Brexit or Nexit – what next?

Things are happening so fast, it’s almost impossible to keep up and continue with normal life. Still, we are all off to see The Secret Life of Pets this afternoon so that should be a welcome distraction.

After yesterday’s outpouring of Anger, which, thanks to twitter, and especially George Monbiot and Thom Yorke, was my best-read blog ever by a very long way (thanks everyone for reading, and especially commenting), I’m feeling more positive today.

Why? Because of the very complex process needed to turn the referendum result into an actual Exit from the EU.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty needs to be invoked in order for the exit process to start. There is no other way – informal negotiations as suggested by some (including Boris/Gove) will be laughed out of court by the EU. Cameron chose not to invoke Article 50 on Friday, instead passing that particular poisoned chalice to whoever takes over from him. This means the Tory leadership contest will decided on what the contenders say about when, or indeed if, they are going to press the nuclear Article 50 button.

Some commentators have suggested the button will never be pressed, but the threat of it used to further negotiate better terms for our staying in the EU. I’m not sure whether this would work or not. The point about the real nuclear button is that pressing it meant total annhilation for everyone on the planet. The EU are so pissed off with us right now, they may well want us to press the button.

While the Tory leadership campaign is starting next week, Parliament will start to look at what it needs to do as part of the process. Many have suggested that invoking Article 50 will require Parliamentary approval. There is an overall parliamentary majority in favour of the UK remaining in the EU. So it will be very difficult to get this through Parliament, especially as the Tories have a very slim majority anyway, and the continuing scandal of Tory electoral expenses could, in theory, lead to some by-elections. Leading Tory commentatory Tim Montgomery suggested on Marr this morning that a General Election would be needed to press home the Brexit case on Parliament – but that could well backfire.

Other have indicated that the Scottish Parliament will need to approve any moves to take the UK out if the EU. It’s difficult to imagine that they would do so, especially as so many Scots voted to stay in.

Then there’s the referendum result itself. The turnout was very low for young people – 36%. By contrast 83% of those over 65 (and most likely to vote Out) voted. On this basis does the result truly reflect the will of the people, as Economist Andrew Sentance asked yesterday. One possibility is that students in particular were disenfranchised when the way the Electoral Register is updated, was changed.

Finally, there are moves, today, against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Reports suggests half the Shadow Cabinet is going to resign today. Corbyn is an avowed Eurosceptic and campaigned, let’s say half-heartedly, to be charitable to him. Though the Referendum was not of his making, he had a responsibility to get Labour voters out to vote. Though 2/3 of Labour voters who voted, voted to remain. But how many stayed at home?

Add to this a petition with over 2 million signatures, asking for a second referendum. Parliament could decide to have a second referendum – after renegotiations had taken place, for example.

And one way to ensure that everyone who can vote has their say, is to make voting compulsory. This happens in Australia  – why not here?


About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
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14 Responses to Brexit or Nexit – what next?

  1. Nimby says:

    Voting should be compulsory even if you void the card because in your opinion there is no-one worthy of your vote (many constituencies are blue or red and will always be, so apathy might perhaps be understandable)?

    One problem I have with the PLP ousting any leader (Corbyn in this instance) is that the current leader actually got the younger generation and the membership re-engaged with politics and they elected him on various principled points. So, now the MPs want to over-rule their own system because it’s not working for them?

    The one thing that has been abundantly clear in this whole saga has been the disgraceful way in which far too many politicians and self serving interests have behaved, including much of the traditional ‘media’.

    If the media really want resolution (for the good of the UK and its communities) then they’d stop giving prominence to the has been politicians and wanna be ones and look at facts. Bit too late?

    • Miles King says:

      I wasnt suggesting compulsory voting for general elections, but I think with something as “permanent” as a vote to leave the EU, it has merits.

      Labour clearly has a problem between its membership and its MPs – and that needs to be sorted quickly, because above all else, there needs to be a credible and effective opposition to the Tories. Corbyn does not deliver this.

      Yes the electorate has also undoubtedly delivered a verdict on the venality and low level corruption endemic in our political system. That’s not to say all politicians are venal and/or corrupt. Far from it.

      Perhaps after this farce people will believe less of what the Media feed them.

      • Nimby says:

        Cheers Miles

        Would a compulsory element to a GE necessarily be a bad thing? We are a Parliamentary Democracy, and one I offer, which is seriously disengaged from reality and communities it/they purport to serve?

        Of unelected bureaucrats, we should look at the ever burgeoning Westminster seats, 850 unelected and unaccountable.

        No not all politicians are venal and or corrupt, I didn’t suggest they were but I do seriously ponder the value for money the current 650 incumbents provide. What happened to the promiose of reduced numbers.

        Could we put a figure on principled ones, even a collective collaboration would struggle to offer up many at the moment I fear?

        People believe less of the Media dribble – we can dream?

      • Miles King says:

        well it could be interested gradually, rather than all in one go.

        With the current political chaos, perhaps there is an opportunity to bring in the wholesale reform we need – abolish the Lords, bring in a smaller elected second chamber, reduce the number of MPs, bring in PR.

        IF this is the end of the Labour party, which seems quite plausible, then there is a huge centre-left hole waiting to be filled by a party with these things at its core.

  2. Diana Westerhoff says:

    Very interesting blog. Things are changing so fast. I so agree that everyone should have to vote.

  3. The rules were deliberately changed to favour the Tories (and the Lib Dems let them get away with it). The one thing that cheers me up is the way that this has worked to Cameron’s personal disadvantage. But I fear that the low turnout among the young reflects a dangerous disenchantment with the entire political process

  4. Mark Fisher says:

    Never mind compulsory voting, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 requires a supermajority vote equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House to call an early general election. I took this to be a gerrymandering means of holding a coalition government in power. I still thinks this. However, if there ever was a case for a supermajority to be in place for a vote of such consequence, then it should have been for this referendum. Even though this referendum is non-binding, the requirement for a supermajority would have shown that such an important matter could not have been decided on a simple majority of pubic opinion. Would that our parliament now shows some integrity and guts, and use what is commonly recognised as a supermajority of members in favour of remaining in the EU to block in what ever way necessary invocation of Article 50.

    • Nimby says:

      So you’re minded that politicians would disregard a public referendum outcome, legally binding or otherwise? That would require politicians to act in unity, are they capable?

      Supermajority by those elected to represent people who actually couldn’t oust or sack the majority of any MPs who acted outwith any election promise, interesting proposition for sure?

      We have a PLP who are looking like they are disregarding their membership choice.

      Rules apply when it suits & disregarded when they don’t?

      Is it not this kind of politics which has caused disengagement by the majority allowing the minority to retain power?

      Sadly this is the approach which has brought politics into disrepute, but that might well be part of an agenda?

  5. Pingback: Brexit, Nexit, Vlexit and Frexit | Marcus Ampe's Space

  6. Pingback: Could Brexit lead to Frexit – or Czexit? | Marcus Ampe's Space

  7. David Lovelace says:

    Hereford Tree Forum comment on all this:

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