Captain of the UK ship of State, Dave ‘Mine’s a Pint’ Cameron nailed his colours to the mast and finally had the worm-eaten hulk torpedoed from under him. And what did it? His own insufferable Tory hubris and his barrow-boy addiction to gambling. Thanks to Cameron, the end of Europe as we know it has become likely. The voters in Britain just pulled out the props and the sky fell in.
Well, that was what it felt like this morning as I turned on my pc and suddenly realised that the UK had altered the course of history. The sky has not actually fallen in, of course, but apparently it is dark with the bodies of money-men throwing themselves off tall buildings in the City of London. They will soon be joined, I should not wonder, by the corpses of Tory grandees caught on the wrong side as the traditional ‘Night of the Long Knives’ is enacted.
We have just seen the biggest single political event since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Not just in European, but world terms. The echoes of the cataclysm are booming through the corridors of power from Washington to Moscow. Vlad ‘The Slayer’ Putin must have chuckled in his morning bath of chamomile leaves as his aides brought him the good news.
Cameron has resigned already.
Having narrowly escaped being the PM who oversaw the end of the UK, Mine’s a Pint Cameron looks likely to be the one who oversaw the beginning of the end of both the EU and the UK. Capital effort, old boy. Spiffing.
Certes, rarely has luck conspired against a politician to the extent that it has Cameron, but we are reminded of the old saw: ‘those who live by the sword, die by the sword.’
Cameron chanced his arm on Scotland and only just got away with it. He gambled again, that he could offer a meaningless promise of a referendum on Brexit when it looked like he would have to share power with the Liberal slimy-say-anything party.
That whole disgrace to politics has not enough spine between its entire membership to complete one functioning vertebral column. Nevertheless, Cameron knew it could be relied on, after a couple of quiet phone-calls promising ministerial posts to incompetent Liberal dishrags, to kybosh the idea of a referendum. Oh dear no, against our ‘principles’, that is. Home Office, Dave, I think we just earned that.
But Cameron’s own party, the Conservatives, actually won the 2015 General Election outright and guess what? Its voters remembered that little thing about the referendum.
Which, by the way, is what being ‘hoist by one’s own petard’ means, children.
So now, because of his big floppy opportunistic mouth, Dave ‘Mine’s a Pint’ Cameron becomes a laughing-stock of an ex-Prime Minister, while some very ugly people whoop and cheer his long-deserved defenestration.
So what happens now?
Nobody knows. This is the quintessential leap in the dark. Nobody actually thought it would happen; even I believed it would be a narrow ‘Remain’ victory. I don’t think anyone was prepared either for the decision or the strength of it.
In fact the decision is not legally binding and will have to be ratified by Parliament. Then the procedure for leaving the EU — called, bureaucratically enough, an Article 50 process — will have to be put in motion by the UK Government. But woe betide a Parliament that tried to overturn such a clear indication of popular will.
Then, the EU is not monolithic and consists of a spider’s-web of treaties. While the 1972 Treaty of Accession — which subordinates the UK’s sovereignty to the EEC and its successors and formalises membership — will be repealed early on, there are literally hundreds of thousands of words in myriad subsequent treaties and accords that will have to be gone through line by line.
Wildly optimistic estimates suggest that it will take two years to complete the exit process; more sober ones five; those familiar with the EU might suggest, ‘try ten.’
For the immediate future then, nothing will happen; it’s business as usual, quite literally. But major changes are a-coming and people need to prepare themselves.
However, this is not the end to the shenanigans. The UK is not the only member state of the EU that is fed up with its relentless centralisation and the way Germany in particular has used its apparatus to silence all opposition. There may well be calls in other EU states for referendums. The EU itself looks distinctly queasy this morning.
The Euro, that painted sepulchre of its hubris, is now on far shakier ground than it was yesterday, which is probably why the pound, at time of writing, was holding against it — and both were plummeting against the US dollar.
We should be prepared for a spate of calls by pro-EU stooges in the UK and also from other nations — and yes, I do mean the Germans — for a re-run of the referendum. After all, the standard EU method of dealing with referendum results it doesn’t like is to coerce the relevant nation into holding another one, while large numbers of snarling goons, er, ‘senior politicians’, promise every calamity from simooms to plagues of locusts, should the voters make the same mistake again.*
And at home?
Domestically, things have got very confused. England voted overwhelmingly for Brexit but Scotland, by an even bigger majority, to Remain. The Scottish Government, which is nationalist and seeks a new referendum on Scotland’s membership of the UK, has already stated that it is bringing forward plans for just that.
In 2014, the Scots voted, by a fair margin, to stay in the UK; but they voted last night by an even larger one to stay in Europe. This difference between the two primary partners in the UK may well cause their divorce. We do have to say that none of the potential candidates for Mine’s a Pint’s job look even remotely like they could persuade the Scots to stay, in a future Scottish independence referendum. Meanwhile the pox-raddled old hoors of the Labour Party that played Unionist poodle last time are laughing-stocks, after every promise they made turned out to be as empty as Balliol’s cloak.
The Damoclean Sword of Independence has two edges and it cuts both ways. Last night it may have been unhitched from the rafters to plunge relentlessly down at the British State, while slicing a chunk off the EU on the way.
What interesting times we do live in to be sure.
*And wouldn’t you just know it. Tonight we see an on-line ‘petition’ calling for a referendum rerun. You couldn’t make this shit up, you really couldn’t.
Also published on Medium.