THE naysayers will seize every opportunity to condemn Britain and stick the knife in over Brexit.

Neil Mackay's article ("Hong Kong shows Britain is now a pipsqueak state", The Herald, November 19) purports to show that the current dreadful situation in Hong Kong is yet another manifestation of Britain's perfidy.

However Britain did its best to build a good future for Hong Kong in negotiations with China in 1984, resulting in the Basic Law, and the mantra "One country, two systems".

This mantra was a unique concept but was always going to be work in progress. By and large it worked well until China (One country, remember) fleshed out plans for the universal suffrage election that under the Basic Law was to be held in 2017. The main stumbling block was China's insistence on a minority block of appointees in the Electoral College. Quasi-democratic Hong Kong (the Legislative Council) voted not to have an election at all rather than have one partly determined by appointees.

This was a fatal mistake in my opinion, and one that put the building of democracy in Hong Kong on the back burner. At least the Chinese proposal was a start, and it could have been built on in the following election.

The protestors in 2019 wanted the withdrawal of a (Hong Kong-proposed ) extradition bill. They succeeded. They also wanted universal franchise.

There are many different manifestations of universal franchise in the world. The Chinese proposal probably fell short, but it was a start and a genuine offering from a fundamentally non-democratic country.

It is difficult to know what the protestors want. There is no hierarchy of leadership, no manifesto, few demands other than insisting on investigation of purported "police brutality". Generally the current use of force by the police is commensurate with the level of violence offered and let us not forget it includes crowbars, bricks, petrol bombs and crossbows.

Violence appears to be an end in itself.

From the Chinese perspective it must be tempting to look firstly at the "one country" phrase before the "two systems" phrase but Hong Kong is still manifestly a different state to China. It is the independent Hong Kong Police Force that is attempting to stop the rioters and not the People's Liberation Army (PLA), and Hong Kong also has all the other essentials of a nation state: its own (freely convertible) currency, legal system, WTO and Olympic representation.

In giving Chinese people who fled the chaos in China a haven of peace and prosperity over the last 70 years-plus, negotiating a handover agreement that maintains the status quo for 50 years, Britain has left Hong Kong with its head held high.

The baton is now with Hong Kong people. It remains to be seen if rioting will lead to greater democracy.

Brexit? Britain the pipsqueak state? How on earth can Mr Mackay conflate these with the current Hong Kong situation?

Sorry, Mr Mackay, but keep your Britain and Brexit-bashing to more relevant subjects.

Bruce Walker, Largs.