The UK held a referendum five months ago on whether it should remain a member of the European Union. One simple question was asked: Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU?
I know this because the question was written on my ballot paper – see below
However, one thing that has been clear since before “Independence Day”, but increasingly so since 23 June, is that many people seem to believe they were voting in a normal election with political parties, “party lines”, manifestos and the like.
This belief manifests itself every time a talking head on TV or the media talks about the things that can be implied from the result of the referendum. (I’m looking at you Jacob Rees-Mogg)
And what’s worse is that this implied “Leavers’ Manifesto”, a wholly fictional construct, seems to mutate from day to day. Whereas talk could be found pre-referendum of different post Brexit options (EEA, Norway model, Swiss model etc) we now seem to hear talk more and more of the so called “Hard Brexit”.
The result of which is that some Leavers now seem to be convinced that their ballot papers looked like this
The point of all of the above is simply to remind everyone that we don’t know what the post-Brexit environment will be. We don’t know whether Brexit will be “Hard or soft”, “black, white or grey” or indeed “red, white and blue”(*). Only the basic question at the top of this post was actually asked on 23 June and taking pause to consider the path to Brexit is not frustrating the result but merely checking that we’re not going to walk into anything on our way out.
The other thing to remember is that the case currently being heard in the Supreme Court is not a subversion of the “will of the people” and the judges hearing that case, whatever decision they come to, are not “enemies of the people”. They are just 11 people doing their job to decide one element of how the government should go about the process of actioning the answer to the question asked in June.
The UK has voted to leave membership of the EU. The mechanism of that exit and what the post exit landscape looks like however has not been decided.
Just some things to think about as we make the best of this omnishambles.
Mark Richardson 8 December 2016
(*) though I’m fairly sure we’re going to end up with a Black and Blue Brexit!