The news from the European leaders who make up the core of the EU that they are not prepared to take part in informal discussions over our decision to leave the Union is of significant concern to a small number of people. It has continued to emerge in the last few hours to confirm a growing impatience with the UK amongst people who have been treated like a verbal punching bag over years by people such as Nigel Farage and his colleagues in UKIP, and more recently by a wider group of Brexiteers. These people are as aware as we are that that campaigners like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove promised that our departure would be swift and certain. It is now becoming clear that their lack of belief in their own position means they have not prepared for this return of our own sovereignty and are still trying to come up with a solution that will secure a departure that gives us the best International outcome and also the best National outcome as far as our United Kingdom is concerned. Whilst Plaid Cymru may be mostly making mischief with their calls for Welsh Independence, the news that the SNP has called for another referendum, and that the DUP of all parties is advising people in Northern Ireland to apply for Irish citizenship shows that the UK is in a bigger mess than we appeared to be in, during Summer 2014.
There is an interesting piece of analysis in the Indy 100 today that suggests that Camerons resignation and handing the poisoned challice to his succesor is his own way of getting back at people who prior to the referendum campaign did not make their true plans clear. Boris Johnson who did a U turn in March is clearly the target here. However Cameron is as guilty as his colleagues for failing to plan for the outcome we are now facing. If the European leaders are not prepared for informal discussions, we need to get on with enacting article 50 as soon as we can. As I plan to write tomorrow there is at least one fly in that particular ointment. However assuming we can enact it, every day that goes by risks frustrating our International colleagues and those who voted for Brexit. Clearly we need to take the Scots, Irish and the Welsh into the discussions and preparation. This is particularly important with the Irish and the Scots as whatever the outcome of the 2 year negotiations needs to be a close to acceptable as to them and indeed the 49% of the UK as a whole who did not want to leave the EU.
This morning on Radio 4, the Labour MEP Richard Corbett described two potential scenarios for our nation, both of which were outlined by the Brexit campaigners during the last 12 weeks, but which were potentially in conflict with one another. The interview with Sarah Montague explored a middle option. The fact is that whatever the difficulties in providing a way forward, the time to do that is now. Some politicians are arguing for a new referendum to help us, the British people to choose the best solution. There are all sorts of problems with referenda on matters of such significance, but unless the majority of people are clear why they are being asked the same question for a second time, the outcome may be more unexpected than would otherwise be the case. If the leave campaign had clearly articulated what the outcome of a Leave vote would have meant, there would have been no need for the second referendum. By the same token if a more complex set of options had been presented the referendum could have addressed this question on Thursday. Hindsight may seem an unfair element to introduce, but Political strategy is the art of anticipating hindsight. On the other hand the decision about the model needs to be taken in a manner that is not decided through the choice of the next Conservative Party leader.
We need to restore leadership to our nation, in both the Cabinet and the shadow Cabinet just as we need a new England Manager for the football team. I cannot imagine how a leader of the Government could be someone who made false promises to the British people, or who has been offensive to our European allies. They need to be someone who helps to address issues such as how our economy can manage the adjustment and stability that it needs. There are tactical issues such as how HS2 and other much smaller projects can be achieved without European money. We also need leaders who will speak out about what the referendum means for those of us who are British as well as those who live in the UK as welcome residents. These words need to ensure that all racism is outed as being a non-British and non-English value and finally how those like me and many in Scotland and Northern Ireland who voted to remain in the EU can retain our links with our European friends and business contacts in a way that was not possible in the same way in the early 1970’s.