The people spoke. The majority voted to leave the European Union. So what happened the morning after? Would the politicians move to heed the voters’ word, and put in train the process for leaving? Would we see all those pledges made during the campaign acted upon? Would migration numbers come down? Would the NHS get the extra money talked about? The answer, to no surprise at all, is that we would see precisely nothing.
There was no action on leaving the EU - not on our side, anyway. The other 27 member states were ready and waiting to begin the process of negotiations by which Britain would be guided through the Out door, but action from Westminster was there none. Young Dave had resigned, and whoever succeeded him would have to do the deed. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty remained in its box. And it looked like it would stay there.
It got worse: during ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was questioned by co-hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on the “£350 million” NHS promise. That, he declared was a mistake. Hang on a minute, countered Ms Reid, people were told that was going to happen when they went to vote. No, replied Nige, that was the other Leave crowd. Nothing to do with him. He just did scares about brown people from the Middle East.
Ms Reid may have been unimpressed, but her intervention was bettered in some style by Evan Davis on BBC Newsnight, who, on asking Dan, Dan The Oratory Man whether immigration would now be cut to the tens of thousands, was informed that remaining in the European Economic Area (EEA) (the “Norway option”) would still mean free movement and so may not reduce migration at all. Davis could not contain his exasperation.
People had voted on the basis of cutting immigration, he told a smirking Hannan, who deflected by pretending there was a difference between free movement of people and free movement of labour, which the authorities in Andalucia may find interesting, given the free movement of rather a lot of Brits who are not labouring into their back yard. And joining the EEA would mean paying into the EU budget - just like we do now.
The Vote Leave principals, Bozza and Michael “Oiky” Gove, tried to downplay expectations and pretended that there was no hurry to invoke Article 50. But the period of negotiations, which would last at least two years, would need it to be invoked if Britain was to leave the EU, and leaving the EU was what the country had chosen. They had their mandate. Dave was going. The field was clear. Why would they not act?
On top of that, the Sun, one of the Brexit cheerleaders, has now admitted to its readers that holidays abroad may cost more, roaming charge caps may be abandoned, and savings may be affected, plus that old staple House Prices. Taking all of that together, it’s not impossible to see that many who voted for Britain to leave the EU will begin to feel that they were taken for mugs. But it’s a bit late for buyer’s remorse now.
You were lied to on an industrial scale. But what can you do about it now?