The outcome of next Thursdays referendum will have a profound impact on our society. If as some wish, we leave the EU the first impact will be on our own Government. They have set their policy as remaining and if the British people reject this policy, then the honourable thing to do would be for David Cameron to go to the country. Whilst that is unlikely knowing how keen MPs are to remain in power, the changes within the Conservative Party will mean we have in effect a new Conservative Government. The process of recreating a series of International treaties will mean that the remainder of this Parliament and the next Parliament will be exclusively focused on International deals and trade agreements. There is a real risk that the impact on our economy will be damaging and so the need to extend austerity and focus on assisting companies to create new jobs will also demand the time and energy of the Government.
If on the other hand we vote to remain, as I hope, there will also be a need for change. The members of the Conservative Party who have made leave their campaign of choice will be put in a difficult position and the Prime Minister will need to reshape his Cabinet in a way that ensures that many of these faces return to the backbenches which will create problems for him in new ways. A policy of meaningful reform will also be needed. Many people concluded that the Prime Minister failed to achieve meaningful reform in his attempts before the referendum. It will be essential to respond to the large numbers of people who will have voted to Leave to improve on this. Some of the reforms will take time and involve the minutiae of the processes within the EU. To enable us to better see these changes and better understand them we do need a greater level of understanding of the EU. Increasing the transparency of the EU is something that our Government can bring about in a unilateral way if needed. Cameron and his successors simply need to be more open about their work in the Council of Ministers, even if this is not what other leaders do or expect. There are other areas of change which are entirely in the gift of our main Political Parties. Demanding that all MEPs are supportive of reform rather than leave is one such change. Another is to ensure that all future British Commissioners are men or women who have been elected by our nation. One way of achieving this would be to appoint the next Commissioner from amongst our MEPs, knowing that the list system will ensure that the next person on the list would be available to take their place. What will not be acceptable will be for us to carry on as if nothing has been said of done. The list of reforms should be announced within days of the referendum, assuming that the outcome is for remain. Indeed an announcement now might help us to know what is on offer if we do stay!