Our new, un-elected Prime Minister has made a whistle stop tour of her territories Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Well, no Prime Minister, un-elected or not, wants the UK to break up on his or her watch. Mind you, if it does happen anytime soon history will pile it on to the Cameron legacy with some justification.
One wonders if there was actually a Tory party conspiracy to bring this about. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist myself, but the Remain campaign led by Cameron and Osborne was lacklustre at best; and remember these guys turned on their coalition partners and destroyed the common sense middle ground Liberals in their heartland, as well as destroying Labour in Scotland and giving us effectively a one party state for the forseeable future. What care they if the SNP have even a hundred percent of the Scottish vote?
How then did they get the Remain campaign so wrong? Why is the official Remain campaign now preaching love and acceptance, when the Brexiteers continued campaigning for their isolationist view since 1975? Why were groups such as legitimate UK tax payers, who happen to have come legally from France, Italy, Germany etc to build a life here excluded, when they have a vote in normal elections? And, if it's about being British, why then were Brits who've retired abroad and who've paid a lifetimes tax and National Insurance, and who's pensions come from the UK also excluded?
Given that the result gives the Tories a carte blanche and hugely enhanced powers one might just think a conspiracy was behind it all, despite Cameron's tearful demeanour and Johnson looking kipper slapped the morning after. However, back to the fallout, this is a piece about the fallout.
Firstly Wales. The Welsh voted leave but don't want to lose a penny. Poor dears, they are already subsidised by the Barnett Formula, but of course the EU poured money into Wales too. Why they were daft enough to vote leave is beyond me, but people do daft things. They were also daft enough to elect Neil Hamilton back into office, he of brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash and corruption fame.
Maybe they believed the three hundred and fifty million pounds a week lie, although one hears Brexit voters denying they believed the lies quite frequently now. They had their own secret but highly intelligent reasons you know.
Be that as it may there will be so many claims on the part of that three hundred and fifty million pounds which didn't come back to us anyway, that it simply won't stretch. Something has to give and I for one would rather see Wales suffer than medical research or universities. Especially since Wales also voted leave, which, believe you me damaged the economy by far more than anything we might save. If Wales wants to go it alone good luck to them, but Scotland has a far stronger case.
Scotland voted Remain and whilst Nicola Sturgeon and her cohorts are quite entitled to try and explore ways to stay in both Europe and the UK surely no one really thinks that can work? Scotland now has a moral right to leave the UK. I feel I'm being stripped of my European citizenship and rights, but at least I'm being abused by my own countrymen.
Scotland should not be dragged kicking and screaming out of Europe. I don't think May will allow them another referendum, but I'd love to see the SNP call her bluff and do it anyway, binding or not. After all we recognised Kosovo. Do all those Brexiteers bleating about democracy suffer from unlimited hypocrisy, or will they accept the will of the Scottish people? Of course Scotland's share of Gordon Brown's debt is the biggest obstacle so I don't think it will happen, but the devil in me now hopes it does. That leads us on to the question of borders which in turn takes us neatly to Northern Ireland.
Dominic Raab, I shudder when I type that name, assured us on television some weeks back that Northern Ireland wouldn't be a problem. I cannot imagine who he thinks he speaks for. The border has to be a problem.
The EU is wed to free movement and the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland are wed to an open border. Brexiteers want immigration control. It doesn't all fit somehow, even if May has changed her mind now and says it does.
If I were an airline entrepreneur I'd be opening low cost flights from Poland to Dublin right now. Is May to put checks on the Irish border and risk a return to terrorism, or will she put checks on people coming into the mainland from Northern Ireland? The so called loyalists would love that. Given that the Northern Irish voted Remain a united Ireland looks like the most workable option, but however it falls out there will be trouble and possibly deaths.
I used to believe in referenda, but no more. People vote based on emotion not facts, I wonder if they even bother to try and research the facts, they get wound up and the country becomes divided, it will remain divided for a long time; it may tear itself apart and people may be killed, the stupidity and damage are mind boggling. I lost a friend, murdered in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, if Brexit brings about a new armed struggle there I despair of the so called United Kingdom.
I haven't blogged for a while, because I've been in Europe; France, Germany and Belgium mostly where I get the opinion people think we're stupid, or have cut off our noses to spite our faces, or are just plain sad about things, but think we'll suffer the most. I agree with all of them.
They are also somewhat amazed at May's judgement, if that's the word, in appointing the glove puppet as Foreign Secretary. I think she did it to reassure people in her own rabid party that she's committed to Brexit, nonetheless it won't build bridges, even if, with more front than Brighton, the Johnson does claim we'll still be leaders in Europe. Still puppets are generally there for comedy purposes.
A couple of anecdotes: The night before I boarded the Eurostar was spent in a London Hotel. Some construction workers checked out and the hotel owner was surprised. The construction workers were returning to Lincolnshire. Their jobs were 'on hold' because of Brexit. 'How did you vote?' the hotel owner asked, 'for Brexit' they replied, somewhat sheepishly. 'Why?' she asked, 'oh things are pretty bad back in Lincolnshire' they answered.
So now they are returning to their families with no jobs and no money to spend in the Lincolnshire economy, maybe some without savings will be able to claim benefits and that will help? What I wonder was so bad in Lincolnshire? Maybe they want foreign fruit pickers sent home so the farmers can suffer too? It's collective madness.
I'd seen a couple of old ladies on television saying they voted for Brexit 'because we remember the good old days'. Recently I met an old lady from Cornwall who trotted out the exact same line, so lets examine it. Were the good old days actually good? I was born when there was still post war rationing. I can remember the winter of discontent, I can remember the miner's strike, I can remember when you could only get strawberries in season and Kiwi fruit was unheard of. I can remember when we could only afford holidays in Margate. I can remember not having a car, or a telephone at home. What exactly were the good old days? Racial purity? I don't remember him personally, but I know damn well who proposed that one!
Even if the good old days had been good can anyone explain how to turn the clock back? Actually maybe I can; if things get bad enough we may not have cars, phones or strawberries, even if we grow them, in season, who's going to pick them? Of course in practice you never can turn the clock back any more than later Romans pining for their golden age could achieve it.
And finally when older people say 'we remember the good old days' they're suggesting they know better than younger people, which is just downright arrogance. On the whole younger people voted for a joined up co-operative world and that's what they deserve. They'll be battling to put it right when the wartime generation are long gone.
After much thought I signed the petition calling for the referendum to be reconsidered, many of the reasons for that are reflected in the considerations above. Financial Services are the UK's biggest earner by a huge margin and I see in the media two thousand jobs going to Frankfurt and Dublin and the French making strenuous efforts to get companies to relocate to Paris.
I hope that unlike Lemmings we can stop at the cliff's edge and set this right, despite the rantings of the Daily Express, The Sun, Daily Mail and The Times. The power of the media barons, given voters tendency to emotional responses, is absurd and disturbing and seems to have come from the USA.
Anyway the latest response to the petition is posted below.
You recently signed the petition “EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum”:
The Petitions Committee has decided to schedule a House of Commons debate on this petition. The debate will take place on 5 September at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will be opened by Ian Blackford MP.
The Committee has decided that the huge number of people signing this petition means that it should be debated by MPs. The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum. The debate will allow MPs to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents. At the end of the debate, a Government Minister will respond to the points raised.
A debate in Westminster Hall does not have the power to change the law, and won’t end with the House of Commons deciding whether or not to have a second referendum. Moreover, the petition – which was opened on 25 May, well before the referendum – calls for the referendum rules to be changed. It is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively. It will be up to the Government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing a new law for a second referendum.
The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs. It is independent from Government. You can find out more about the Committee on its website: http://www.parliament.uk/petitions-committee/role
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament