Well, the pollsters, the markets, and the bookies got it wrong. There was so much consensus yesterday that I was starting to believe it. I told my British friends that I hoped they were right, but that I thought perhaps a Brexit would be the best thing in the long run for both the UK and the EU. I’ll explain why this must now be true.
Britain voted to leave because the greener grass of a Brexit was more appealing than a continuation of the itchy status quo, unimproved by Cameron’s failed renegotiation and undersold by the Remain camp. Cameron and his Stayer colleagues will now be replaced by Boris and/or his friends, who will lead the process of making their plans a reality.
In the two years that this takes, the British people will witness the future consequences of sundering their links with the EU. Sterling will continue to slump (10% off its highs as I write this). US companies will plan to move their EU headquarters to Dublin and Berlin, the foreign banks to Dublin and Frankfurt. The National Health System will creak as its source of cheap labour dries up. British industry and the City will have to figure out how to cope, as Britain begins dozens of bilateral trade negotiations. We Irish will, as we must, plan to reinstate our border with the North. Scotland will vote on Independence again, this time to leave a sinking ship. A series of other EU members will urge their leaders to follow.
Juliet seems dead, but she will only sleep.
Ironically, the saviour of Britain will be the victorious faction of the Tories led by Boris Johnson, riding his chariot in full view of his people, straight towards the abyss. The defeated Remain faction will now have every detail of their “Project Fear” play out in anticipated reality, only far, far worse, because nobody would have believed what will actually happen now.
Once the consequences of Brexit become clear, there will be a rebellion in Johnson’s party, and he will fall within the year. The next British government will be elected on a promise to administer the antidote:
The first step will be to immediately stall the process of disengagement. Then, the new UK government will negotiate with the EU from a position of strength, forcing true reform of its institutions and a return to democracy. In 2018, instead of finalising the divorce, Britain will vote again, overwhelmingly endorsing the abandonment of Brexit.
The Euroskeptic faction in the Tory party will be extinguished, after 30 years of dissent and one year of rule. The public debate on Europe will be settled once and for all. The European Union will be drastically reformed, and will become a true democracy.