It seems very odd that so many commentators appear not to know or perhaps pretend not to know, that this was a plebiscite not a general election.
We were not voting for a Leave government, this option was not on offer, we were voting for the option to give our political servants new instructions on how to proceed in respect to our relationship with the EU. It was not for leave to have the plan, it was for the government to have the plan taking into consideration all the demands of the Leave campaign.
Were it not the case that David Cameron [remember him as the one who implored us not to be “quitters” and then promptly quit] had not smugly and arrogantly assumed he would win [he was born to lead why would he ever assume he was not going to win this time!] and had remained above the fight and had a comprehensive and developed contingency plan, for the eventuality we voted to leave, it would not now be chaos.
The responsibility for a Leave plan is down to the government we elected to govern, not the politicians who were running the Leave campaign, which were not all from the governing party. Our government should have carried out detailed contingency planning, canvassing the Leave campaign teams to ascertain what it was they were actually looking for, they failed in this responsibility.
Had this been done, then Cameron could have legitimately walked out on the morning of the 24th with a plan that sounded credible and explain that this is the broad outline of what it was it was hoped to achieve. Following which he could then explain that he was forming a working party mainly from the Leave campaign to progress the exit negotiations. He should also have remained in post while the initial phase was in play, rather than come out sulking and quitting!
The mess is really all of his own making. His lies and arrogance caught him out and it was found that he really was all PR.
For someone who considered himself born to lead, he made a very poor show of it.
David Ballinger, North Yorkshire, UK | @David Ballinger
In Phillippe Legrain’s article he states, “Neither the government nor anyone in the Leave campaign seems to have a plan for how to proceed.”
A lot of people seem to be confusing Vote Leave with a political party. Vote Leave was a campaign to answer a question. Now the question is answered, Vote Leave’s work is done. Why would Vote Leave have a plan to proceed? It is for the government to consider how they will implement the answer given by the nation.
Part of the job of government is to prepare for eventualities, and that Cameron’s government was clearly complacent in having failed to prepare for at least the possibility that they might lose the referendum
Andrew Shakespeare, Caerphilly, Wales, UK
Simon Johnson’s Jul 26 column Will America win or lose from Brexit? – 26th June 2016 links Donald Trump to Nigel Farage. He poses the question whether US voters “Will voters heed the siren song of Trump – and do great damage to the US economy and to the world by embracing a self-destructive effort to wall themselves off from the world? Or will they choose prosperity and a leading global role?”
While a good question, he fails to recognize that the President is not the final authority on treaties and agreements. While the United States Trade Representative is part of the Executive Office of the President, formal treaties must be approved by the Senate — an often daunting task.
Although trade agreements are subject to “fast track authority”, that process simply means that they are treated as as Congressional Executive Agreements that still require a simple majority in both houses of Congress. Again, no mean feat.
For example, approval by Congress of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement spanned two administrations and took five years.
There are plenty of reasons to criticize the often glacial speed of our Congress. But, in contrast to the UK referendum that called for a momentous policy shift with no seeming planning or detailed legislative guidance or input, our often criticized systemic gridlock is looking pretty good.
Frank Salinger, Washington, DC, US | @KStreetLawyer
As a Leave voter I welcome and admire Charlotte Henry’s piece. She is certainly right to be sceptical as to whether, had the result been the other way round, the Leavers would have behaved graciously. And yet, like all post-Brexit articles by Remain supporters, she can’t bring herself to see that the main reason for voting Leave was not immigration but democracy.
Could I suggest that Remainers be more circumspect about their occupation of the moral high ground. They seem to have persuaded themselves that they like foreigners more than Leavers do and that this means they must be nicer people. This doesn’t tally with the hatred and contempt they have shown towards their own people over the last week.
It would appear that the Remainers really can’t get their heads round the fact that most Leavers voted for democracy rather than against immigration. Indeed, they felt so strongly about this issue that they were willing to forgo economic growth in favour of democracy. That is the kind of thing good people do.
Anthony Thompson, Herefordshire, UK | @Anthony Thompson
Dear Ms. Henry,
I’m so glad that you object to the deceitful way that the Referendum was conducted. Me too!
Remembering Mr Cameron’s comment that the Third World War would break out if the British used their democratic right to vote Leave, I’m glad that it hasn’t happened. I’m also glad that Anna Soubry’s prediction of “four million unemployed on the streets the day after Brexit” hasn’t happened either.
The great problem with Project Fear, as run by the top members of our government, is that Fear only encourages a small percentage of people to vote the way you want. It annoys the rest and makes them vote against you.
Unfortunately the last three months of Cameron, Osborne and Carney bad mouthing the economy has had a serious effect on international financiers. I’m quite convinced that this badmouthing will discourage inward investment, and possibly cause a shallow recession .
Let us see whether my prediction is right.
Steve Hallet, Mayfield, UK
Shanker Singham, how many liberal better angels are there for every antiliberal demon conjured up by the Brexit campaign? Liberalism has been weakened by the campaign, in Britain and the EU. You just have to listen to what people are saying and writing. You have no chance of getting your agenda adopted, and certainly not free movement of persons. The utter naivety displayed by yourself and others with admirable intentions has been one the most depressing aspects of the whole sorry affair.
Euan Short, Castilla La Mancha, Spain
The frightfully upbeat article The Fallout from Brexit – 3rd July 2016 by Marian L. Tupy refers to ‘supposed lack of planning’. I expect many outside Brexit circles will find that phrase quite laughable. But this is serious business. When is the UK going to invoke Article 50 and get on with it? No plan and no hurry. ‘Something will turn up’, no doubt, for the Micawber-esque British elite, or, at least, for those of them who are not busy resigning.
I notice a drop in the number of daily predictions of the demise of the Euro and of the EU and none here. Might have something to do with the Pound heading south and likely to travel further while Mr Micawber waits for the EU or whoever to make an offer.
Travel safe, then, in the our globalised world. Just remember Britannia no longer rules the waves, no, she just wants the rest of us to waive the rules. Mr Micawber meets French-sounding Mrs Malaprop. Endless fun will be had by all.
Michael Killian, Brittany, France | @MichaelKillian1
Bye Bye Bye
In Bye-bye to the man who changed British politics – 4th July 2016 Rachel Cunliffe makes good points; but the most overwhelmingly obvious point keeps on not appearing in any medium or outlet which I encounter.
Peter Oborne remarked a couple of years ago that the political class is now a separate interest-group, like bankers. That was and is the most salient comment. Nowadays most current MPs in the Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Nationalist parties are in politics to acquire wealth and privilege. In the past MPs cared for privilege and wealth but also (many of them) about issues, principles. Not now, not really.
If you want a solid proof, consider the past 30 years. Which obvious major abuse in our country has any group of MPs put right? (E.g: the current postal voting system, wide open to fraud and domestic bullying, was denounced by a judge in Birmingham in 2007. Very little effectual change since then.)
This is why only 10 Labour MPs spoke up for Brexit and the rest championed Remain or hid behind the sofa. It is why a majority of Conservative MPs are equally opposed to what the Referendum returns proved to be the majority opinion of voters in safe Tory seats.
The political class has much to gain at a personal level from UK membership of the EU. Large chunks of the electorate feel much disadvantaged by it.
In short, the elephant in the room is the wilful and deliberate disconnection between the voters’ ‘representatives’ at Westminster, and their constituents whom they want not to represent: not for statesmanlike reasons but for private gain.
To conduct the discussion about Brexit and what happens next – as practically all commentators are doing – without focusing on this truth is to stage “Hamlet” without the prince; and heightens afresh my tendency to suppose that the media is ‘in bed with’ the political class. The courtiers did not draw attention to the Emperor’s nakedness; it was a little boy who said his Wondrous New Clothes did not exist; as Mr Farage has done.
(I’d love to hear from someone who disagrees – and *can substantiate their opposing viewpoint with evidence*, evidence I altogether fail to find anywhere. It would cheer me up.)
Peter Scott, Buxton, Derbyshire
I encountered him on an Open University social science course way back in the late 70s. One of the lecturers kept emphasising he was a Labour party member and in those days I was naïve enough to believe him. All the lecturers had very left wing views which some students challenged without much success.
I had always supported mainstream Labour, but even for me these views were too way out and I spoke to my tutor about hard left bias when I got home. He told me just to ignore it and the implication was that it was not important.
By the time I got my degree and went down to support Labour in a by-election at Christchurch Militant were a force inside Labour and were selling their paper outside a meeting with Gordon Brown and others. I remember my husband telling them to push off (he didn’t use quite that term!) and asking them “Haven’t you done enough to ruin Labour?
The re-emergence of the hard left within Labour fills me with dread.
Ann Edwards, Gloucestershire, UK | @anniboulger
Blairites are the entryists. The blind support of Trident, which is not an independent deterrent as we have to American permission to use it. The blind support of privatisation while we allow without a thought French nationalised companies to operate in the UK. These are the problems Blairites have left us with. Corbyn may well not be a good leader but the Blairites would sell their mother to pay the rent.
Keith Proborszcz-Maloney, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
I’ve always thought that free movement was overstated, and that because it relates to a single market it should be maintained as the free movement of labour.
As to trade agreements, I recently wanted to buy some electronic equipment that is manufactured in America. Being in France, I thought I’d order it on Amazon.fr, but the price was prohibitive. When I went to Amazon.UK the price was less than half. Out of interest, I tried Amazon.de and found a price midway between the two. So in this instance, trading with the US, the single market is dysfunctional, but the UK has got the best deal (or is less protectionist).
Barry McCanna, Orne, France