So the people have spoken, and Young Dave has asked to be left alone in the study with a reassuringly expensive bottle of Scotch and a loaded revolver. Into the looming power vacuum have arrived those Men Who Would Be King, London’s former occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and his slippery sidekick Michael “Oiky” Gove. It is to them that Cameron has left the momentous decisions.
A complete Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
And decisions are something they need to get on and take: the Government in Madrid is talking of joint sovereignty over Gibraltar, which voted overwhelmingly for Remain, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has taken steps to reassure the one million EU citizens living and working in the capital that they are valued and safe, and in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has very publicly appeared before a backdrop consisting of the EU flag and the Saltire - no Union Flag to be seen - suggesting a second independence vote is highly likely.
Moreover, there has been a joint statement from the EU this morning, expressing regret over the British decision, but also impatience over the implementation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which is necessary before any member state can leave the EU. That impatience is down entirely to the market uncertainty triggered by last night’s result.
This is what the statement said about what should happen now: “We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way. Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave the European Union. We stand ready to launch negotiations swiftly with the United Kingdom regarding the terms and conditions of its withdrawal from the European Union”.
There was more: “Until this process of negotiations is over, the United Kingdom remains a member of the European Union, with all the rights and obligations that derive from this. According to the Treaties which the United Kingdom has ratified, EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the United Kingdom until it is no longer a Member”. Also, the measures negotiated by Cameron before the referendum will not now be enacted.
So what has Bozza done on Article 50, an action which Cameron has quite deliberately left for his successor? Simples. His first instinct was to chicken out of it. “There is no need for haste”. Sorry to rain on your victory parade, Bozza, but there is every need for haste. You wanted this result, now you have to act. Like very soon.
Sadiq Khan and Nicola Sturgeon are demanding seats at the Brexit negotiating table for London and Scotland. Businesses, many of which have planning horizons measured in years, need certainty - and if they do not get it, many will move across the Irish border or across the Channel. It’s no use doing the shrug of the shoulders and addressing “My friends” this time. And it’s not like London, where there was usually someone else to take the actual decisions while Bozza was swanning around elsewhere.
You wanted this situation, Bozza. Now quit stalling and show some leadership.