Since Friday mornings announcement that the UK voted to leave the EU 52-48% a constant stream of events has occurred. The Leave campaigns have backtracked on promises (surprise surprise), Labour has imploded, Scotland is looking for another independence referendum, and the EU is getting annoyed at Britain dragging its feet regarding Article 50. So let’s dive right in!
First off the bat is the ridiculous Farage giving 3 victory speeches and a number of interviews the morning of the Leave win. In those he backtracked on the claim that the £350mn sent to the EU would be spent on the NHS. He now claims that was never said, even though it was on the side of his campaign bus and he said it in interviews. He denies these claims, like any ‘good’ politician he is backtracking to suit himself. I presume he was giving interviews because Johnson and Gove were nowhere to be seen… Which is odd in itself when they had just WON their campaign.
Farage later went on to say that the economic hit Britain took, which was more severe than the 2008 crash, was inevitable whether we left the EU or not. Nice try Nige but not even your spin and common man act is going to make that one believable. And of course let us not forget what he said last month if Remain won with a 52/48 split, just like Leave has done. He said the campaign would be far from over and he would push for another referendum! While Nigel has forgotten this Remain voters haven’t and are pushing for a second referendum and making their voices heard through a petition to the government which has so far garnered 3.3 million signatures in 3 days. A petition only needs a 100’000 signatures to be considered for debate in Parliament so this one will be especially hard for the government to ignore. The committee doesn’t meet till Tuesday to discuss petitions so we shall have to wait and see.
After Farage was the only Leave campaigner available for comment and stole the spotlight, or it was more gifted to him, Cameron announced he was resigning by October and would NOT initiate article 50. Even though he said he would do so. Okay, so more backtracking – unsurprising. And it is for his own benefit but it is also a brilliant political manoeuvre. Whoever is the next PM will have to initiate Article 50, ruining their political career as public backlash will be massive and Scotland pushes for independence. Or they could decide not to, ignoring an advisory referendum, and pissing off 17 million voters – thus ruining their political career. Genius really.
Our dear BoJo made himself scarce the evening of the referendum result by not having a campaign party, standard tradition, and appearing only for a rather mediocre victory speech to the press where he claimed there was no rush to start negotiations to leave the EU. This is quite odd. But not if we go back to February 2016 where Johnson said leaving the EU would be a technical nightmare and a grand waste of resources for little to no benefit. So how did he go from Remain to the leader of Leave in a few months? A brilliant but now disastrous move to advance his own career. Cynical I know but he hasn’t shown the enthusiasm of a politician who just won he campaign and as in fact acted like he has lost. Maybe this is because he knows he can’t become PM and remove the UK from the EU without destroying himself and not can he become PM and ignore the referendum result. On top of this he is the fan favourite for Tory leadership and thus for him to not run for PM would show him as giving up and ruining his career. Truly disastrous. He has been missing since Friday morning so a search should probably be started. Him, Gove, and Osbourne are all probably hiding in a bunker somewhere as none of them got what they wanted and are all pegged as possibilities for replacing Cameron. Seriously, they have been outplayed marvellously.
And what does Europe think of the result? Junker, Schulz, and many foreign ministers say we shouldn’t dawdle and get the process moving along asap. Former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and Angela Merkel, “Queen of Europe”, – oh, sorry, mean Chancellor of Germany – has said there is no need to rush and Britain should reconsider the implications of leaving. One thing is certain. The EU meeting in Brussels on Tuesday will be far from boring and Cameron will need to watch his tongue for any hint of the words “we are leaving” as they could trigger Article 50.
So, with major Tory party cabinet members going into hiding and the back benches not knowing what to do you would think the opposition party, Labour, had jumped on the opportunity to advance its own position in the public eye. Sadly, no, instead they have resorted to infighting as Hilary Benn, shadow foreign secretary for Corbyn, said Jeremy was not his leader. Benn was promptly and rightly sacked for this which triggered 10 more shadow cabinet ministers to resign. While Labour is revolting against its leader the public made a vote of confidence in Corbyn letter which has garnered 150’000 signatures. Corbyn has been his typical illusory self in all of this. But what should Labour have done instead. Swooped in, restored confidence in the people for their party, made promises of funding to the places destined to lose funding due to Brexit, and lay a solid framework for the next general election – whether October (possible) or 2020. I agree with the Labour ministers criticising Corbyn for his lacklustre EU Remain campaign but these actions are so short sighted of the party it only does further harm to general election victory chances.
And while the Labour and Tory parties decay further, Tim Farron has made it clear the Liberal Democrats are the only 100% pro-EU party in the UK. Though I think Sturgeon may claim otherwise. Farron has gone so far as to make it party policy to either prevent a Brexit or make attempts to rejoin the EU. This is outstanding. The interview he gave on the morning of the result it was clear he was devastated and emotionally broken, and this is a good thing as it shows he cares. In all previous interviews he was level headed and clear but in interviews since the result he has been passionate, emotional, and clear. An exceptionally charismatic politician.
On the upside the SNP is looking exceptionally strong in Scotland. With the country of Scotland voting 60% to remain in the EU the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has seen this has prime opportunity to draft a second independence referendum as Scotland’s political future is looking very different to England’s. Not only that she is in the process of organising meetings with Brussels to ask about Scotland’s EU membership should it be independent while also figuring out how to block Brexit in Westminster. Let’s be honest, Sturgeon may just be the best UK politician.
The move for a second Scottish referendum was from a poll taken after the EU result showing 59% of Scots were for an independent Scotland. In the previous referendum, 2014, EU membership was a major argument of the Better Together campaign and swayed many voters. But now Britain has shown a desire to leave but Scotland a desire to stay, their political futures are opposing and as such an independent Scotland may be necessary. All power to them.
While I am devastated by the advisory referendum result their is some joy to be had knowing the next few weeks and months are going to have decade of politics happening in no time at all. The political landscape of the UK will not be the same again.