2016, the year that the ‘commentariat’ got just about everything wrong! It was supposed to be a victory for ‘remain’ and Hilary Clinton preparing for her inauguration as US President half way through next month…well, no. Britain was supposed to make a further…if perhaps reluctant…commitment to the European Union with an economic meltdown if this did not occur as companies abandoned what would become the Titanic of economies; that voting leave would result inevitably according to David Cameron and other ‘remainers’ in leaving the single market and the customs union, something now denied by the ‘remoaners’ and especially the Liberal Democrats who respect the referendum result—remember it was advisory not binding--but want to have another just to make sure and perhaps a third one for two out of three!! The irony is that, although three out of four people eligible to vote did so, the percentage was lower amongst younger votes, some of whom are now complaining that the ‘baby boomers’ have stolen yet another part of their inheritance. Brexit was not expected to happen and neither side in the debate had made any real provision for this eventuality…any sensible government would have taken steps to plan for Brexit even if they didn’t expect it to happen. And when it did, instead of staying on to help with the transition to a new Prime Minister and to sort out the mess of his own choosing, David Cameron simply quit within hours of the result…it was a bit like, ‘well you didn’t take my advice, so I’m off!!’ Almost a hissy fit!!!!!
So why did England and Wales vote for Brexit? Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, though in NI’s case by a small majority. This in itself caused problems as Scotland then demanded some sort of accommodation with the EU to recognise that it did not vote to leave. This raised significant constitutional issues that have yet to be resolved…how do you accommodate a devolved, but not federal, structure within a unitary constitution? The result is that Scotland demands that it has a special status under devolution in relation to the referendum despite the fact that the UK as a whole voted for Brexit by a significant if not enormous majority. We may still be a ‘United’ Kingdom in theory but in practice that is clearly no longer the case. This explains why the current mantra is ‘Yes, we accept the result of the referendum and the will of the people….but!!!!!’ The metropolitan elite cannot understand it and, if some of the recent comments in the press are a good indicator, some are still in denial about it all…they’ll wake up from a bad dream and the referendum won’t have taken place. It’s the Peasants Revolt all over again but this time the peasants have got what they want…or have they? Just as Richard II and his ministers betrayed the peasants in 1381 so constitutional niceties, legal arguments, practical politics and the realities of negotiation from March 2017 may well see yet another betrayal…this is what we’ve negotiated and Parliament’s agreed so that’s it whether or not there’s control over free movement of people or complete severance from the EU…it’s economics silly!!
The reality is that because there was little planning for Brexit, the whole thing is a mess. Whoever allowed a referendum bill to go through Parliament that did not specifically make the result binding was really incompetent…I cannot believe that nobody noticed that. A conspiracy theorist might well argue that this was deliberate so that government could twist its way out of taking account of the result if it was leave…though I tend to the cock-up theory of politics. And of course it’s also a mess for the EU…it has as little an idea of what Brexit will mean in practice as the government. Yes it’s all…well don’t expect an easy negotiation from us but it then has to get through all 27 countries and how do you do that successfully? No one knows. It’s almost a back of the cigarette packet situation. Yes it would have been easier to stay within the EU…certainly my own view…but that’s not how the people voted.