Before addressing the what if we vote to stay I thought it would be worth just thinking about the latest utterance from the one person who is playing the charade of an in out vote on membership of the EU for his own personal advantage – Boris Johnson. Boris, as we must call him, has just made ‘the first big speech of the out campaign’ and as with most things Boris it doesn’t take long to realise it has little substance. (I’m sorry if you are a Boris fan but I am not – yes I find him highly entertaining and I sure he would be wonderful company but I just can’t see him as Prime Ministerial material – but then again an awful lot of American seem to see Donald Trump as Presidential material so what do I know?)
In the speech Boris stated that, in the event we vote to leave, we should try and negotiate a similar trade deal with the EU as Canada has which, on the face of it, has some superficial attractions however close scrutiny soon shows that there are a number of downsides. The first is that it took four years to negotiate and a similar amount of time to ratify (Almost 8 years). The second is that it doesn’t allow easy access to the EU for financial services, which of course is an important issue for Britain that has some of the best financial services in the world and are earn an awful lot of foreign income. So we have the current Mayor of London proposing an approach which could well seriously affect a very important part of the London economy for the worse if the treaty is agreed. In the meantime no one will know where things stand which again will have a significant impact on the success of the city of London. Then again Boris won’t be Mayor should these things come to pass and so will be someone else’s problem. (This could also describe his political career as well – sorry personal prejudice coming in again.)
In a previous post I outline a scenario that might well be followed should we vote to leave the EU. Now I would just like to take a moment to look at what might happen should we vote to stay:
July 2016 – By now the pressure on David Cameron to go would become overwhelming. He leads a party that by and large wanted to leave the EU and he has successfully defeated their wishes. There will be reprisals. At the moment the Conservative party only have a majority of 15 which really is paper thin at the best of times, however, when the majority of back bench MPs feel betrayed by the leadership then it could disappear overnight. Already we have seen a government policy, liberalisation of the Sunday shopping rules, voted down by a combination of Conservative and SNP MPs and this could well become the norm whilst David Cameron is leader;
August 2016 – Whilst Parliament is in recess Conservative MPs will be able to move out of the direct supervision of the Whips at Westminster and so be able to ferment even more trouble for David Cameron who will have little real power over them. The aim of the rebels will be to force the issue at the Conservative party conference in the Autumn. In the meantime back in the real world events will take their toll and the British Government will be ill equipped to deal with them. The most obvious problem that could bring the whole thing crashing down will be the refugee crises in Greece and to a lesser extent Italy. By the end of August things could well have gotten that bad that the EU’s hand will be forced and emergency EU action will have to be taken. Exactly what this would be is unclear but it will be either forced distribution amongst members of the refugees or a surcharge to members to pay for the humanitarian crisis in Greece et al. Either way this is something that will be seized upon by the rebellious Tory MP’s for their own ends. Of course it could well be the unknowable unknowables that could cause a real problem for the Government but if they make it through August unscathed then that will be a miracle;
September/October 2016 – The pressure will really grow by know and try as he might David Cameron will not be able to draw a line under anything. In the end he may well bow to the invertible and agree to go. This might sound brutal but this is the party that dumped Margaret Thatcher just before going to war in Iraq so discount the ruthlessness of the Tory party at your peril;
November 2016 – With David Cameron agreeing to go by the beginning of 2017 some semblance of order is restored to the Tory ranks. That is until the candidates for the leadership are announced. Under the party rules the MP’s have to select only two candidates to stand for election by the membership and so some vicious arm twisting will be undertaken by each of the supporters of the candidates who have been nominated. I suspect that the final two will be between Theresa May and a.n. other. Boris, whilst popular with the public is viewed with great suspicion/jealousy amongst the other MPs and so he won’t make it to the other slot;
December 2016 – The election will take place amongst the Tory party and a winner will be announced who will then have a very busy Christmas trying to pull together his/her team so that when they are invited to form a government by Her Majesty in early January 2017 she/he will be able to hit the ground running with a major reshuffle;
January 2017 – Finally some sense of calmness will have descended on the Tory benches just in time for all the MP’s to notice that their current seat may be affected either slightly or greatly by the boundary changes and then they will have to start the process of seeking selection for the new seats.
You will notice that this almost exclusively covered the unseemly machinations of the Tory party but then again the whole referendum is really about the Tory party rather than Great Britain as a whole. Indeed if there had been another coalition then none of this would be taking place – which of course there wasn’t so here we are. However, other things will have taken place and these could include:
- The Labour party hold their own in the local elections in England but showing few signs of making any gains in the areas where they need to win the next election in 2020. They probably will win the Mayoral election in London. However, the party will be driven into third place in Scotland and will loose their overall majority in Wales. Both of these things will cause pandemonium amongst their MP’s at Westminster but have little effect on the Leader because he still has the support of the membership;
- The SNP will become emboldened by the results in Scotland and there will be significant rumbles for another referendum to leave the UK . Some of this will subside when the UK votes to stay in the EU and the party fortunes start to turn when the voters of Scotland start to realise that they are now responsible for funding much of the unsustainable SNP policies. This time it will be much more difficult to lay the blame at London but there will be many attempts to do so;
- A new President of the United States of America will be selected in November 2016 and there is every chance it will be Donald Trump. If it is then a period of great uncertainty will descend over the world as governments try and work out what that will mean to them. A similar calculation will be undertaken in the House of Representatives and Senate of the United States. It is far from clear exactly this does mean. If Hillary Clinton is elected she may spend much of her transition fighting off calls for her to be prosecuted for some offence or another – hardly the best way to take over;
- Syria will not change much – it will still be a running sore that leads to thousands of more deaths and many more people fleeing the country;
- ISIS may well start to collapse due to the contradictions of its own creation – however they will no doubt be replaced by some other network that is more than happy to carry on their work. Do not discount some form of a spectacular attack, assassination of one of the Presidential hopefuls might be attempted. If, god forbid, this were to happen then any scenario won’t be good and it will place the petty feuding of the Tory party in pretty bad light.
Whichever way you cut it the second half of 2016 is going to be monumental and lets us hope and pray, even if you don’t believe in a god(s), that we get to 2017 unscathed. Equally, I could have got things so wrong that none of the above happens and we swim through the second half with few problems. I hope this is the case but I don’t really believe that.