"HE WHO LOVES PRACTICE WITHOUT THEORY IS LIKE THE SAILOR WHO BOARDS SHIP WITHOUT A RUDDER AND COMPASS AND NEVER KNOWS WHERE HE MAY CAST".
Leonardo Da Vinci
Friday, June 24, 2016
Britain has voted to leave the EU – what happens next?
After rejecting the union, Brexiters must choose between an exit
from the single market and a half-in, half-out purgatory
historic decision to end its 43-year love-hate relationship with theEuropean
turning point in British history to rank alongside the two world wars of the
assumption there is no turning back, or collective buyer’s remorse, Britain
will live with the political, constitutional, diplomatic and economic
consequences for a decade or more.
The pin on
the atlas marking the UK’s place in the world has shifted, just as the centres
of power in the UK polity. All the familiar points of authority in London
society – Downing Street, big business, economic expertise, the foreign policy
establishment – have been spurned by the equivalent of a popular cluster bomb.
scale of the destruction wrought by independence day is such that one of the
last redoubts of the establishment left standing – the civil service led by the
cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood – will take centre stage.
It will be
his task, in conjunction with the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney,
and David Cameron to bring a semblance of shape to the chaos that is likely to
minister has insisted he will accept the instructions of the British people and
be in his study in Downing Street ready to carry out those orders.
option is attractive. The former smacks of a tone-deaf arrogance; the latter
may create further instability at a time when the markets crave certainty.
cabinet manual is clear: the prime minister cannot leave until he can advise
the Queen on the identity of his successor. Either way, the Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn is likely to mount a confidence vote that will not pass.
long the political machinations last, Cameron and the chancellor, George
Osborne, face a dilemma. The vast majority of MPs and peers are pro-Europeans
who have been shown to be out of step with public opinion. The sceptics may
number no more than 200 in the Commons, but that minority has been shown to
speak for the people. It leaves the locus of political authority in the UK in
Cameron has vowed if there is a Brexit vote he will trigger article 50, the
part of the Lisbon treaty that sets in train a two-year process whereby a
member state can notify the EU council of its decision to leave.
the triggering ofarticle
50is a decision for
him alone, not parliament, since it is a matter of the royal prerogative. At
the same time, nothing can stop parliament passing a motion that seeks to
instruct him not to trigger article 50.
statement that he would trigger article 50 was in part made to dramatise the
irreversibility of Brexit. This starts a two-year negotiation with the EU that
must end with the UK’s ejection, unless the union unanimously agrees to extend
the negotiations at the two years’ end.
then formally leaves once a deal – which requires the support of the UK and a
“qualified majority” of the remaining 27 member states (specifically, 20 of
them, comprising at least 65% of their population) is struck.
If at the
two years’ end neither a deal nor an extension has been agreed, the UK
automatically reverts toWorld
meaning the UK faces tariffs on all the goods it sells to the EU. So if the UK
triggers article 50, Britain will have wilfully leapt on to a conveyor belt
that ends with the EU holding all the bargaining chips. Even in spite or out of
despair, it is doubtful Cameron would wish to step immediately on to such a
minister will be operating largely at the sufferance of the Brexit wing of his
party. That wing is disunited to the point of dysfunction and will need time to
absorb their unexpected victory. Some Brexiters have for months quietly pointed
out the referendum is advisory and asks voters’ views only on whether to leave
the EU. It is silent on the form of the departure. An Irish referendum, by
contrast, posed very specific legal questions, giving clear instructions to the
Brexiters will face a choice between maintaining their pledge to withdraw from
the single market and so ending the free movement of people, or whether instead
to seek what has been described as purgatory – the kind of half-in, half-out
arrangement enjoyed by Norway.
MEP Daniel Hannan has argued Brexit should be viewed as a process, not a single
moment of departure, anda Norway
arrangementfor the UK
might be a stepping off point before the final rupture in years to come.
Brexiters are too leisurely, the electorate may become impatient, the pro-EU
Commons majority start to mobilise, and the vista of a new election, providing
new political mandates, becomes more imminent. Hard Brexiters
In all these calculations, the UK parliament will not be the only actor. The
EU, faced by centrifugal forces, will wish to act decisively, something it
rarely does. One group may urge the EU to demand that the UK triggers article
50; a second group, possibly led by the Poles, may explore whether the terms of
the negotiation between the EU and the UK could be reopened. Many diplomats
privately believe the German chancellor, Angela Merkel,should
have conceded more to Cameron on free movement.
majority EU view is likely to be that UK negotiations were finished in
February, and that ship has sailed. The commission president, Jean-Claude
Juncker, said before the vote: “Cameron got the maximum he could receive and we
gave the maximum we could give. So there will be no renegotiation, not on the
agreement we found in February, nor as far as any kind of treaty negotiations
priority instead would be to prevent what has been described as the psychology
of a bank run gripping the EU, as calls for parallel referenda proliferate in
the Netherlands, France, Poland or Hungary. That, after all, has been the
explicit goal of some leave campaigners. Michael Gove, for instance, called for
of Europe”. Once those demands grow, the whole EU project will slip
from paralysis to disintegration.
divorce settlement would focus on mundane budgetary issues – pension
liabilities, properties and other assets, and deal with budgetary questions. It
would also cover the rights of EU nationals based in the UK and vice versa.
interim will be whether UK-based financial firms lose their EU “passport”,
whereby firms registered in one member state are allowed to do business across
the bloc without needing further authorisation.
the higher-stake trade talks will look at whether the UK rejoins the existing
European free trade agreement or instead strikes outside on a free trade treaty
of its own.
that, talks with the Irish government, the Commonwealth, Nato and innumerable
other bodies await. The success of these complex negotiations will depend on
the chemistry of the relationship between the UK andEuropepost-Brexit,
and whether the triumphalists or the pragmatists in the Brexit camp hold sway.
turn will depend on whether Cameron can restore relations with the two old
friends that have laid him so low – Gove and Boris Johnson. After the events of
the past two months, everyone knows they travel without maps.
Source: The Guardian
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