves in Europe. The meeting was conducted admirably in an atmosphere of respect in spite of the deep unease that many of us feel about the fundamental question of why the European Union came into being not being given enough focus in the Brexit debate.
I was able to express my dismay to Jill Morris about the concerns we have not to mention embarrassment about behavior and loose language coming out from those who represent us. I am ashamed.
From one who like many British families and their young in Europe are denied the right to vote.