As a transparency and ethics campaigner in the world of investments, charities and now politics, 2017 has been a year that has rocked my belief in the Britain I thought I lived in.
What I realised is that far from a free and fair society, our country and democracy is being hijacked, infiltrated by hostile foreign powers who are seeking to destabilise western societies. Then there are those with an illiberal democracy agenda denigrating various ‘others’ so through division they become dominant. Believers in this agenda view consumer protection, workers’ rights, human rights, the rule of law and environmental protection as non-essentials. They are only concerned with satisfying its customers, ‘the will of the people’. Surprisingly, illiberal democrats also do not seem to be overly concerned about economic growth. The view is as long as you give people choice to buy low cost products or food, who cares if they are safe? As long as the label says chlorinated chicken, it up to the public to choose. Crashing out of the EU will just create more opportunities for these individuals.
The things being smuggled in under the cover of Brexit will damage so much of what we hold dear in Britain. A cabal of tycoons would see their wealth and influence turbocharged, while the mass of the population would see their prosperity, their security and, ultimately, their liberty dwindle away. Then there are the media Billionaire Brexit cheerleaders – Murdoch, Desmond, Rothermere, the Barclay Brothers, who do not care about the public but about owning the politicians. They are the ones really taking control. Irrespective of social media, the referendum was still largely fought, and probably won, by campaigns in print and broadcast media.
Professors of Political Communications at Loughborough University analysed the referendum and found that 80% of these media were for Leave and only 20% for Remain, in terms of circulation, and with the exception of The Times and the Daily Star, all the newspapers were highly partisan in terms of editorial balance. Enemies of the people, remoaners, experts and the educated were reduced to elite, mutineers – words being used as weapons to wind up hatred and distrust.
Which brings me to the behaviour of our politicians. Politicians either being bullied or fearful, lacking the integrity, honesty or bravery to put country before party. Two main parties allowing themselves to be taken over by extremists amongst their ranks, who are power hungry, or willing fools or fantasists. Extremists on left and right, who for very different ideological reasons wish to take us back to a past that does not exist because the world has moved on.
I hope that in 2018, masks will begin to drop, people will begin to see the real agenda that belies Brexit, that Britain will reclaim the values and principles that have always made us the envy of the world – tolerance, fairness, the rule of law, democracy, advocacy, sense of humour, our honesty and integrity.
This blog is part of HuffPost UK’s 12 days of Christmas series. From 20 December we will bring you blogs and vlogs from individuals at the centre of some of 2017′s biggest news stories. They will reflect on the past 12 months and also look forward to new year. To find out more follow our hashtag #HuffPost12Days or visit our series page.