Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Backtrack

Brexit is history. Brankruptcy is the future. Perhaps. Unless there is something that can stop this slippery ride into Euro exile. Perhaps there is yet time for a Bracktrack. As time has passed, I’m beginning to wonder if  our exit from the EU will actually happen. I’m sensing doubt in the Leave hierarchy. A lot of people are.
There’s currently an online petition doing the rounds calling for a second referendum. I think it’d be successful, but there will be no new referendum so soon after the first based only on an online petition. A more likely route to Referendum II is through a snap general election later this year, with the winning party swept to victory on a platform to rerun the referendum. I feel it is less likely that their manifesto will promise to annul the original result outright without a second vote. Such a promise would lack any real legitimacy unless they took more than 50% of the vote, which is highly unlikely.

The most likely route to a second referendum comes, in my opinion, from the Leavers themselves. Cameron has done the dirty on Boris. He’s refused to invoke Article 50 himself. Worse, he’s not going to let anyone else touch that hot potato for three months. That button to invoke Article 50 might be labelled ‘Independence’ right now. I suspect in three months time it will be flashing red and be labelled ‘Self Destruct’. That would put Boris, assuming he is PM by then, in a bit of a sticky position.

Does he have a way to wriggle himself out of this awkward hole that he’s dug himself. I do believe that he has. And, to his credit, he put the safety rope down the hole himself, just before he jumped. Prior to the start of the campaign proper, Boris proposed that a Leave vote would empower the UK with the ability to go to Brussels and get the deal that they actually wanted, before holding a second referendum. It’s the nuclear bomb of diplomacy.  Take the UK and the EU to the brink of collapse, lay down demands, look them in the eyes and dare them to say no. The Irish did this with the Lisbon Treaty. And it worked. With much higher stakes this time round, would the EU blink again?

It also gives the EU the opportunity to focus on a few much needed reforms. The level of democracy and openess within the bloc needs to be improved. And the unfettered freedom of movement of people is clearly a big issue for most EU states. I just hope that a deal can be reached before we’ve entirely burned our bridges.