I guess the working-class never did stand a chance when up against the sheer guile of the political class who make for very sore losers indeed. As I write, they are in the process of collecting zillions of signatures on a No10 petition crying foul and demanding another referendum. It is suggested that Thursday's vote has no legitimacy because:-
"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the Remain or Leave vote is less than 60%, based on a turnout less than 75%, there should be another referendum."It's a great wheeze, like that of David Lammy's, but for a variety of reasons won't or can't get anywhere - but it turns out that nothing is exactly as most people might be tempted to think it is. We might have voted for Brexit, but that doesn't mean we have yet and maybe we might not at all. This on the Jack of Kent website:-
Why the Article 50 notification is important
Then there is the legality. I want to spell out this point very carefully. If the British people vote to leave there is only one way to bring that about – and that is to trigger Article 50 of the Treaties and begin the process of exit. And the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away. Let me be absolutely clear how this works. It triggers a 2-year time period to negotiate the arrangements for exit. At the end of this period, if no agreement is in place then exit is automatic unless every 1 of the 27 other EU member states agrees to a delay.If you read this carefully, you will spot that it is quite deftly worded: Cameron was not committing himself to making the notification. It was instead something which would be “rightly expected”. He did not promise to meet that “expectation”. But in his (resignation) statement yesterday, Cameron said something different about Article 50:
A negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new Prime Minister, and I think it is right that this new Prime Minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU.So Cameron has gone from it being “rightly” expected that the notification be made by him straight away, to it being “right” that the decision be made later by somebody else at the time of their choosing. The fact is that the longer the Article 50 notification is put off, the greater the chance it will never be made at all. This is because the longer the delay, the more likely it will be that events will intervene or excuses will be contrived.
Nothing can force the UK to press the notification button, and nothing can force the EU to negotiate until it is pressed. It is entirely a matter for a Member State to decide whether to make the notification and, if so, when. In turn, there is no obligation on the EU to enter into negotiations until the notification is made. There is therefore a stalemate. If this were game of chess, a draw would now be offered. Stalemates can last a long time. And unless there is political will to resolve it, this stalemate will not resolve itself.If the destruction of Greece helped set the tone, Leave won by turning the British referendum into an ugly expression of English nativism, feeding on the frustrations of a deeply unequal nation, ironically divided by the very forces of reaction and austerity that will now come fully to power. The political effect has sent a harsh message to Europeans living in Britain, and to the many who would have liked to come. The economic effect will leave Britain in the hands of simpletons who believe that deregulation is the universal source of growth.
That such a campaign could prevail – leading soon to a hard right government in Britain – testifies to the high-handed incompetence of the political, financial, British and European elites. Remain ran a campaign of fear, condescension and bean-counting, as though Britons cared only about the growth rate and the pound. And the Remain leaders seemed to believe that such figures as Barack Obama, George Soros, Christine Lagarde, a list of ten Nobel-prize-winning economists or the research department of the IMF carried weight with the British working class.
Since nothing happens, at first, except the start of negotiations, the immediate economic effects may be small. If the drop in sterling lasts, British exports may actually benefit. If the world gets skittish, the dollar will rise and US exports may suffer, with possible political consequences in America this fall. Otherwise, in the most likely case, the markets will settle down and British life will continue normally at first – except, of course, for immigrants. This will further give the lie to the scare campaign.
Over time, however, as they apply to the United Kingdom, the structures of EU law, regulation, fiscal transfers, open commerce, open borders and human rights built over four decades will now be eroded. Exactly how this will happen – by what process of negotiation, with what retribution from the spurned powers in Brussels and Berlin, by what combination of slow change and abrupt acts, with what consequences for the Union of Scotland to England – is clearly unknown to the leaders of the Leave campaign. This morning they appeared on British television in equal parts triumphant and clueless.
And the crisis now erupts everywhere in Europe: in Holland and France, but also in Spain and Italy, as well as in Germany, Finland and the East. If the hard right can rise in Britain, it can rise anywhere. If Britain can exit, so can anyone; neither the EU nor the Euro is irrevocable. And most likely, since the apocalyptic predictions of economic collapse and “Lehman on steroids” that preceded the Brexit referendum will not come true, such warnings will be even less credible when heard the next time.
The European Union has sowed the wind. It may reap the whirlwind. Unless it moves, and quickly, not merely to assert a hollow “unity” but to deliver a democratic, accountable, and realistic New Deal – or something very much like it – for all Europeans.
James Galbraith is author of “Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe.
Here's Fraser Nelson writing in the Wall Street Journal explains how the die was cast:-
Mr. Cameron has been trying to explain this to Angela Merkel for some time. He once regaled the German chancellor with a pre-dinner PowerPoint presentation to explain his whole referendum idea. Public support for keeping Britain within the EU was collapsing, he warned, but a renegotiation of its terms would save Britain’s membership. Ms. Merkel was never quite persuaded, and Mr. Cameron was sent away with a renegotiation barely worthy of the name. It was a fatal mistake—not nearly enough to help Mr. Cameron shift the terms of a debate he was already well on the way to losing.
The EU took a gamble: that the Brits were bluffing and would never vote to leave. A more generous deal—perhaps aimed at allowing the U.K. more control over immigration, the top public concern in Britain—would probably have (just) stopped Brexit. But the absence of a deal sent a clear and crushing message: The EU isn’t interested in reforming, so it is past time to stop pretending otherwise.
With no deal, all Mr. Cameron could do was warn about the risks of leaving the EU. If Brits try to escape, he said, they’d face the razor wire of a recession or the dogs of World War III. He rather overdid it. Instead of fear, he seemed to have stoked a mood of mass defiance.
Finally, a powerful piece by John Pilger on the Counter Punch website:-
The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.
This was, in great part, a vote by those angered and demoralised by the sheer arrogance of the apologists for the “Remain” campaign and the dismemberment of a socially just civil life in Britain. The last bastion of the historic reforms of 1945, the National Health Service, has been so subverted by Tory and Labour-supported privateers it is fighting for its life.
A forewarning came when the Treasurer, George Osborne, the embodiment of both Britain’s ancient regime and the banking mafia in Europe, threatened to cut £30 billion from public services if people voted the wrong way; it was blackmail on a shocking scale.
Immigration was exploited in the campaign with consummate cynicism, not only by populist politicians from the lunar right, but by Labour politicians drawing on their own venerable tradition of promoting and nurturing racism, a symptom of corruption not at the bottom but at the top. The reason millions of refugees have fled the Middle East – first Iraq, now Syria – are the invasions and imperial mayhem of Britain, the United States, France, the European Union and Nato. Before that, there was the wilful destruction of Yugoslavia. Before that, there was the theft of Palestine and the imposition of Israel.
The pith helmets may have long gone, but the blood has never dried. A nineteenth century contempt for countries and peoples, depending on their degree of colonial usefulness, remains a centrepiece of modern “globalisation”, with its perverse socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor: its freedom for capital and denial of freedom to labour; its perfidious politicians and politicised civil servants.
All this has now come home to Europe, enriching the likes of Tony Blair and impoverishing and disempowering millions. On 23 June, the British said no more.
The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21stcentury zeitgeist, even “cool”. What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.
Is it just possible that when things calm down in Brussels, rather more wise heads may prevail and that in order to stem a very ugly move by electorates in other Member States for exiting, some serious negotiations begin behind closed doors for both EU reform and a proper deal that keeps the UK in the club?