Unless you have been stranded on a desert island for the last 6 days you know that the UK voters decided to leave the EU. There is a number of ideas going around my head about this referendum and the result so I thought I would put them in writing.
First of all, there was no reason for a referendum. It was uncalled for. The only reason David Cameron promised to have an EU referendum was because he thought he could gain a few voters from UKIP (the moderate ones) so he would not have to form an alliance with another party to rule the country (like he did the previous term with the Liberal Democrats).
Then, there were two separate campaigns, one for Leave and one for Remain. On the Leave camp was Boris Johnson (former London Mayor; conservative), Nigel Farage (leader of UKIP), Michael Gove (conservative MP) and a few others; notable mention the Sun newspaper. Main points of this campaign were to take back control of the country, stop immigration and save money. Apparently £350 million per week goes to the EU, we will put that money in the NHS, instead.
On the Remain side we had the Labour Party (huge majority of it), most of the Conservative Party, most businessmen including Sir Richard Branson of Virgin and others. I have to say that it was quite interesting that we had the leaders of the two main parties supporting the same cause; that’s not something that we see very often. David Cameron was saying that he got a really good deal, in the negotiations he had with the EU, at the beginning of the year and he did not think we would be able to get anything better than this. On top of that the income from the EU outweighs the money we pay in.
Initially the polls where saying that it was very close. Then it went to the Remain and later on went to Leave with a big lead of about 5-10%, depending on which paper you read.
One week before the referendum some right-wing nutter killed Jo Cox, a Labour Party MP who was in the Remain camp. Most importantly she left a husband and two children; aged three and five. There were many conspiracy theorists who said that the Remain Campaign had a lot to win with a death like hers and now they will definitely win. As we now know they lost so the conspiracy theorists have focused their attention back to chem-trails and the aliens who live among us.
Just a couple of days before the referendum the polls were saying that it would be very close.
The referendum day came and at 10 the same evening people were sat in front of their TV with anticipation to watch the result. The exit polls were saying that the Remain would win by about 2%. First results came from Gibraltar which had voted a resounding Remain. During the night the Leave camp was too quick to accept that they might have lost. Then all the areas one by one where coming out and the Leave camp was gaining slowly but surely. Many people, myself included, believed that London would cover the difference. It didn’t. The result was “Leave” by over 1 million votes.
Then everybody started panicking and thinking that we are in a mess. As it turns out we are in a mess. I will try to explain what happened in the first few hours after the referendum result was announced:
- The Sterling dropped against the dollar to the lowest point since 1985.
- In the London stock Exchange, banks’ shares went down by 30-35%.
- Nigel Farage announced that 23 June is the UK’s Independence Day. Well, the UK was independent and quite a few countries that have an official independence day, they celebrate their independence from the UK! The footage reminded a lot of a famous scene from the Independence Day movie.
- David Cameron announces that he will not invoke Article 50, as he had said he would do if the result was “Leave”. He resigned, though, effective when a new conservative leader has been chosen/elected at the Party Conference. The new Party Leader who will be the new Prime Minister, too, will then have to invoke Article 50.
- Boris Johnson supports(!) David Cameron and he says that he should complete his term as Prime Minister. That means that Boris does not want to be the one who invokes Article 50. Whoever will do that will be responsible for losing Scotland, Northern Ireland, potentially Gibraltar and upsetting the rest of Europe. So as you can imagine the Article 50 initiation is politically toxic.
- Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said that since Scotland overwhelmingly voted “Remain”, she wants Scotland the stay in the EU and she will fight tooth and nail to achieve that. Either through independence from the UK (see above bullet point), or by vetoing the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
- Northern Ireland is considering unification with the Republic of Ireland who are already members of the EU. It seems that the Kingdom is not United any more.
- Nigel Farage says that the £350 million per week that is going to the EU will not be given to the NHS as they had promised. “It was a mistake“.
- Then somebody from the Leave camp somehow explains that the immigration promise is not as simple as people thought. We will not start deporting people after all.
- Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage start saying that now we can negotiate a better deal with the EU. We will start talking through back channels to make sure it happens before we officially leave the EU. They have been saying that we could have the Norway deal.
Then the weekend came and people were left wondering what might happen. In the meantime some idiots thought that because they had voted “Leave” and they had won, it meant that they can behave like fascists and ask anybody who doesn’t look British to leave the country.
The next week came and people were hoping that somebody will sort everything out; “hoping” being the key word.
- The EU says that there will be no back channel talks. The UK needs to officially invoke Article 50 before any talks start.
- Nigel Farage (as an MEP, this time) he went into the European Parliament and after he personally offended the other MEP’s he explained to them how much they need the UK and that the UK does not need them. So they should stop playing hard to get and quickly agree to trade with the UK. He got booed quite a lot and he got reminded that he cannot have his pie and eat it at the same time.
- David Cameron tried to explain to his European counterparts why he lost the referendum. Instead of admitting that he shouldn’t had done it in the first place he accused them for not giving him more leeway in the beginning of the year. He also explained that the British people want less immigration.
- All the EU leaders unanimously reminded the Brits that they cannot have an à la carte EU membership.
- During all this, Boris Johnson says absolutely nothing and is nowhere to be seen. At the time of writing #WhereIsBoris is trending.
So, what we have is a country divided. A bunch of politicians that lied to the people to get them to vote “Leave” but now they don’t want to actually do what they have to. We also have the two main political parties in a mess. The Conservatives need a new leader who will have to invoke Article 50 (but nobody really wants to do it) and the Labour are in a position where they don’t trust their leader but he does not want to step down.
On top of that the EU is insisting that the UK will not have access to the common market without Freedom of Movement (open borders with the rest of the EU). Just to inform people, the Norway model is even worse than what the UK has. Norway has access to the Common Market, has accepted the Freedom of Movement but on top of that it does not have representatives in the European Parliament. This applies to every country who is in the EEA (European Economic Area) but not a full EU member. So, if the British public think that the Norwegians have a good deal they are wrong.
People want this resolved quickly. They want to be out of this mess ASAP. The fascists want the foreigners out now; yesterday if possible. The foreigners want to know where they stand. The businesses want to know what to do. Should they open new offices in London, or should they open them in Paris or Berlin? Is London going to be in the EU? Already businesses have said that they will have to scale down their UK operations if the country is not in the EU. And some politicians say, let’s have our summer holidays first(!)
Oh, and did I mention that some voters have gone on record (public television) to say that they have regretted their vote to leave the EU? Yes, I know, it’s crazy. And to top it all up, full Brexit is not expected to happen before 2020(!)
So, let me tell you my theory: nothing will change, really. The fallout from the Brexit will be so big that nobody wants to experience it. Corporations from both sides of the Channel (globally too) will lose money. And guess what, these guys never lose money. So if the Brexit does happen after all, it will be only in name but everything will be more or less the same. This scenario is quite unlikely because other countries will want to leave the EU. So, we have to possible outcomes:
- Some sacrificial government with a sacrificial Prime Minister will deny to follow the people’s mandate and will never invoke Article 50. They might even say that the majority of people have changed their minds etc. so they can keep people calm.
- We go to elections where a party will clearly make a pledge to not invoke Article 50 and fight tooth and nail to win the election. Even if they won’t win they will form a coalition government that will not start the process. Then, they will go back to the EU and try to make the same deal that David Cameron made back in February this year. In fact, this will all be agreed in advance, in back rooms with the EU.
In the meantime the fascists will carry on being fascists and bully people just because they think they have won the right to do it.