Britain voted marginally to leave the European Union.
The European Union is somewhat outside the scope of the Common Market that we voted for in 1975.
The referendum is not binding on UK Parliament. UK must now pass an Act of Parliament to authorise the government to invoke Article 50 and commence negotiations (for the government to go it alone would amount to treason). For UK Parliament to pass this act, they need to figure out what Brexit actually means (see here). As at 25Jun2016, it is far from clear how any group of UK Parliamentarians could agree as to what the referendum result actually means.
Meanwhile, hysterical Project Fear has mutated into hysterical Project Despair and hysterical Project Vengeance.
The European Union is apparently demanding an immediate invocation of Article 50, riding roughshod over its own interests and yet again demonstrating its sheer, bloody-minded contempt for national governments and their democratic legal systems.
Meanwhile, a petition ostensibly for a second referendum actually wants to retrospectively invalidate the referendum we’ve just had.
A turnout of 72.2% of 46,501,241 including 26,033 rejected ballots voted:
- 51.9% to leave (17,410,742 votes);
- 48.1% to stay (16,141,241 votes);
- A margin to leave of only 3.8% (1,269,501 votes).
- Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain, but both with substantially lower turnout than the national turnover.
- Scotland’s margin to stay was the highest margin throughout the UK, a margin of 11.6% (90,995 votes).
- Wales and England voted to stay, the margins and turnout in line with the national figures. Gibraltar voted the highest margin to remain; Boston voted the highest margin to leave.
The source is the BBC, which hosts a variety of number crunching tools to keep psephologists happy for about ten minutes.
The immediate UK political aftermath
Cambo resigned as Prime Minister, outlining his intention to stay until a new party leader emerges during the Conservative Party conference later this year, aiming to take charge from October 2016.
BoJo started sounding conciliatory.
Corbo’s position is threatened, because his EurIn campaign wasn’t convincing enough for his backbenchers.
Currency pair GBPUSD did the usual back-fillip. Starting from 1.43 on 19Jun2016, it peaked to 1.50056 on referendum day 23Jun2016, then crashed to 1.34101. Within four hours, it bounced back to 1.39069 before stablising for the weekend at 1.3684. This has achieved the ‘low’ that Carno has quietly sought for years. And, of course, it reveals both the greedy stupidity of mainstream currency speculators, “the herd”.
Currency pair GBPEUR did the same back-fillip. From 1.27359, peaked to 1.31399, crashed to 1.22245, bounced to 1.25040, stabilised to 1.23085.
Sturgeo immediately and rightfully pointed towards a second referendum for Scottish independence from the British Union. This is one option for the Scots. Another option - which is probably harder work - is the Danish method. Denmark is a member of the EU; Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not members of the EU (source). If workable for Denmark, then possibly it’s also workable for Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Venn diagram of Europe is already complicated; there is no limitation on how complex it can get.
Generation Snowflake complained loudly on Twitter, justifying why it didn’t deserve the vote. Far from realising that the elderly just reversed the con trick of the 1975 referendum, the millennial generation seems to think that the job- and investment-destroying policy choices of the European Union was the future. Perhaps they saw that if the state made them unemployable, then they could collect money from the state to stay at home and watch telly all day. In any event, the diatribe against the democratic outcome is truly sickening to read. See Twitter #NotMyVote. That hash-tag alone proves why we need to increase the voting age to 25!
The immediate EU political aftermath
A quick comment by a Franco-British journalist Natalie Nougayrède published in the Guardian warns of the trap that Eurocrats are likely to fall into. For years, we’ve seen the attitude repeatedly from the European elite that “they should have any many referenda as it takes to vote the right way” (most pointedly in the run-up to the Irish referendum of 2005 that didn’t quite happen, as the European elite slowly realised that they had to implement the Lisbon Treaty without democratic mandate).
But Nougayrède is already alarmed that denial has set in.
“The very survival of the EU is now in peril, and not just because a country representing its second largest economy and a key pillar of its security is set to withdraw. Surely, that much is clear to all. Yet some reactions are already baffling. Angela Merkel has solemnly called for calm. François Hollande has declared that there needs to be a “refoundation” of the EU. Donald Tusk, European council president, quotes Nietzsche: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Martin Schulz, president of the European parliament, believes “the chain reaction being celebrated everywhere now by Eurosceptics won’t happen”.
“Stand by for more such delusional talk in the days and weeks to come. Most will betray the angst of damage limitation rather than a recognition that one era has ended and the new is not yet born.”
By means of confirmation, Junko set off on Project Vengeance Max, demanding that UKGov’s departure negotiations should start immediately and not wait until October. The French government echoed this view. Junko appears not to have understood that Europe exports more to UK than UK exports to Europe, a factoid which underpins the wide range of vested interests that Junko ultimately represents (whether he likes it or not). However, Junko is probably equally concerned about “me too” demands for Swexit, Frexit and Italeave (amongst others), so he appears to have deployed the classic French political tactic of posturing to frighten others into toeing the line (“pour encourager l’autrui”).
In an interview with Business Insider, Junko said:
“With hindsight, it is always easy to blame everyone else. The usual reflex is for the finger to be pointed at Brussels. Yet in this case, that is completely wrong: the referendum was called by the British Prime Minister and not by the European Parliament, the Commission or the European Council.”
Yes, Cambo is the one member of the political establishment who stupidly asked his demos what they thought. Outrageous. How dare democrats do that. I mean, really, what on the earth do we care what the plebs think? All they need to do is keep on paying for somebody else’s big, fat public sector salary and then just shut up. Junko chooses still not to grasp the anti-democratic process of EU law, i.e. policy choices emanating from Brussels, foisted by treaty onto national governments, who must implement such choices without democratic accountability and sufficient scrutiny in the local law-making process.
Yet, Junko does deserve some sympathy. Yes, I can’t quite believe I’ve just typed that, but I did. Junko said (my emphasis):
“Here in Brussels, we did everything to accommodate David Cameron's concerns. My collaborators and I personally spent countless days and nights negotiating an agreement that was fair toward the United Kingdom and toward the other 27 Member States. I was then very surprised to see that this settlement played no role whatsoever in the campaign in the United Kingdom.”
(One sentence to underline the whole stupidity of the Project Fear campaign!)
So, on the face of it, Nougayrède fears are coming true. The European elite are behaving as if short-term damage limitation is the answer to an existential crisis, at the same time wilfully not recognising that choosing to ignore the demos elsewhere shall perpetuate the existential crisis.
Schulzo sums up the arrogance of the European elite: “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party” (source). Schulzo should have enough brains to realise that it was UK Labour voters who voted to leave (just look at the BBC’s referendum result map!). Schulzo’s opinion therefore amounts to dismissing the foundations of the UK referendum: quite an anti-democratic thing for a democratically-elected man to suggest, no?
But Nougayrède - and, indeed, the rest of us - might have a glimmer of hope in the shape of Merko, who called for no “quick and simple conclusions” whose impact would be to deepen divisions (and create new divisions). The German foreign minister also urged caution.
Schäube’s economic plan for Brexit was apparently leaked to the Handelsblatt. The plan suggests that Germany would torture a Brexited Britain with difficult negotiations for two years, to ensure no automatic access to the Single Market, resulting in an associative status. Schäube’s main fear - and those of Austria, Netherlands, Hungary, Finland and France - is a UKGov that seeks to cherry-pick its access to the single market (as if somehow the single market isn’t already stacked with protectionist measures). A secondary fear is how to extract cash from UKGov to subsidise the cost of the European Union and somehow warp the liability of the Eurozone such that UKGov can be compelled to pay into that little scam too. Britain’s subsidy of Europe was the major reason why France finally said “yes” in the 1970s.
As for the American opinion, well, there’s no such single thing. Obama re-iterated that, for trade deals, a Brexited UK “goes to the back of the queue”. But to one journo in the Atlantic, Brexit was all about immigration, for which the blame falls squarely on Merko and her choice to open the bordered to uncontrolled immigration (although he cites immigration’s impact on house prices, but chooses not to connect Merko’s choice with British house prices). Americans are rightfully concerned with their own affairs, most notably a presidential choice between Hilaro v Trumpo.