For what it’s worth, polls consistently showed that Leave’s top issue, by a long way, was democracy. Immigration was a distant second and, even among those citing immigration, few wanted or expected that there would be zero settlement from Europe. What they wanted – and what we will be in a position to deliver when we leave – was control. Parliament will decide who comes here and on what terms. How much free movement of labour we retain will be up to us.
In the past 24 hours, I have twice had it put to me on air that I am responsible for hate crimes. The first time was by Christiane Amanpour on CNN, who wanted me to condemn some horrible graffiti that she called “fallout” from the vote. When I replied that there were a few racist idiots in every society, she thought that I was refusing to condemn them. So a few hours later, interviewed by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, I decided to leave no doubt. Yes, of course I condemned intolerance, though I still thought it absurd to suggest that there was some kind of continuum linking racists to the 52 per cent of Britons who had opted for democratic self-government. Ending the interview, Piers remarked to his co-presenter that condemning the attacks was “the least they could do”.
Seriously? Those of us who argued for a global Britain, looking further than one declining trade bloc, are responsible for hatred? I have have spent months campaigning, not only alongside Britons of Commonwealth backgrounds, but alongside many people of Continental origin who have clocked Brussels for the remote oligarchy it is. Are we all racists?