So, what now following the Brexit vote?

So, what now following the Brexit vote?
By Keir Martland
(24th June 2016)

I don’t like to gloat. Well, that’s a blasted lie for a start.

Since February, I have been predicting a leave vote in yesterday’s EU Referendum. I predicted this for various reasons, but mainly differential turnout of old people and Eurosceptics. I also sensed that both urban and rural areas would vote to leave, and that there would be a last minute swing from women to leave. However, when I rubbed the sleep from my eyes this morning, I was surprised. I was surprised that the leave vote was just 51.9%. Let’s be honest: this is disappointing.

Don’t celebrate this result. The result is far too narrow. Too narrow, and if you times turnout by the leave vote, you get just 37% of the vote. The politicians will say “this is not a good enough mandate.” You just wait and see if I’m not right. 

Now, both Corbyn and Cameron have said that the will of the people must be respected. But Corbyn is a closet Eurosceptic and Cameron will be out of office soon enough. With all due deference to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, their opinion doesn’t count. What counts are the votes of the majority of MPs in the Commons, who have to vote on an Act of Parliament which will initiate the leaving procedure.

Scottish MPs will resist.

Labour will resist (and I suspect they will try to remove Jeremy Corbyn if he calls for a whipped pro-Brexit vote in the Commons).

Half the Tories will resist.

They may kill Brexit in its cradle.

The majority is not good enough. With just 37% of the electorate voting to leave, the politicians can claim the result is not clear, and therefore it is entirely possible that we will just have another renegotiation, in order to “represent every part of the UK.”

I believe that this is what will happen. I still do not think we will leave the European Union. I think we are a few months away from a Johnson premiership. Boris Johnson has been a Europhile all his political life, and does not want to leave the EU. He wants a “better deal”, which we can roughly translate as “another bloody renegotiation.” And since Johnson is even less of a conservative than Cameron, Johnson’s renegotiation may have even worse terms than Cameron’s. Johnson, for example, wants a total amnesty for all illegals currently in the UK. He also wants to keep us in the Single Market. He has also been a tireless advocate for EU expansion.

However, while I do think that a Johnson premiership is a real possibility, indeed the most likely outcome, I also think Cameron is planning to put forward a Cameronite candidate in the upcoming leadership election. Who will this be?

I think there are two possibilities here. First is Theresa May, who has remained silent during the campaign, which is remarkable when you consider she has never been one to keep her gob shut, and when you consider that she is the Home Secretary. She has been hedging her bets, perhaps hoping to emerge as the unscathed, neutral, “unity candidate.” God help us all if she is. I don’t like the thought of a May premiership. The woman is responsible for the Investigatory Powers Bill. It scares me to think she could be Prime Minister.

Alternatively, there is Stephen Crabb. Crabb has been promoted from obscurity to the Department for Work & Pensions recently, and was immediately then touted as a future leader. He has been “framed” as a “working class Tory.” All of this resembles John Major’s meteoric rise in 1989/1990. A Crabb premiership is also less than ideal; because he is so obscure and new, we just don’t know what we believes or whose pocket he is in!

I have said before that there is another, better option.

A star of the Brexit campaign has been Austrian School libertarian Steve Baker MP. The best possible outcome over the coming months will be a libertarian coup, led by Cameron’s old rival, the right-wing patriot and civil libertarian David Davis, with the younger generation brought on side by the promotion of Baker to Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Such a government would cut public spending massively, shut down entire government departments like the Department for International Development and the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport. Such a government would abolish inheritance tax, to name just one. It would deny all welfare benefits to foreign nationals. Perhaps most important of all at the beginning: it would ensure that we actually did leave the European Union, and that we left as quickly as possible. It would also at least decriminalise some drugs and would repeal much of the anti-terror legislation. It would increase the reserve ratio for banks and stop printing new money. It would do many good things.

Alas, such a libertarian coup is unlikely at the moment. Libertarians are in the minority in the Conservative Party in the Commons, even if they are slowly taking over the youth wing of the local membership.This libertarian populist government would run into difficulties, with backbench dissent from the “compassionate conservatives”, the neoconservatives, and the traditionalists, even if it did win over old Thatcherites like John Redwood.

While Cameron has been a terrible Prime Minister, with a disastrous economic and foreign policy record as well as a disregard for civil liberties, the most probable potential successors, Theresa May, Stephen Crabb, and Boris Johnson, appear no better. The Davis-Baker libertarian “dream-ticket” seems unlikely at this stage. However, if we start campaigning now, it might just happen.

Even so, no matter what happens next, Britain will still be an open-air lunatic asylum run by weapons-grade political trash. And I expect our foreign policy will still be made in Washington.



  • You are perfectly entitled to gloat, Keir.

    I don’t, however, agree with your argument that 37% of eligible voters supporting Leave can credibly be made out not to constitute a mandate. To put it in context, I compared these results with the results of the 2001 general election which I happened to have handy.

    2016 Leave: 72% * 52% = 37%.
    Remain: 72% * 48% = 35%.
    Remain + Non-voters: 35% + 28% = 63%.

    2001 Labour: 60% * 40% = 24%.
    Other parties: 60% * 60% = 36%.
    Other parties + Non-voters: 36% + 40% = 76%.

    So if 37% for Leave doesn’t represent a mandate in 2016, then 24% didn’t represent a Labour mandate in 2001. Or otherwise put, if it’s OK to ride roughshod over the wishes of the 36% who voted against Labour in 2001, then it must be OK to ride roughshod over the wishes of the 35% that voted Remain in 2016.

  • They can’t say it isn’t a mandate without rejecting the system that has put every Prime Minister in power. And none of them are peddling that line, and would have been doing so already if they were going to try it. They are snookered,

    We probably lost at least 5 points due to the Jo Cox effect, 1 or 2 points due to ballot stuffing and God knows how many due to Project Fear. I think the country’s nearer 60:40.

    We’re leaving. I think Johnson is going to be PM. I’d like Redwood as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I can envisage a government with some Labour Leave people in it, to help get some national unity going and due to Labour working class votes swinging it against London’s Remain vote.

    Also, the Scots may bugger off. I am inclined to let them go without a fight.

    The times they are a-changin’.

    • We lost a good deal more due to Osborne’s ’emergency budget’, as polling showed little movement due to Cox alone.

  • Gloat away! The remainiacs were doing so as early as last night. This is a huge vote of no confidence in the establishment at every level. Also like Neil said, should they opposite it based on turnout and vote share, they’d hoist themselves by their own petard.

  • I have heard Borris Johnson is the Trump of UK.

    But I guess if this election has too low turnout I guess all the previous elections have too low turnout too 😉

  • I dispute the author’s premise. The result is decisive. There is no going back now for the Establishment without gambling the kitchen sink. If they want to throw the die, in the hope of boxcars, then they are more than welcome as far as I am concerned, as I know it will be the end of them.

    I really hope they do try to block it. For me, that would be the icing on the cake, and it would – I hope – be their last-ever mistake.

    They are so hubristic that they don’t see this – and I hope they fall into the trap.

  • The leave camp won due to two reasons. Young people who are more in favor of a remain vote, had a very low turnout. If I were a youngster with a remain vote, I would be angry about the complacency of my fellow schoolboys and girls.

    Secondly the leave campaign was very much helped by Corbyn who sabotaged the remain campaign. I have seen evidence (documents) of speeches where on a last minute the pro-EU remarks were all scrapped. This was done by his communication aid who is on the very left side and also seen shaking hands with Putin. So much for strange alliances.

    Thirdly the leave campaign was able to overspend (and have lot’s of voters databases) because the Leave campaign was 100% the same as the “taxpayers alliance” which is a mixture of neo conservative (christina) and libertarian millionaires who are getting deeper and deeper into the tory party and have some puppets in place.

    Even though I can sympathise with some (libertarian) ideas of the taxpayers alliance, I believe the leave campaign tactics were questionable. Gove and Rove is just one letter difference. Their campaign was based on the idea of the average Joe on the streets taking on the power of the elites. While the taxpayers alliance, and so the leave campaign, are elites themselves.

  • I meant three reasons.

  • I come to this piece several months late but I would point out that thankfully Keir is wrong on one important point. The Government does not need Parliamentary approval to invoke article 50 and start the leaving process. Righty or wrongly (and I reserve judgement on that even though inn this particular instance I would approve of the cause if not the mechanism) this can be done under Royal Prerogative and there is nothing Parliament can do to stop it.

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