EU Referendum Live Blog – Results
That feeling in the pit of your stomach right now? That’s nerves, now that the training wheels are soon going to come off British government, and the decisions which we make as a people will (for the first time since 1973) be the first and last word. Soon there will be no paternalistic, supranational European government to hold our hand and steer us right. If we want to live in a safe, stable and prosperous society then it will depend entirely on us being conscientious, informed and engaged citizens. If we make wise decisions, we will stand to reap great benefits. If we make poor decisions, we will face the undiluted consequences.
My sincere commiserations to those on the Remain side who fought this EU referendum from a place of deep principle and honour. I extend to you the magnanimity and friendship that (I hope) you would be extending to me right now had the result gone the way we all expected. It is incumbent on all of us now to work together to achieve the best possible form of Brexit. In this blog’s view, and that of The Leave Alliance, that means moving toward an interim EFTA/EEA position (the Norway Option) in order to maintain our current preferential access to the single market. This will mean many Brexiteers compromising on their absolutist stance on immigration – an olive branch which Remainers should accept.
This need not be Farage’s Britain. The whole point of Brexit is that we can build whatever kind of country we want, without external adjudication over our democracy. We should remain an open, tolerant society, as befits the greatest country in the world. Be not afraid.
This semi-partisan live blog is going to pause for a couple of hours while its author gets some rest, before resuming later. Many thanks for following along – please do stay tuned.
If you have enjoyed and found value in this blog’s general coverage of the EU referendum and last night’s live blog, please do consider supporting Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:
David Cameron announces his resignation
David Cameron is saying a lot of the right things in his resignation speech. It should indeed be up to the next prime minister to decide when to trigger Article 50.
I’m with Brendan O’Neill:
This is democracy in action, in all its messy, beautiful, order-upsetting glory. Behold the steadfastness of ordinary people, their willingness to act on their conviction even in the face of the threats and barbs of people with power. We hear a lot these days about how gullible the public is, how malleable are our putty-like minds, play-doh in the hands of demagogues. And yet yesterday, the people thought for themselves; they weighed things up and they decided to reject received wisdom and the Westminster / Washington / Brussels consensus. Such independence of spirit, such freedom of thought, is stirring.
Britain stuns the world – let freedom ring!
Will somebody other than Nigel Farage please come out and make the open, liberal case for Brexit now? Cameron’s silence is becoming spiteful at this point. The more moderate faces of Brexit are patiently waiting to speak until Cameron concedes, allowing Nigel Farage a free run to become the sole face of Brexit and to claim all of the credit.
The leftist campaign group Momentum is engaged in some hasty repositioning in order to realign itself with a core Labour vote which proved to be a lot more “Brexity” than the middle class clerisy who now run the Labour Party.
This is the text of their response to the EU referendum result, sent to everyone on their mailing list:
Yesterday, the British people voted to leave the European Union. Momentum, which campaigned to remain in the EU to transform the EU, respects the decision taken by the electorate.
We recognise that people voted ‘Leave’ for many reasons. Much of this vote reflected anger in communities which have experienced many years of industrial decline with the subsequent loss of secure employment. Many such working class communities have been utterly neglected for years by those in power. Millions appear to have chosen ‘Leave’ to vote against the unfettered globalisation that has seen living standards stagnate or fall, as the cost of living rises. We share this scepticism of big business dominance, austerity and distant elites, be they British, European or Global, and share that demand for a country where working people have control.
Many ‘Leave’ voters usually vote for Labour or are working people Labour should represent. Now the Party and the whole labour movement needs to show the country that it alone can offer working people genuine control over their lives, workplaces and communities.
Labour must clearly demonstrate how it will improve lives through policies that will increase wages, tackle the housing crisis, and give people a greater say at work and in their communities.
If we do not, we will not only be failing to advance the policies that will benefit working people but also could enable the populist right, who blame immigrants, not the powerful for the problems in our country. Part of the Leave campaign empowered these racist, reactionary forces, who peddle hatred and offer false hope. We must redouble our efforts to stop migrant scapegoating, focus our attention on the needs and desires of the overwhelming majority, and offer a real programme of hope for our people.
Although we will leave the EU, our movement remains an internationalist one. We must continue to work with our friends, partners and allies across Europe in the shared struggle against austerity, to tackle climate change and to build a sustainable economy with full employment for all the peoples of Europe.
Waiting for David Cameron’s statement, and then this live blog might take a short break while I recharge my batteries!
This BBC correspondent reporting from Warsaw is awful. Catastrophising Brexit beyond all restraint, talking about Polish people being “unwelcome” in Britain for no reason, based on absolutely nothing but her own virtue-signalling hysteria – showing the bias of the BBC at its most awful and blatant
Caroline Lucas on the BBC now, doing what all other prominent lefties seem to be doing – suggesting that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union is about anything and everything other than a judgement on the European Union.
I appreciate the crushing disappointment, I really do. But this utter condescension toward the British people, assuming that they were essentially tricked and that Remainers were inherently intellectually superior, is appalling. And to the extent that Remainers refuse to accept the validity of the peoples’ judgement on the EU, they richly deserve their defeat.
Dr. Richard North, who has done so much for the Brexit movement (particularly the unsung intellectual heavy lifting), is elated as he signs off for a few hours of well deserved rest:
We’re on 15.2m to 14.2m for the remains … we’re more than a million ahead, going up. Congratulations everybody … the team. You did us all proud. We did it.
This is the kind of magnanimity in unexpected victory which the Leave side must now show in abundance:
It is accomplished!
Both Sky News and the BBC project that the Leave campaign has won – that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, reasserting our status as an independent nation rather than the vassal of the EU’s supranational government.
This is astonishing, overwhelming. The deep wisdom of the British people has spoken, looking past the petty and increasingly desperate scaremongering (even bullying) of the Remain campaign
We may not have won this referendum for all of the reasons that the Leave Alliance would have wanted. But as responsible citizens we have a duty to make Brexit work well.
Sky News speculating about when the government should serve notice to the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and set the 2-year clock running on Britain’s secession from the EU, with speculation that it could happen at the next EU summit next month. Absolutely not – doing so rashly, before any preliminary talks have taken place, would be an act of diplomatic and constitutional vandalism, plain and simple.
But will a chastened, defeated David Cameron do so anyway, out of spite? This must not be allowed to happen.
Britain Stronger in Europe’s director Will Straw is having a bad time…
Apparently a lot of lefty Remainers are getting upset about Nigel Farage’s declaration that:
“If the predictions now are right this will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We have fought against the multinationals, against the big merchant banks, against big politics, against lies, against lies, corruption and deceit and today honesty and decency and belief in nation I think now is going to win.”
Apparently they are upset at Farage’s insinuation that Brexiteers have a monopoly on decency (while being more than happy to declare themselves the sole custodians of compassion). Oh, how quickly the tables turn…
Dr. Richard North, author of the definitive history of the European Union (“The Great Deception”) and the premier eurosceptic blog, eureferendum.com, finally allows himself to celebrate nearing victory:
I can see dawn from my office window – a new dawn on an independent Britain? Yay! Suck it up guys. The lights are on in the Berlaymont. Hillary Benn says “if you walk away from the world’s largest market, you crate (sic) a great deal of uncertainty”. Note to Benn … if we leave, the EU is no longer the world’s largest market!
Nigel Farage is speaking: “The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom”
“This will be a victory for real people, a victory for ordinary people, a victory for decent people. We have fought against the multinationals, we have fought against the merchant banks…”
And on the beaches, and in the streets…
One can only think that David Cameron’s decision to play a prominent role as leader of the Remain campaign has backfired massively. Cameron is only popular among Conservative Party supporters, the majority of whom want Britain to leave the EU. He is almost universally disliked by everybody else. And so he essentially contrived a situation where he is strongly disliked by the only people who would otherwise support him, and hated by everybody else who would normally hate him. And now, with his premiership in peril, he will find that he has almost zero support in the country and in the Conservative Party, save a dedicated rump of careerist sycophants.
Watch how quickly the commentariat switch gears to start talking about a Conservative Party leadership election. While many of the potential options are bad, they can hardly be worse than David Cameron’s weak Ted Heath tribute act.
Dr. Richard North is not getting too carried away:
We have 260 of 382 areas still to declare, so we’re not even halfway. But remain is still trailing with 49.8 percent on 4,149,554 votes and leave is still ahead (marginally) on 50.2 percent, with 4,184,849 votes. The country is split down the middle. Dimbleby is trying to pull in extraneous domestic issues and play down the EU element. He doesn’t get it.
Dimbleby is not alone. Nearly every Labour MP within reach of a television camera is engaged in the same act of pretending that this strong showing for Leave is anything but a repudiation of the European Union itself.
Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch of people…
This is what happens when a political party treats its own core working class voters with dripping contempt bordering on outright hatred.
Significant news from Andrew Sparrow’s Guardian live-blog:
The Labour party is now working on the assumption that leave will win, according to a party source. The view in Labour HQ is that, if Britain does vote to leave, Jeremy Corbyn should call on David Cameron to resign, but senior figures believe that that may prove unnecessary because Cameron may announce his departure of his own accord.
The fact that the Labour Party are now operating on the assumption of a Leave victory is remarkable – almost unimaginable just a few hours ago.
If he had a shred of decency, Cameron would indeed jump quickly before he is pushed. But based on his conduct during this EU referendum campaign, sadly we know that the prime minister does not have a shred of decency. He may yet have to be prised out of 10 Downing Street. But one way or another, he is gone.
Okay, I’m confused. The Spectator reports that:
Unsurprisingly, Labour MPs are pretty darn miserable right now. There is great anger in the party about the leadership, and I detect a stronger appetite to move against Corbyn than previously. But there is also utter fury towards Ed Miliband that goes far beyond Chris Bryant’s ‘tosspot’ comments. One former minister, after watching the former Labour leader explaining what has happened on the television, said ‘how do I set up a JustGiving page for him to go back to Harvard? Or even to visit his constituency and listen to the people who live there?’
So the Labour Party, having been punished by their core voters for their slavishly pro-EU stance, are going to spitefully remove their leader because he did not campaign hard enough for Remain?
This is hilarious. These preening Labour MPs are not really angry at Jeremy Corbyn. They are angry at their own voters. They are angry at the British working classes for failing to sit down meekly and do as they are told by self-entitled metro-left Labour politicians.
The Spectator’s EU referendum results live-blog reports that Ed Miliband’s sanctimonious television appearances have gone down like a bucket of cold sick within the Labour Party, and without…
Haven’t heard a peep from David Cameron yet. He’s probably updating his LinkedIn profile.
Do you want to endorse Dave for “Strong Leadership” and “Conservatism”?
Sssh! Can you hear it? That’s the book closing on David Cameron’s weak, ideologically rootless and fundamentally un-conservative premiership.
Even if Remain manage to pull off a narrow victory, the fact remains that the prime minister has effectively lost control of the country, not to mention his own party. And no number of signatures on a sycophantic “Save Dave” letter can rescue him now.
The denial is strong in the Labour Party…
To their blinkered mindset, Leave’s strong showing is about everything – and I do mean everything – except for the fact that people just don’t like the EU. Oh no, it couldn’t be that. The EU is wonderful! It means friendship and cooperation and rainbows and unicorns!
John McDonnell really is a one-trick pony, isn’t he? Faced with a stunning repudiation of middle-class metro-left stewardship of the Labour Party by its restive working class base, all Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow chancellor can do is witter on about “Tory austerity”.
Newsflash, McDonnell: this strong pro-Brexit sentiment is much less to do with the economy and much more to do with the working classes’ realisation that the wealthy, upper middle class people in charge of the Labour Party have been sneering at them, have not had their best interests at heart and have no intention of changing their ways. Oh, and the fact that they analysed the EU question like rational people, and decided that a failing, antidemocratic, supranational political union was not for them.
A major, bold prediction from Chris Hanretty’s live blog:
This is a big update, and I’m conscious that I may have made a terrible mistake somewhere in estimating differential turnout, but here goes:
- Predicted probability of Britain Remaining: 0.03
- (33 of 382 areas reporting.)
- Predicted vote share for Remain: 47.5 percent.
- (90% prediction interval: 45.5 to 49.6 percent)
John McDonnell up on the BBC now. This is the man who thought he had coined a brilliant phrase in “Tory Brexit”, the line which would drive people to support Remain out of fear that a democratically elected Conservative government might (shock horror) do the things it was elected to do.
Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t seem to be working…
As this blog warned, if we do now see a Leave vote then the Labour Party leadership (supposedly so moral and principled) will have sided with the establishment against the people. They will be no better than the “Evil Tories”.
I can’t wait to see Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell talk themselves out of that one.
Vince Cable on the BBC now, dialling back some of the Remain campaign’s most apocalyptic rhetoric about how Britain might be treated in the event of a Leave vote. Cable admits that there would be “no great anti-British feeling”, before stating the obvious – that we will not get free access to the single market. I don’t know a single credible person who suggested that we would… But paying for access to the single market while being free of the EU’s suffocating political union sounds good to me (and to many others, apparently).
If the unthinkable does happen and Britain votes to leave, a lot of senior British politicians on the Remain side are going to look pretty stupid as they desperately walk back some of their strongest, most cataclysmic predictions…
I guess I could wrap up my live blog now that Lindsay Lohan is on the case…
Team Brexit are now favourites on the betting market, for the first time ever.
The BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg now asking about the implications of a Scottish Remain vote potentially keeping the UK in the European Union. This blog posed the same question about an hour ago. Semi-Partisan Politics, ahead of the pundits…
Some of the results now coming in are incredibly heartening for Brexiteers. Even Scotland so far doesn’t seem to be acting as a bulkwark for Remain to the extent that it should. Of course the fear, lurking in the background, is London. These huge margins for Leave in some north-eastern areas could be instantly erased once the capital’s votes are counted. Although anecdotally, turnout in London is apparently slightly lower than anticipated…
YouGov’s Peter Kellner’s Twitter timeline sums up the changing sentiment:
Well said by the Polish ambassador to the UK on the BBC just now:
“Britain will always remain our friend and ally” regardless of the referendum result.
A timely reminder that close friendship, cooperation and partnership are not dependent on the EU’s antidemocratic form of supranational government. Our closest and most important alliance, the special relationship with the United States, is maintained because of shared interests, values and culture, with no need for a common parliament, supreme court or executive.
Odd to see David Davis sticking up so gamely for David Cameron on the BBC, insisting that the prime minister could somehow limp on in the event of a massive blow to his authority in the event of a Leave victory. It is falling to Alex Salmond to remind viewers of the prime minister’s campaign of lies, trickery, intimidation and downright cheating.
Fair characterisation from The Leave Alliance’s Mr. Brexit:
Bristol’s mayor, quoted on Andrew Sparrow’s excellent Guardian live-blog, joins Angela Eagle and Ed Miliband in declaring that Brexit voters are vulnerable people essentially deceived into voting against their own interests by the “pied pipers” of the Leave campaign.
In Bristol Marvin Rees, the newly elected mayor of the city, told the Guardian that the “Brexit campaign has exposed the fragility at the heart of the system”.
He added: “We have people vulnerable to people coming along singing a simple tune. We have to change the way we do public services. We are not sharing the prosperity. We need to deliver the change that people need. We need a city that people can afford to live in.” Rees said that this was not just a message to the Labour leadership but “for everyone”.
Do these people not realise how unbearably condescending they sound? Is there to be no introspection of any kind from the pro-EU British Left?
The people in the know say that this is more in line with expectations, or possibly even slightly under expectations for Leave. We might be seeing some interesting variations by region. My increasing concern is that a surprisingly good result for Leave around the country will be overturned by the inevitable stonking Remain vote in London.
Now Ed Miliband is on the BBC, being condescending about Leave voters.
It is simply beyond his mental capacity to imagine that Brexit supporters might have voted Leave as the result of reasoned deliberation. It must always be because of trickery by evil UKIP types or an inchoate expression of frustration at the general state of the country (read: Evil Tory austerity).
These people will rationalise Brexit support in any way other than conceding that maybe the Leave voters are right – that maybe the European Union is indeed a poisonous, dysfunctional, anti-democratic and anachronistic relic best left in the past. From Ed Miliband’s perspective, the role of us “normal people” is to take as gospel the pro-EU rhetoric bandied about by our betters in the establishment, not to question their sacred judgement.
Angela Eagle on the BBC just now repeating that nauseatingly smug Remainer line that anybody who votes Leave – particularly if they happen to be working class – must have been conned by the nefarious forces of Nigel Farage & co into voting against their own interest.
One can see why this line is superficially appealing – particularly for Remainers desperate not to confront the weakness of their own case. But ultimately this “What’s The Matter With Kansas”-ism is a form of dangerous denial. Pathologising those people who voted Leave, treating them as though they are intrinsically disordered or gullible dupes, shows the chasm opening up between the political establishment and the people, particularly on the Left.
There has been a marked change in sentiment over the past fifteen minutes, since the Newcastle result (and with whispers of a strong showing for Leave in the upcoming Sunderland result).
One can still hardly dare to hope for victory – but those early concessions may have been rather premature. My gut instinct says that a narrow Remain victory will destabilise David Cameron and see his fairly early departure – as well as proving the country to be bitterly divided, of course.
Much closer-run by Leave than predicted by many. This is a strong showing for Brexiteers. Surprising. Heartening.
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We do not “show respect for democracy”, as Douglas Carswell currently implores us to do on the BBC, by ignoring the brazen way in which the prime minister and the Remain campaign have cheated during this campaign.
This isn’t about disrespecting the will of the British people if they have indeed voted to remain in the EU. It is about standing up and saying that taxpayer funded propaganda, ignoring the recommendations of the Electoral Commission, bullying the voters with a mocked up “punishment budget”, violating purdah rules with a last minute impromptu Downing Street speech and extending the voter registration deadline to scoop up as many disorganised potential Remain supporters as possible amounts to an assault on democracy, not an expression of it.
Come on, Sunderland…
Nigel Farage was right about one thing in his television “un-concession” speech just now – the Brexit genie will not go back in the bottle. The desire for freedom and democracy will not be mollified or contained by whatever weasel words the prime minister comes up with in the event that the Remain campaign do win this referendum. The writing is on the wall for Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.
Come together right now, over me
Apparently it is time for Conservatives to come together after the sound and fury of the EU referendum campaign. This seems to be an official line, soon to be as nauseatingly familiar as “stronger, safer, better off”. But from this blog’s perspective there will be no “coming together”, no rapprochement with the Conservative Party for as long as David Cameron and George Osborne remain in office. I will not be represented by liars, bullies and cheats.
Dr. Richard North is in defiant mood over at his own unmissable EU referendum live-blog:
If we have lost, the fight goes on. This hasn’t been a free and fair fight, but one characterised by a Prime Minister who has elevated political lying to an art form, starting with his faux renegotiation and his non-treaty. I feel no obligation to take this result as final, and will continue to work for an independent Britain.
The immediate task will be to identify the reasons why we lost. The official Vote Leave campaign will already be polishing its excuses, ready to come up with the conclusion that its was everybody else’s fault except theirs. Pete North, however, has already published two posts, here and here, looking at some of the problem areas. It will come as not surprise for you to learn that he (rather like his father) is looking to the execrable conduct of the campaign for his answers.
The official Vote Leave campaign is singled out for much-deserved criticism:
There is good evidence to support a thesis that a substantial number of people do not actually make up their minds until they have a pencil in their hand and are looking at the ballot paper. It is then that the “fear” motivation is at its strongest. And it is my view that Vote Leave and the other main “leave” campaigns simply failed sufficiently to address the economic impact of leaving.
In fact, by specifically rejecting continued participation in the Single Market, Vote Leave seems to have gone out of its way to ensure that we would lose what I believe was a winnable contest. This crass intervention, in my view, will prove to be the single most important factor in driving voters into the “remain” camp.
Our glorious prime minister is already making his gruesome victory lap on social media, with no results yet declared:
And us evil, hateful people who voted to keep Britain weaker, more vulnerable and dirt poor can go hang ourselves, I guess?
Some Tories are already circling their wagons around David Cameron:
But many are not. The prime minister has enraged many Conservative MPs (and many small-c conservatives) not just with his stance on the EU referendum, but with the despicable way in which he has conducted himself during the campaign. And with a majority as small as that enjoyed by David Cameron, sycophantic letters of praise will do him no good if a small but determined number of real conservatives are determined to undermine him.
Truth from Andrew Lilico (in his second tweet):
And now, the long wait until the first results are declared. We should be neither heartened nor discouraged by the YouGov poll at this stage – it is but a re-contact poll, not an exit poll, and unprecedentedly high turnouts could do strange things to any polling models.
Roland Smith shares a potential yardstick for gauging the scale of a defeat for the Leave campaign:
Interesting analytical piece in the Guardian from Matthew Goodwin, discussing the growing gulf between the virtue-signalling progressivism of Labour’s ruling middle class clerisy and their traditional working class base:
Throughout the referendum campaign, between one-fifth and one-third of Labour supporters said they wanted to leave the EU; and the electorate in 59% of all Labour seats were predicted to have voted for Brexit yesterday. The strongest levels of support were in the places Labour and Corbyn are beginning to struggle the most – northern, left-behind and traditional Labour seats, such as Blackpool South, Dudley North, Walsall North, Rotherham, Doncaster North, and West Bromwich West. Indeed we already have evidence of how Labour’s hold over voters in these more traditional areas has been weakening.
By contrast, other Labour seats were predicted to deliver some of the strongest support for the EU – such as the leafy London seats of Hornsey and Wood Green or Hampstead and Kilburn, the young and socially mobile Bristol West, Cambridge and Manchester Withington.
[..] Euroscepticism is a complex problem for Labour, but immigration scepticism is more widespread among Labour’s traditional voters than anti-EU sentiment. Nearly two-thirds of Labour supporters say they are unhappy about how immigration is being managed.
Not all of these voters view Brexit as the answer, but 38% feel the government should have total control over who comes into Britain, and 30% feel Britain should stop EU citizens coming into the country to live and work, even if that restricts our access to the single market.
Corbyn has so far shown little understanding of what is driving this identity angst. He has said little that would resonate among those Labour-to-Ukip defectors. And there is no doubt that these tensions hold the potential to pull Labour in different directions and make a return to power virtually impossible, certainly in 2020 and perhaps beyond. It is not yet clear how Labour can reconcile this deep divide, but there is little doubt that this will be its biggest challenge for decades.
I don’t think that this divide can be bridged.
Labour increasingly appears like an intellectually and morally bankrupt party, a hollowed out shell of its former self, shrouded in the robes of virtue.
More unintentional side-effects of the EU referendum:
Nicky Morgan on the BBC, trying to appear magnanimous. Promising “lots more reform” of the European Union. Like the fundamental reform achieved by her boss? How can anybody now believe a single word that any minister in this rotten Conservative government says?
YouGov re-contact poll suggest Remain 52% / Leave 48%
If this is accurate, it is (while bitterly disappointing) a very very solid result for the Leave campaign, all things considered. If these figures bear out, it will be undeniable that but for the flagrant cheating of the prime minister (with his taxpayer funded propaganda and blatant violation of purdah with that last-minute Downing Street press conference), Britain would have voted to leave the EU. In other words, the prime minister and his tawdry remain campaign will have bullied and deceived Britain into remaining in the EU.
A result like this will settle nothing. It will embolden us Brexiteers beyond measure, not to mention blowing British politics wide open. Expect a massive UKIP resurgence (assuming they manage not to torpedo themselves) and punishment at the ballot box for all legacy parties in forthcoming elections.
Britain will be more divided than ever, and it will be squarely the fault of the prime minister, who has debased his office in his desperation to secure a vote for Remain.
Nigel Farage gives a statement suggesting that “Remain will edge it”. Unsurprising if true. But no votes have been counted yet…
Polls closed! The future of Britain has been in our hands today. Now, all that remains is to wait and see whether the accumulated wisdom of the British people is sufficient to withstand the Remain campaign’s onslaught of Project Fear…
One of the most sickening things about this referendum campaign has been the way that many on the Left have tried to present a vote to Remain as the bold and visionary option rather than the fearful, defeatist cop-out that it is.
One of the most guilty in this regard has been the Green Party, who have basically been insisting that everything wrong with Britain is the fault of the Evil Tories (despite the Conservatives having been in power only for six years, and just 1 year as a majority government) while the European Union is an unfairly maligned friend to Britain.
Failed leader Natalie Bennett has still been at it today on Left Foot Forward:
A Remain vote would direct the anger to the right place – not just at David Cameron, but the whole Tory party and the policies that have dominated in Britain for decades.
A Remain vote is not an end of this process of political change, but the start of a new kind of politics.
A shift to the rightful direction of anger towards the toppling of this Tory government, towards a fundamental transformation of the failed electoral system that allowed it to take power with the support of just 24 per cent of eligible voters, to the establishment of a new political common sense that ensure nobody has to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their head while we all collectively live within the environmental limits of our one fragile planet.
Vote Remain, then let’s turn with our fellow campaigners across the continent, our neighbours and friends, to build the real changes needed to produce a society that works for the common good, not for the one per cent.
Together we’re stronger.
Vote Remain, in other words, as a cathartic exercise in public Tory-hatred.
It’s astonishing that at this late stage, even the Green Party is utterly unable to make a positive case for the European Union – not even the usual “friendship and cooperation” boilerplate. And so, in an attempt to motivate their core vote, they instead dangle the image of the prime minister in front of their supporters and urge them to give David Cameron a kicking.
The obvious flaw being that nothing would strengthen David Cameron in his potentially precarious position more than a resounding Remain vote…
Another side benefits of a Leave vote, if it happens: dashing the wishes of the sneering, virtue-signalling celebrity class who have piled in to demonstrate their right-on credentials by singing the EU’s praises (or at least dumping on Britain).
One of the biggest recent culprits has been British comedian John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, who last week managed to spend fifteen minutes sneering at Brexiteers and the thought of Britain leaving the EU to his American audience, while failing to mention the D-word (that’s democracy…) even once.
While I have been generally pessimistic about the Leave campaign’s chances of victory in this EU referendum – largely driven by the utterly dismal campaign waged by the official Vote Leave organisation – nobody should be in the business of making firm political prognostications in an age when Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party and Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States.
And so one cannot help consider the immediate aftermath of a vote for Brexit. The biggest upside – besides the obvious one, knowing that Britain will have voted for independence from the EU’s stultifying political union – will be that David Cameron’s premiership will be holed beneath the waterline. A fitting political end for a snivelling, dishonest, fundamentally un-conservative prime minister who did not consider it beneath his office to deceive, bully and threaten the British public in order to coerce a Remain vote.
The media is floating word of a Save Dave campaign underway in the Conservative Party to prevent an immediate move against the prime minister if he manages to lose:
Senior ministers and MPs will attempt to calm the markets tonight by backing David Cameron to stay in office even if he loses the referendum.
A Save Dave operation to shore up the Prime Minister’s position and avert a currency collapse is also backed by senior MPs in the Leave campaign.
A procession of loyalists are primed to appear on TV and radio as soon as the polls close at 10pm to say there is no need for a messy leadership contest, regardless of the result.
A senior minister said: “The markets are jittery already — nobody wants the added uncertainty of a resignation.”
If Mr Cameron loses the referendum, ministers expect him to make an early statement outside No 10 tomorrow, promising Leave leader Michael Gove will have a key position overseeing the timing and terms of an EU withdrawal. If Mr Cameron wins, he will emphasise that the Government has four more years in power and must knuckle down to deliver on its promises.
There should be no such campaign. David Cameron will go down in history as one of the most pointless prime ministers in recent memory, having utterly squandered two Conservative terms in office with his New Labour Continued approach to government. Somehow, Cameron has managed to make the Tory brand as toxic as it ever was, while also utterly failing to manage even the appearance of fiscal conservatism. The deficit persists, the national debt soars ever upward, and all the while we small-c conservatives are derided as heartless persecutors of the vulnerable. And if things continue as they are, when Labour eventually get their act together and retake power (under a new leader) conservatives will have almost nothing to show from the years 2010 onwards, despite being nominally in power.
So no. Let’s not “Save Dave” if he manages to guide the Remain campaign to defeat after cheating, lying and threatening his way through the referendum. As he teeters on the precipice, principled conservatives should give him a firm shove.
Flexcit, the comprehensive and risk-minimising Brexit plan authored by Dr. Richard North with readers of the eureferendum.com blog, and championed by The Leave Alliance (including this blog), gets a surprising, belated mention in The Metro today:
One can only wonder how much of a stronger position the Leave campaign might be in if only more journalists had used Google to search for “Brexit plan” and then written about what they found…
Paul Goodman of Conservative Home thinks that George Osborne is living on borrowed time whichever way the referendum goes:
In the event of that Remain majority, it isn’t hard to guess the most likely course that David Cameron will take. One can almost hear the speech to the 1922 Committee. “Divisive referendum campaign team…mistakes made all round…time for coming together…Labour, our common enemy…plenty to be getting on with…Trident vote…childhood obesity strategy…Heathrow.” All this would signal more than the sum of its good parts. It would be a sign that the Prime Minister intends business as usual, with Osborne in place at the Treasury – and the top Tory team going on more or less as before.
This site has long argued that the Government and Party need a more collegiate style of leadership, recommending that Michael Gove be made Deputy Prime Minister. You may agree or disagree, but matters have reached such a pass that this political tug-of-war is almost beside the point – which is that if the Chancellor is still in place by the end of the summer, the Government is unlikely to get much of its legislation through when the Commons returns. Many of its legislative plans will meet the fate of the academisation-by-2020 plan. If Ministers found it hard to get their business before, they will find it harder still amidst the grudge-laden atmosphere that will follow a Remain win.
There is frenzy about the risks to the Tories of a Leave vote. Less thought has been given to the risks of a Remain one. The biggest is not that the Party would split, but that Britain would be left with a Zombie Government, unable to get its leglisation through Parliament at a time of domestic challenge and international crisis.
Moving the Chancellor from the Treasury to another senior post would not solve this problem, but it would ease it. Who should replace him? In our view, someone who takes a different view from ConservativeHome on this referendum. The only senior politician who has not been compromised by the corners cut by both sides; the only one not to have accused colleagues of lying (directly or indirectly), the only one to have struck a balance between leadership ambition and political principle – in short, Theresa May.
Theresa May as the next Chancellor of the Exchequer? Thoroughly distasteful, but at least it would get the authoritarian Queen of the Surveillance State away from the Home Office…
A quick shout-out to my friends and fellow bloggers-in-arms of The Leave Alliance. These people have taught me much about the European Union, the developing international trade and regulatory environment, and the optimal way in which Britain should leave the EU if we vote Leave.
If you are not already following the blogs listed below, add them to your daily reading now – because which ever way this referendum goes, the campaign for an independent, democratic Britain will go on.
The Sceptic Isle
The Brexit Door
The EU Question
Red Cliffs of Dawlish
“I don’t think you’ve got it in you any more. I don’t think Britain is a strong enough country” – a phrase which was literally just uttered in the Hooper household. This is what we are fighting against. This is the corrosive, pessimistic view of Britain which pervades society from 10 Downing Street on downward. This is why we are likely to vote to remain in the European Union and continue our slow slide into global obsolescence.
Roland Smith, Adam Smith Institute fellow and author of the essay “The Liberal Case for Leave” – an eloquent exposition of the Flexcit approach for leaving the European Union – is waxing poetic:
Well, we Brexiteers have certainly been sneered at and patronised – when we have not been downright insulted. Some unverified reports are suggesting that turnout is so high that it is swinging back to favour Leave (normally, it is assumed that high turnout helps the Remain campaign), in which case the pro-EU establishment may yet hear us.
Pete North is pessimistic:
I believe voters will reject Brexit. I believe this is a rejection of the leave side and their campaign along with their thin gruel manifesto. It is a rejection of the dishonesty of Vote Leave and the weakness of their arguments. It is a rejection of the hyperventilation over immigration. It is a rejection of the Brexit vibe. A movement of people who want change but present no clear idea of what they want or how they envisage getting it.
It is a defeat that collectively we deserve. We had every asset at our disposal. A sour and conniving establishment, a patronising and weak remain campaign and of course, the deeply unpopular European Union. And this time, if the BBC is to be cursed it is not for their bias but their profound ignorance.
But at every stage we have failed to answer the question with clarity as to what Brexit looks like. Only when the fantasy notions put forth by Dominic Cummings were comprehensively demolished did the mainstream leave campaign look elsewhere for ideas, by which time it was already far too late.
I fear that he is right. Though we have seen a number of positive steps in the past few weeks, with the likes of Allister Heath and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard embracing the interim EFTA/EEA (Norway) option as the obvious safe way to extricate ourselves from European political union with minimum economic risk, the breakthrough likely has come too late.
The official Leave campaign – indeed, the entire Westminster bubble, who seem to actively scorn any thought or initiative which does not originate or carry the imprimatur of one of their own – will be to blame if Britain votes Remain when polling closes in three hours.
It’s hard to disagree with Brendan O’Neill’s excoriation of the British Left for dutifully lining up to sing the praises of the European Union, trampling on their principles in the process:
Leftists always give the same two knackered reasons for their campaigning for this rotten outfit. First they say that the people opposing the EU — Boris, Farage, fat blokes who watch football — are so vile that our most pressing task is to keep them in check by voting with the other side, with the EU. What cowardice. They’re elevating their reputations over their consciences; their desire not to rub shoulders with Ukip people over the small matter of principle and what is the right and good left-wing thing to do. What’s more, the only reason the eccentric right has been able to become the No1 critic of the EU’s anti-democratic, economy-strangling behaviour is because the left vacated the field, bottled it, and in the process handed the moral authority of being anti-EU over to the right. They wonder why the right is leading the anti-EU charge, not realising that it’s their sorry, sheepish fault. Goodness, they’re dumb.
And the second reason they give for their bowing before the EU is that Brussels acts as an above-politics guarantor of certain rights: workers’ rights, maternity-leave rights, etc. Let’s leave to one side the (massive) fact that the EU is no friend of working people. What’s ultimately being said here is that we need a distant authority to guard our rights and our wellbeing because we can’t always trust our own governments to do so. Wow. This shatters everything — everything — the left once fought for. It lays to waste the ideals of the Chartists, and the Levellers, and other radicals, whose cry can be summed up as: ‘We can look after ourselves, thanks. Give us the right to do that.’
Benn summed up the folly of leftists looking to Brussels for justice and rights. ‘They believe that a good king is better than a bad Parliament. I have never taken that view’, he said. In a nutshell, the left’s worldview used to be that people power is always preferable to external forms of authority. And now that worldview is dead, done in by a left more concerned with its feelings and standing than with the hard business of fighting for what’s right, and which is now so estranged from ordinary people that it views the good king of Brussels as preferable to the bad parliament us plebs might one day elect. The EU might survive today’s events, but the left won’t. It’s dead, and not only dead but buried. It has thrown its lot in with the very people it was founded a few hundred years ago to challenge: kings and tyrants and other benign guardians of the stupid people.
This blog’s article on Tony Benn and the left-wing case for Brexit has been getting very high traffic for the past few weeks – clearly many British left-wingers instinctively realise that the clinical, europhile party line being parroted by the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn (for shame) is incompatible with democratic values.
Over the past few months Semi-Partisan Politics has attempted to outline the Christian case for Brexit – or at least push back against the lazy, trendy-lefty Christian view that remaining in the EU is automatically a good thing.
The Archbishop Cranmer blog today published a stirring call for Christians to vote Leave. The conclusion:
This Referendum is not only about Christian values, but about national identity. Are we really so feeble that our aspiration to wholeness may be apprehended only in the anti-democratic space? Are we really so fooled that our language of community may only be expressed in terms of political union? Are we really so blind that our morality may only be conceived in the secular Enlightenment conception of man, with his inviolable rights and perfect moral standards? Today is a watershed: Remain, and we perpetuate the self-congratulatory illusion of the abolition of nationalism and the death of God; Leave, and we move beyond myopic Euro-nationalism, spreading our vision upward, downward and outward into the world. There will be upheaval, but nothing that a new mode of thought and sensibility to new nations cannot withstand. Some say this is retrospective illusion: it is, rather, the true globalism of the catholic Christian.
If the Christian ends of peace and reconciliation are to be realised in and by the United Kingdom, our moral outlook must change. The Enlightenment European Union is not the Promised Land, for EUtopia erodes the cosmic order, denies self-determination, keeps the poor in famine and inflicts suffering on its own people. If we seek universal benevolence and justice, they are not found in haughty declarations of subjective rights of immunities and benefits, but in an apprehension of divine dignity; of man created in the image of God for a life of grace, love and service. This is not monkish ignorance or superstition: it is, whether we believe it or not, the truth. You may demand tyrannical impositions of trans-national equality, but God’s blessings flow only from humility; security comes only from self-government; and peace comes only from Christ, with whom believers are exhorted to walk in spirit and truth.
This isn’t a game of point scoring: it is about the moral culture of our civilisation. There is a prideful illusion of a Godless European Empire with its unaccountable omnipotence and infallible dreams of universal justice, equality and rights; or there is the subtler language of the nation under God, within which the unrighteous may be removed and the immoral corrected, rebuked, reformed and restored. You may not agree with this ‘parochial’ view of human nature in the created order, believing instead that political man is moving toward the zenith of moral perfection and that justice is about to flow like a river. But when empires impose their laws and enforce their creeds by natural authority and the people do not obey except out of cynicism, the only solution is the restoration of the true political authority which chimes with the mores and traditions of the people.
So, forget the finger-jabbing niggles of elite establishment politicians sanctified by ecclesial negativity: there is nothing to fear in leaving the European Union. On the contrary, there is hope in liberty; morality in democracy; and prosperity in the restoration of a global outlook. Today is about national self-belief and self-determination. It is about taking back control of our national destiny. Today we vote for freedom. Let today be and hereafter forever be known as UK Independence Day.
Well, I have cast my ballot and (obviously) voted for Britain to leave the European Union. And that means it is now time for a semi-partisan live blog of the EU Referendum.
Dr. Richard North also has an unmissable live blog over at eureferendum.com
Stay tuned for commentary throughout the night, into the morning, and the afternoon, and the evening, and the next night…
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