A referendum - such as Britain's recent EU vote - says a lot about how people reach decisions. Most striking is the correlation between how people voted and their overall level of education. Those educated to a higher level tended to be against leaving; those with lower education tended to vote in favour of leaving. But do not jump to conclusions: there is a bigger picture here.
There have been a lot of jitters lately about Scotland being on the verge of jumping out of the UK since the Brexit vote. You hear it with Nicola Sturgeon, the steely Scottish First Minister, announced almost immediately that a second referendum 'must be, and is, on the table.' You see it from the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, dashing to Scotland with a commitment to the union. The surge of SNP memberships helps to stoke the flames...
Yes, bad things have happened, we might not agree with a lot of decisions that have been made - but we must not forget the real change, solidarity, strength and courage that's also been seen in events in recent history. This current phase in politics is also a time for positivity and boldness, not just scepticism.
So other than avocadoes, hummus, kebabs, bus drivers, nurses, doctors, traffic wardens, cleaners, childcare, football, Eurovision, taxi drivers, scam emails, Bollywood, paving, yoga, tennis, rhythm, KFC, McDonalds, back stabbing knives, less racism, carnival, clean toilets, curry, money, telemarketers, what have the immigrants ever done for us? Nothing.
Ask yourselves whether you would be comfortable answering such questions. I also urge you to take it further than just ask questions - be curious, care about these issues and see how you can help. Educate yourselves and help educate others. Because we need allies in this fight and you might just be that ally if you care enough.
But if we allow Blair to carry the blame for the disaster of Iraq alone we are deceiving ourselves. He was aided and abetted every step of the way by the Labour Party and the Conservatives, by the overwhelming majority of the British press, by vast sections of public opinion, both on the patriotic right and the worthy left -- in short, by the entire British Establishment.
Five years ago, almost to the day, I arrived in the great city of New York to take up my post as British Consul General. Very shortly I return to a country that's voted to leave the European Union, something few in the mainstream would have even imagined in 2011. Most of the headlines in the last week have been fire and brimstone, but here, far from the madding crowd, I see a picture distinctly less bleak.
As expected after big surgeries, there are a lot of bandages. My bandages were more in the form of some weird-ass celibacy plaster cast that I could literally knock on. Eventually they had to come off though, which was as horrifying as you might imagine. When they took them off I also realized that they had been SEWN to me in two places.