Five days on….a growing mess

It is hard to know where to start. So much has been said and written after the #Brexit vote on Thursday.

Britain is floundering. There is no leadership. The Conservative Party is in stasis waiting for a new leader and PM. The Labour party is imploding; as it should after a non-existant effort to support the party position on remaining in the EU.

The referendum has brought out the worst in racist/offensive abuse in much of the country – it was always there – but somehow people feel empowered by the vote.

Typical observations are these: “We’re a dustbin – a dustbin for foreign people” or “the english people in this country are suffering because of the open-door policy.”

Random acts of abuse are being reported regularly; this is not how Britain is supposed to be.

There is no Leaderhip. Cameron has announced his resignation. Yet he plans to stay on as PM until October. He is a lame duck.

But who can replace him. Logically the governing party needs to be led by someone from the leave the EU camp.

But Leave has gone missing. Johnson went to play cricket at the weekend. No one listens to Gove; though his wife wonderfully suggested that the Leave group would use lots of experts – the very people that Gove said we neither needed or should pay attention to!

But the majority of the Tory party did not want Brexit. And the majority are unlikely to support Boris Johnson as party leader and Prime Minister.

This leaves the very real possibility of a Tory PM that does not support Brexit.

The Sunday Times said the home secretary Theresa May was expected to enter the leadership contest in the coming days – as the anyone but Boris candidate.

May supported the “Remain” campaign but took a much, much lower profile than Cameron and Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne.

The Labour party is imploding – but at least my old school chum, Barry Gardiner, has at long last got a shadow cabinet seat!


The Leave campaign promises are already being reneged upon.

We are not going to see a fall in immigration levels – Conservative MEP Dan Hannan has already said that people expecting immigration to come down will be “disappointed”.

We are not going to have an extra £100 million a week for the NHS – Nigel Farage has already told reporters that the Leave campaign should not have claimed that.

We are not going to be able to stay in the single market – unless we allow free movement of Labour. And we are not going to be able to take advantage of the free-trade zone without contributing a single penny to it. Sort of obvious!


We are not going to save £350m a week. The Leave claim that the UK gives £350m a week to the EU has been thoroughly debunked. But it was still emblazoned on their battle bus right up until the end. We might cancel the salaries of the English football team and re-use those in some beneficial way!

We are unlikely to remain a world leader in research and development

UK investment in science and universities has dried up since the recession, whereas the EU gave us £7bn in science funding alone between 2007 – 2013.

We’re also going to face new barriers to collaboration with European universities and research centres.

7. We aren’t going to save £2bn on energy bills. We import much of our energy needs. Because the pound has fallen, inflation will go up, which means imports and thus our domestic energy bills will cost more.

And that is just the beginning. What was supposed to be a constructive national conversation about our membership of a free-trade area morphed into a bitter national feud about immigration, its benefits and costs.

Three million EU citizens who have made their homes here have, overnight, had their futures thrown into doubt.

It is not much of a reassurance to be told that nothing changes for now. Once Article 50 is invoked their futures/their families become part of a bartering process that they have no control over.

Meanwhile the 1.3 million Britons who live in the EU face similarly uncertain times. Ethnic tensions, new and old, appear to be increasing. The rise of Nationalism; the inexorable return of the right. In fairness it is not just a British issue.

Now, in fairness, it is not all doom and gloom. The country will go on; it will still trade. But anyone who thought that the country could prosper after Leave has not factored in the next two years of uncertainty and the lack of political talent that can create a framework for success. The markets, together with foreign investors, hate uncertainty.


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