Brexit: What happens next?

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‘MAY you live in interesting times’ goes the old apocryphal Chinese curse and interesting times do indeed lie ahead for Britain and the European Union who will now part ways after a stormy marriage spanning more than four decades. 

After 52 per cent of eligible British voters chose to leave, thwarting the optimism of last minute polling favouring the Remainers, facts on the ground have already changed dramatically.

The prime minister David Cameron has announced his resignation, opening the way to a leadership contest for the Conservative command, with Boris Johnson as a firm favourite, and even raising the possibility of a fresh general election.

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Within hours of the result £128 billion had been wiped off the FTSE 100 as the pound tumbled to a 31-year-low and looked set to witness its biggest one-day-loss in history, expected to be sure, but hardly an encouraging omen for a nation preparing to set sail from its largest trading partner. 

Both camps had admitted ignorance as to how events might unfold should the country vote to leave, with the rivals factions using the spectre of the ‘unknown’ to press their cases to the electorate. 

Now that our voyage into the void is confirmed, speculation stands on stronger ground and we can begin composing an image of how events might unfold. 

Although the voters have spoken, the process of leaving will be tortuous and convoluted. Nothing will officially manifest until the UK government triggers Article 50 which sets in motion a two-year notice period for a member state to leave the union. 

Constitutionally speaking Article 50 can only be invoked by the prime minister, not parliament, although MP’s can pass a motion instructing the prime minister not to trigger the article. With Cameron resigning that responsibility now lies in the hands of his successor, while the prime minister can technically not leave his post without advising the Queen of whom that might be. 

Jeremy Corbyn will likely launch a confidence vote in a bid to spark fresh elections but is highly unlikely to succeed in a Tory dominated parliament, filled with MP’s desperate for some measure of stability and clearly at odds with public opinion. 

As the wheels slowly turn on Britain’s protracted exit from the union, British politics is where we will likely see the most action. The vast majority of politicians supported the status quo and are now proven to be out of lockstep with increasingly angry constituents, many of whom voted Brexit simply to spite Cameron and the ruling elites. 

Britain must now answer serious questions on democratic accountability and, unless a controversial Brexit faction takes over at the helm of government, we can expect voices from the Mail and UKIP to demand that parliament itself stands down. 

Should the Brexiteers successfully execute their coup, battle plans will likely be drawn up in Scotland where the nationalists have made clear that the result justifies a second independence referendum, especially given overwhelming Scottish support for the Remain camp. 

With two years to orchestrate a deal before Britain automatically reverts to the World Trade Organisation regime, whereby all goods sold to the EU will incur tariffs, the negotiations are likely to be both bitter and delicate. 

Any deal will require the backing of 20 of the 27 member states, all of whom will be considering incredibly varied calculations as to what is in their best interests. 

While the UK is doubtlessly an essential trading partner member states would be loathe to needlessly antagonise, they must also have one eye of their own restless electorates and the possibility that another chink in their collective armour might prove fatal.

It may well be in the states’ best interest to punish Britain as a warning to other prospective exiteeers, a threat roundly dismissed by the Leave campaign who seek solace in a thinly spread commonwealth and across the Atlantic.

Alternatively, given that two years is a long time in politics (only two years ago we were discussing the Scottish referendum), it is entirely plausible that the continent’s political landscape will shift in Brexit’s favour. 

Marine Le Pen, the French nationalist who is making serious strides in local elections, has welcomed the result and demanded a referendum in her own country, which remains gripped by tensions over immigration and a growing chasm between European elites and the common people. 

Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Holland and Denmark are also witnessing strengthening calls for similar referendums, lending credence to the idea that Brexit may well be the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

While all the wrangling goes on behind closed doors the key question for British workers, pensioners and expats is whether the country will remain in the single market. 

This would represent the so-called ‘Norway model’ advocated by many euro-sceptics who view the Nordic country’s financial success outside of the union as an example worth following. Such a development would see Britain enjoy tariff-free access to the lucrative internal market but not have any say over the rules and regulations that make it up. 

Norway does, however, have to implement around three quarters of EU legislation under this system while having negligible power or control over it. The country also has less control over immigration than the UK does at present. 

Whether Britain remains in the market is impossible to tell at these early stages and will depend largely on the outcome of the negotiations which will have to consider everything from pensions to health care, free movement, rebates and highly complex payment issues. 

The only precedent for leaving the EU was set by a semi-autonomous Greenland in 1985 due to a dispute over fishing rights when it had a population half the size of Dartford. 

62 COMMENTS

  1. Claims might have been exaggerated but I might add “this was the case on both sides” and is the case in every election we have… or didn’t you realise that!

    You have no idea as to what is going to happen on any extra or less expenditure just as you have no idea on if we get access to or not in any single market, you just listed to what you read and hear in the news and then build a rather large fire with that smoke!

    You try to tell people you know what is happening and yet we haven’t even got a prime minister in place yet with the committee who will decide what is happening exactly!

    You are just another bad looser trying to create problems for the people of your country through negative speculation, my advise is to calm down and sit back to see what exactly is happening… thak goodness you are not a medic who has to operate on someone and keep his cool when something goes the way you do not want or expect it!

  2. Brian, you have another 16M people to make comments and those might think long the lines of you but there are 17M who thought otherwise, its called democracy!

    Its funny how everyone wants democracy… until the vote doesn’t go as they wanted 😉

  3. All the above you quoted me on saying is try, but then you need to read the stuff you are writing Brian!

    I might add it is you that started the abuse or took it on from posts where others started it, on two main disagreements we have had “both related to Brexit” you have ended up by threatening me by your size and that you would like to punch me in the face while on another trying to scare me by stating something along the lines of “there are people out there that are reading my comments that I have made and that I and you are spreading that word, be careful, be very careful” (From memory but the threat was obviously there).

    I am sure you feel you are an outstanding example for your fellow Scots Brian! I always have felt that those who resort to fear and threatening behaviour are those who are getting desperate on loosing the argument! Readers can take what they want from them but that is what my experience has taught me.

    I am done with you on this on, I hope the other readers see your desperation that shows through your posts.

  4. As always Mike you have completely misunderstood my point. Go and read it again – properly this time.

    Have you noticed the map circulating on Facebook showing the “striking similarity” between the Brexit vote locations in 2016 and the Mad Cow Disease outbreak areas in 1992? It’s definitely  Photoshopped ‘cos they’re identical, but it’s very funny!

    Latest news, Boris Johnson has announced he will NOT call a general election if he is elected as Tory leader and Prime minister. In other words he does not have the courage to face the electorate until 2020! – the scheduled date for the next one.

    This mistake was made by Jim Callaghan when he replaced Harold Wilson and it led directly to the infamous “Winter of Discontent” and the election of Margaret Thatcher. Gordon Brown made the same mistake when he succeeded Tony Blair and was ejected by the electorate as soon as they (eventually) got the chance.

    Beware the Boris. He is flying in the face of democracy. History teaches us he will pay the price just like the other two. It is small comfort that his opponent, the Labour leader in 2020, will not be Jeremy Corbyn following today’s overwhelming vote of no confidence, but who will it be? A Dalek? Might be an improvement…

    Isn’t this fun?

  5. I said I was done on this but can’t let this go!

    Whoever takes the position of PM “hopefully not Boris”, the right move would be to NOT have a general election, do you think that would be the right thing for them to do that? We have just voted to leave the EU, negotiations need to start and the sooner the better, not good to have a general election in the next several months? The situations of the country and politics with Callaghan and Brown have no similarity on current situations. Its not a good for either Labour or Tories, they have both got too much too loose right now and over the next few months will also. Even the fact Labour are in meltdown the Tories might be close to that also and both need to get themselves sorted out, no winners “except maybe UKIP 😉 ” if an election was called in the near future!

    I really am done with this Brian, people will just have to wait and see how things unfold although if artical 50 is ever invoked I really do think “most” people in the UK will be better off in the long run, we all know it won’t be smooth and there will be bumps “some bigger than others” but I really do believe the UK “yes, including Scotland 🙂 ” will be better off, we should except the result and stick together as a United Kingdom. Only time will tell, nothing will become clear in the first several months to come so I think we all need to settle down, keep calm and hopefully the UK can go forward positively.

  6. Stuart, read what I said again as it might help you understand that I was clearly referring to the overall economic benefits and not the size of the population being a restriction, I suggest you looked at the voting stats and the 4M figure and went off on one! Scotland’s population is far better off with the UK out of the EU than it would ever be if it joined the EU! As I previously explained Scotland would have a transition period, very possibly have to join the Euro and then after all that… would it actually be any better off… why would anyone in their right minds put Scotland through leaving the UK and then join the EU as a separate entity now? Oh I just had a vision of Sturgeon standing there singing: Its all about Nicola, Nicola, Nicola and not the Scottish people!
    Stuart, I must read the Daily Mail less than you as I don’t know what it says about Scotland! Lol, and you tell me to engage my brain!

  7. Further help Mike. The keyword in my advice to you earlier is “IMAGINE”. I asked you to IMAGINE being with a six foot four boxer built like a tank next time you feel like hurling abuse. That means he is not me – he is imaginary! If all online abusers of old men or young girls or whoever were to pause for a moment and IMAGINE they were facing instead a big man with an iron fist in the real world it might help to stop them from being so abusive. Now do you understand me? Then the world might be a better place than it actually is.

    Honestly, Your ability to read something and completely grasp the wrong end of the stick is breathtaking! It makes me wonder what you see when you read anything at all. For example, when you are gathering information for some of your many pronouncements just how accurate are you? Just how often do you grab the wrong end of the stick? Incidentally, you made exactly the same mistake many moons ago when I gave you that similar piece of advice that you have been trying to remember. I was not abusing you back then and I am not abusing you now. So even your perception of being abused yourself is imaginary!

    Your perception of me could not be further from the truth, so next time you think you are being offended by anyone Mike, read it again before you do anything. Then your posts might make more sense.

  8. All this “nagging” guys it’s getting nowhere, the vote is the vote and it can’t and won’t be changed.

    Look whether we like it or not (and as you know l am a don’t like Brexit) our democratic UK has decided to pull out of the EU so what we surely now need to do is get behind that “democratic decision” and try to work together to make it as successful as possible for the UK, its future and the future of our grandchildren.

    I have spent almost thirty years here in Spain trying, in a small way, to move Spain towards the type of democracy the UK has, here in Spain we have one day every four years of democracy and then the politicians and their terrible administration do, taking from us what they like, if you don’t agree, and even if they break their own laws, well “tough” they embargo your bank accounts or properties and take it anyway, leaving US to have to go to the Courts to get our money or property back, as the PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón said the other day, the referendum the UK has given its population, the Spanish Government would never give its people.

    We need to be thankful guys the UK is not like Spain, and let’s PLEASE now unite and get behind a new leave government in trying to make this vote work for the UK.

  9. Hi Toni. I am very much in agreement with you and very grateful for your excellent input. It’s funny though that Mike just keeps banging on as if he’s still campaigning for Brexit even though he’s already won!

    Yes it would be a disaster for us all if Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom. We would all be impoverished. Mike seems to think because I’m Scottish I must be a Scot Nat, but he’s as wrong about that as he is about most things. When I write anything at all I write it from an open point of view just reflecting things as I see them. As such, it looks like you and I are on exactly the same wavelength, would you agree?

    The thing he and other Brexit supporters need to recognise though is virtually two thirds of Scots voted to Remain in the EU. If any MP ever managed to get elected by two thirds of their voters they would be over the moon! It’s a huge majority. The England and Wales Brexit on the other hand had much smaller support. Therein lies the crux of the matter. Scotland is not just a region. It is a proud country with its own legal system, its own currency the Scottish Pound and many other factors that make it distinctly different from England. However if it quits the UK in the same messy way that the UK is quitting the EU then we will all be even poorer than we are already, either here in Spain or within what used to be the United Kingdom. The latest polls in Scotland show 60% support for independence btw. That’s why wee Nicola will get IndyRef 2.

  10. Hi Stuart. Just to say thanks very much for your excellent contributions. Don’t let Mike get to you though. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with a wonderful Latin phrase I learned at school more than half a century ago – but in the playground, not the classroom! “Nil illegitimi carborundum.” We’ll just leave Mike to work out what it means, eh? He’s sure to get it wrong 😉

  11. Wednesday 29 June. Fallout from wee Nicola’s visit to Brussels.

    Rajoy’s negative attitude on behalf of Spain towards Scotland’s aspiration to remain within the EU is no surprise. It has more to do with the pressure he is under to defend Spain against Catalan independence than anything else. The prolonged standing ovation in the European Parliament yesterday for the Scottish MEP Alyn Smith’s passionate speech is more indicative of the general sympathy in Europe for Scotland’s plight. (Shame on the English BBC News for editing it out btw. BBC Scotland showed it.)

    So as a lonely minority PM Rajoy in his typically aggressive and dismissive manner mouths off,  “Scotland does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union!” most others are much more in favour. Wee Nicola has also had what is officially described as a “sympathetic response” from Jean-Claude Juncker , the President of the European Commission.

    Now top US bank, JP Morgan, has issued a statement that it expects Scotland to vote for independence and introduce its own currency before Britain leaves the European Union in 2019. Interesting forecast from a US financial institution.

    So the break-up of the United Kingdom gathers momentum.

    All because of Brexit.

  12. Mike, you say you are really done with this but there is no sign of that in your other posts so here is my next reply to you.

    You say, “The right move would be to NOT have a general election” immediately after the next Tory leader, and therefore Prime Minister is named.

    Why?

    What legitimacy with the electorate of the UK would he or she have?

    Let’s say it’s Boris. He is the bookies’ favourite after all. What experience of government and international affairs does he have? Former Mayor of London – that’s all. So he goes on to rule the entire UK (including restless Scotland and NI) with no mandate from the people and  only a vote by his fellow Tory MPs or Tory party members making him our next Prime Minister. Not good enough!

    Funny thing is though, with Labour in such extreme disarray he would probably romp home! The real reason he is unlikely to hold an election is NOBODY in Scotland would vote for him! I mean it. The outrage in Scotland would ensure the single Scottish Tory MP would disappear. The single Labour and Lib Dem ones (remember them?) would also disappear given the current situation. The pressure for Scotland to quit the UK would become unstoppable with 100% SNP MPs and two thirds of the people wanting to stay in the EU.

    This is deadly serious stuff Mike. Make no mistake about that. Scotland’s involvement in this post-Brexit mess has never been more important.

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