VICTORY: But we won the first battle, not the war



mesnipThe man who 72 hours ago said he had no plans to resign in the event of a Leave victory had his plans redrawn for him overnight. David Cameron has gone. Jeremy Corbyn – the man who never looked happy in his Remain role – is now in turn facing a massive backlash from the Party High Priests he turfed out of the Temple last year. If any Brexiteers imagine their victory is a done deal, they need to wake up and stay vigilant: between now and July 31st 2018, anything could happen…and every dirty trick will be tried.

Pardon me if I dismiss David Cameron’s resignation speech as just another in a long line of dissembling exercises in self justification. “This was an important decision and that is why I felt we must put it to a Referendum”. Bollocks: Cameron was forced into it by his own back-benchers, and UKIP’s meteoric rise in popularity. Six years ago, he dismissed UKIP Leavers as “BNP lite”. The last thing anyone in Camerlot wanted was a referendum.

But Brexiteers celebrating a famous victory need to pay attention: Cameron says he will stay on for three months and then hand over to someone who can “decide when to trip Article 50” (the giving of notice to Brussels) and start “negotiations with the EU to quit”.

That takes us to the end of September 2016. And for some reason, “negotiations” are mentioned.

“The will of the British People must be obeyed in full” says the man who tried not to let us have a say at all. Why cannot he now immediately send Brussels notice to resign from the EU, and what’s to negotiate? Surely having given notice, two sets of officials need to liaise on the procedural arrangements.

By all means let the trade officials on both sides discuss what comes next, but we must not start from any kind of ‘Waspi Executive’ style of approach: the Brussels/Frankfurt bluff has been called, and now the EU faces a double-whammy of disaster: the departure of a net contributor with a trade deficit, and the unleashing of freedom contagion. We are not starting from a position of weakness here. We are not Greece – over a barrel and about to be rolled over. We should tell the EC/ECB/Eurogroupe axis what we expect….and then let them stew over their response.

In that context, I invite Brexiteers to watch (and listen carefully to) Boris Johnson’s statement of this morning, in which he dismissed any need “for haste”, and saw no reason “to invoke Article 50”. That seems to be an extraordinarily odd thing to say in the Hour of Victory. The 2007 Lisbon Treaty Article 50 makes it clear that

A government must trigger the article by officially notifying the EU of its intention to leave. There will then be a two-year period in which the terms of the leaver’s exit are negotiated.

During this time Britain would no longer be able to take part in any EU decision-making, and any exit agreements would have to be approved by all 27 remaining EU nations and the European Parliament. Then after Britain’s formal exit, fresh negotiations can begin on any new trade deals.

Excuse me, but how can we leave the EU without invoking Article 50? I do not see two years of transition followed by the need to get the approval of ‘all remaining EU nations’, in turn followed by ‘fresh negotiation’ on trade deals as “haste”.

As even the pro-EU Independent admits, ‘The Treaty of Lisbon was drafted with the idea that [Article 50] would not be used, and to make it pretty hard to exit in a smooth way’. This morning, EU/EC sources have been quick to say that they want a clean break and a “minimal period of uncertainty”.

Do we perhaps detect Boris already being slippery about what’s really going to happen? Remember: Brexit was a vote to get away from the very Wall Street, London City, Big Media, TTIP and global bloc model within which Johnson has his strongest allies.

Meanwhile, across the Commons corridor of separational illusion, Jeremy Corbyn stands condemned as the man who damned the EU with faint praise. Already, the middle-class Labour Party has decided that this time, there will be no follow-my-leader-no-matter-how-inept syndrome.

Kate Hoey was at pains to point out over a week ago that Corbyn is in reality a bloke who harbours deep suspicions about the EU’s loyalty to the ordinary working citizen. But Blair-Brown Labour suffered no such reservations….and now it has the rationale it needs for revenge upon the man who (they think) has put their seats at risk by making them unelectably radical….while daring to have inner doubts about their beloved Snow White European Union.

Thus far, Mr Corbyn has had to concede one compromise after another in order to hold the Party together. Now he faces the wrath of not just cynical Big Beast MPs, but also the sanctimony of activists who value few things more than the EU they’re so keen to reform from the inside. Happy to have accepted the sharing of bed linen and bodily fluids with everyone they claim to loathe during the campaign – and having now lost the argument – the Labour grassroots is become a scapegoat-seeking missile.

I would submit that the most likely winner in this scenario is one Yvette Cooper – a passionate Remaindeer.

Boris Johnson is the bookies’ favourite to replace David Cameron; but those same bookies yesterday bet on Remain….and were wrong. I doubt if BoJo is the Tory PP’s choice to succeed Cameldung. Similarly, while I see Yvette Cooper as a shoo-in, others think Andy Burnham the stronger candidate.

My point is this: as I predicted some time ago, the immediate aftermath of a Vote Leave win will be chaotic domestic politics in Britain….not to mention the frustration in Scotland, where there was a large SNP-driven majority to Remain.

All such headline-hugging political bunfights are bound to distract from any EC, US State Department, Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt plans to dilute and then nullify this British victory of the Citizen over the élites.

Be vigilant. It is way too early to relax.