From Rupert Besley, Newport:

No, Mr Seely, we cannot enter 2020 with our faith restored in democracy (column CP, 27-12-19).

Your party has seen to that. It was a minority of the electorate (37 per cent) that voted Leave in 2016 and an election minority (14.8 m) that voted for parties pro-Brexit, while 16.5 million backed parties for Remain or a second referendum.

Voting First Past the Post does not serve democracy well. Less than half (45 per cent) of the turnout last month in Scotland voted SNP, which party took 48 of the 59 seats, leaving a majority of voters effectively disenfranchised and unrepresented.

Overall, the Conservative vote rose by 1.2 per cent, giving a net gain of 47 seats. The LibDem vote went up 4.2 per cent and their seat numbers fell. Proportional representation would have given the Greens 12 seats and LibDems 70.

The ill-framed referendum split the country down the middle. The result was within what elsewhere would be written off as margin of error. This outcome was achieved by ‘lying, cheating, outside interference and dark money’ (Diana Cairns), details of which government has done its best to suppress.

Whichever way the vote had gone, more work was needed to achieve a common voice and proper mandate. Instead, government sought to proceed by methods found by courts to have been unlawful.

Far from the people ‘taking back control’, the government has worked to circumvent the instruments of democracy and put power instead in the hands of unelected Dominic Cummings.

Brexit is not done, but means another year of mayhem ending in possible no-deal, all at a cost too large to own up to. Getting it done does not make this any better than the bad idea it always was, driven on by base motives of xenophobia and boredom, along with deluded notions of UK’s role in the past and place in future. Parliament knew this, as enough MPs understood the real issues facing us (climate change and global inequality) are ones that require our closest cooperation with nearest neighbours.

It is outrageous the party of austerity, that has cut services for ten years and brought crisis to the NHS and criminal justice systems, should claim to be the ones to re-energise the country.

De-regulation and tax cuts mean dodgy financiers, shoddy goods and Grenfell.

The party that has divided the country with mounting hate and hostile environment, culminating in the tragedies of Windrush and murder of Jo Cox, has no right to expect everyone now to support them.

Another columnist, Malcolm Mime, thinks we have a rosy future. La La Land, I think you’ll find.

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