So we have voted to leave the European Union (EU) by a small but significant margin. For anyone who has been reading this blog over the months will know that I want to Remain but the people have spoken and so we must accept those views. Where we go from here is far from clear other than we will probably have left the EU by the time of the next election in 2020. I don’t think that there will be another election before then as that could completely complicate matters and the last thing we need now is added complication. This might seem a very illiberal thing to write but just imagine if we did have a general election and and the Conservatives lost and a pro Europe coalition were to take power – which would be the legitimate voice of the people – the referendum or the General Election? This doesn’t bare thinking about so I hope there isn’t one.
I think (hope) that the current froth in the financial markets is just that – short term instability which will soon evaporate. However, I suspect that the pound will be weaker for sometime to come so many people who voted to Leave will be having to pay more for their holidays in Europe this summer. Many, of course, will see that as a price worth paying but some might have pause for thought. As for businesses that export from Britain, especially those which are foreign owned, then I suspect they will sit on their hands at the moment and wait to see how things turn out.
What I hope doesn’t happen is that there is some form of triumphalism takes hold of the Leave side and ignore the almost half of the population that voted to remain. I suspect that the Conservatives will not want to do that as they will have to sell the new deal whenever it is revealed. UKIP, on the other hand, may not be so reticent but then again they have just successfully campaigned for their dismantling. Britain will be leaving Europe so what will be the point of UKIP? If things were that simple and we can expect an awful lot of noise from the UKIP end of the political spectrum over the coming weeks and months as they try to capitalise on the referendum victory.
As for the broader question of what this says about Britain as a whole then it is far too early give an answer to that. We will change as a country in ways that few have really thought about. I suspect that many Leave voters may be frustrated by the result of the settlement that is struck between Britain and the European Union as they may thing not a lot has changed. How that will be reflected in the 2020 election is anyone’s guess, certainly not mine at 10:46 am the day after the vote. Continuity and Change.
One final thought on Scotland. I am not convinced that if a new independence referendum was called Scotland would vote to leave the United Kingdom. Many of the unanswered question from the last one have still to be answered and the biggest one is the one of currency. Scotland, I suspect, will want to keep the pound sterling and if that is the case then they will have remain within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and….oh no the whole question of Ireland has become a vital part of the negotiations between Britain and the EU and Britain/Ireland question are always simple and straightforward to answer aren’t they?!?
That is enough. My sleep deprived brain has just about given up so I’ll leave it at that. Goodness knows what the situation will be when I wake up in a few hours time – maybe Donald Trump will have made things a whole lot better for us all as he strides around his new golf course in Scotland…I think I’m hallucinating now…off to bed for me and well done the Leave campaign.