TWO surprises in one week, both of which could have lasting effects on expatriate residents in Spain.
First of all came the vote to leave the European Union which apparently came as something of a surprise to a lot of people, especially those who now say that it was a protest vote and they didn’t actually expect it to have any meaning!
It now seems that two of the three most voluble Conservative members of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson and Michael Gove weren’t really expecting to succeed, which perhaps explains the fact that they have both kept a very low profile after the announcement and one of their supporters mentioned on Sky News that they didn’t actually have a plan for withdrawal in place but they assumed that the British government would.
Nigel Farage committed the gaff of the year, possibly the century, when in his excitement he blurted out “we will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired,” not realising how upset so many people would feel following the shooting of Jo Cox just a week earlier.
Having used him to promote the Leave case, he has now been told that he won’t be invited to participate in a cross-party committee which will negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union, which as an MEP has irritated him, although there are still a number of decisions to be made before anybody is appointed to that committee.
So certain was at least one person that Britain would remain, that a pro-leaver William Healey set up a petition in May which asks for the EU referendum to be re-run if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 per cent, based on a turnout of less than 75 per cent.
He is, naturally, uncomfortable that it has been hijacked by disgruntled Remain supporters and has already received over 3.5 million signatures although David Cameron has indicated a second referendum is unlikely.
Spain took a turn for the better or worse depending upon your view, by voting in a manner which still didn’t see any party with a majority and any coalition, right or left, would have to negotiate with some of the minor parties, such as those who represent the Canary Islands and the Basque country, to obtain a majority.