We’ve made our bed and now we have to weasel out of it
So the UK does still have influence in the world. We might no longer be sending gunboats around the seas to make our diplomatic points but we ’ve managed to throw financial markets into turmoil with just a few thousand pencils. Like Hamlet we’ve seen a terrifying ghost, been given an order and we’re not sure what to do. Let’s hope the outcome isn’t the same. Don’t drink the wine if Johnson and Cameron start duelling.
It must have been recognised that the EU issue is a lot more complex than the two referendum options of Leave or Remain allowed, but as nobody had the faintest idea that Leave would win noone was really bothered. So none of the complexities of Leaving were spotted and discussed. A break up of the UK? An independent Scotland? Northern Ireland dropping the Northern? This destruction wasn’t what people voted for. None of this had been pondered as a Leave vote was such an impossibility that it just wasn’t an option.
Now however it is an option. A great big, frightening option. And no one understands quite how it happened. We’re like children in a house with no fireplace trying to figure out how exactly Santa delivered their presents.
But the presents are here and we have to deal with them. Bart Simpson is rarely a person to go to for guidance, but at this time he has the most sage advice: We’ve made our bed and now we have to weasel out of it.
How should we do that? The UK has voted to leave the EU in its current form. But it has not yet expressed an opinion on what to replace it with. Here’s a simple four point plan to get us out of this difficulty.
1. Calm down, it’s only an advisory referendum.
2. Political parties decide their preferred way of continuing with Europe, whether that be a Norway option, complete extraction from the EU or a renegotiated position.
3. A general election with each party standing on its European position and the chance to vote for positive change
4. After the election we have a mandate for change or no change which will have to be implemented. Of course a party may win which has a mandate to stay in the EU under newly negotiated positions.
Will the EU negotiate a new position with us? Cut through the waffle and hard-man talk – the EU will suffer if the UK leaves. Apart from hurt pride there is no reason for them not to attempt to keep the UK in the EU fold. This vote could be the wakeup call that the EU needs, and could signify a new period of reduced bureaucracy and more representation.
We’ve taken a big step towards what could be a huge mistake, but after a deep breath it is perfectly possible to find a better position for not just the UK but all the members of the EU.