Just the very quickest of thought experiments:  So, I’d be grateful for help in thinking this through.

1140-What-you-need-to-know-when-looking-at-reverse-mortgage-options.imgcache.rev1445022043384.web.458.263Namely, whether a pro-Remain party (maybe Labour under Jarvis or Chuka, or maybe a reborn Libs), or two, might find themselves with the seat balance after an Autumn snap election.  Standing, say, on a ‘Let’s Not Leave’ platform.

Or, for that matter, even in the next General Election.

I would imagine the three possible circumstances then are these:

(1) If Article 50 hasn’t been triggered (and Cameron has said he will leave this for his successor to do, after he leaves office in Autumn), then there’s no problem at all–the referendum was advisory, and would be overtaken (I think) by a party winning a General Election with a manifesto commitment to overturn it;
(2) if 50 has been notified to the European Council, but the two years aren’t up, we’re in uncharted territory and I don’t think there’s an answer;
(3) if the UK leaves under 50 and the next government coming in wants to reverse that, 50 says they must reapply under 49 – and again, we don’t know quite how hard or easy the other members would make that, but rejoining’s laid out at least as an explicit option.

The political will for this mightn’t seem so very impossible – for one, with the possibility of buyers’ remorse.  There was an upsurge in Google searches, after polls closed, about what the referendum was about.  (See The Week  and – I’m very sorry to do this – the Daily Mail).  Cornish people, by the way, who were a strong Leave bloc (57%), seem to have missed the point that they receive £60 million a year from the EU.

It also might emerge there was a widespread sense important facts were misrepresented in the campaign. Farage today retracted the pledge that there would be £350 million in extra funding for the NHS, from savings from the UK’s EU contributions (c.f.,  Telegraph here).  And 80% of Leave voters told exit pollsters was an important factor in their decision.  Dan Hannan made a similar retraction about whether immigration levels would go down.  (This was the second most cited reason Leave voters gave for their vote).

Or there might be a change in circumstances (such as a sudden downturn the UK economy, brought about by a reduction in credit ratings making borrowing more expensive).

There’s of course one final ‘reverse’ option, which simply if PM Boris turns out not to be a true believer, and – maybe aided by the above – finds a political course through to fudging it.  Maybe coaxing like-minded nations such as the Netherlands into agreements for root-and-branch EU reform.  Or a second, ‘no, really’ referendum.

And finally, in the longer term, I’d give the UK about 16 years to rejoining anyway under Article 49, because of generational shifting….


I’m really sincerely grateful for your thoughts…


30 year old journalist thing. Buys loo roll on eBay.

  • Jim M

    During Boris’ press conference I’m pretty sure he said we ‘won’t be triggering Article 50’ and didn’t add ‘yet’. I did wonder if this signalled a potential fudge, or at least a desire to keep all options open. I think there’d be tremendous public anger if it was reneged on, but you never know what can be achieved with some careful massaging by one’s chums in the press.

  • Abucs

    I’m in favour of democracy …. but.

    Don’t complain then if others also disrespect the democratic law that you vote for.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    There is no going back..this is a 1922 moment.

  • sadie

    ls this decision there no get out clause.Looks like an example will be made for daring to leave[see BBC website] which will deter others.

  • Boglover

    A analogy for where we are now is one of those priceless jars that gets broken and is expertly repaired. It definitely isn’t the original and if you look closely enough you can see the repairs.
    The most significant factor externally, but not considered in this thought experiment, will be the speed and degree of disintegration of the EU. Even if a pro-remain party forms, UK would not be remaining in the same organisation that it voted to leave. The very act of voting to leave has changed the EU irrevocably.
    It is a nasty fact of democracy that individuals have different horizons when it comes to considering how far their democratic considerations should extend. Where to set the boundary; just themselves, their family, their friends/social group, their “nation”, their region and beyond? Annoyingly (and well demonstrated during the referendum campaign), people use different horizons for different issues and then try to rationalise the results – not always consistently.
    Things really won’t ever be the same again, even if all the pieces are glued back together.

  • ZimaBlue

    I think the most likely of the remain options is a coalition of parties joining together as a united remain group, probably labour, Lib dems and maybe SNP, although nicola seems to be making hay while the sun shines. Next most likely is the eu offers “devo max” followed by a second referendum.

    The most likely option of all is Boris as PM, no trade deal with EU out in 3=5 years during which time there’s been no investment and companies moving staff to EU countries.

    If we do avoid brexit then UKIP could evolve into a very dangerous entity. Imagine the anger amongst white working classes voters.

  • jporter

    Part of the many problems we face in modern society, is our disconnection from politics and the forces that shape our lives, our unwillingness to take responsibility for our actions, our childlike desire to be protected from negative consequences.
    People had the chance to research the issues and not just passively listen, then everyone had the chance to vote.
    The result in and now we need to face up to the consequences, no matter what they are, like adults.

  • Surveyor

    First it was admitted that the £350 million pound a week saving was untrue, and now a leave campaigner has said that they can’t or won’t limit freedom of movement. So already two of the biggest leave arguments have been exposed as lies, how many more are there to come?

  • On the fence!

    Honest to goodness, what is the problem with the political and media classes, are your heads all so far up your own backsides that you’ve no concept at all of the feelings of the “plebs” on the street that you’re supposed to serve but actually just continually talk down to.

    First of all this wasn’t supposed to happen, actually that’s not right, it just wasn’t GOING to happen. But now it has happened, it was a mistake, and all of us silly deluded people that voted out are so full of remorse and fear for our actions that given the chance tomorrow we’d vote the other way, wouldn’t we.

    Well you know what, you all got it wrong once and you’re still getting it wrong. Given the mood in England, anyone standing on a “lets not leave” ticket is probably going to loose their deposit in anywhere other than inner city London. The good people of Cornwall probably are smart enough to know that EU money is just someone elses money anyway, and who’s to say that the Google searches aren’t “remainers” finding out just why the majority of their fellow UK citizens done them a favour.

    As for the time demographic, that’s going to work badly against the EU as well given the number of ticking time bombs they have stuffed in cupboards about the place, all of which will detonate sooner or later.

    England wanted out, Wales wanted out, Northern Ireland was a lot closer than anticipated (and actually so was Scotland!) whereas the spin is that were are actually being lead in to something against our will by a small number of either xenophobes or idiots.

    Not sure which of the two to be personally!

  • Ciaran74

    What’s your relevance of 1922 Robert?

  • On the fence!

    It was never touted as a “saving”, that is untrue. Besides, while an exact “net” contribution does not exist (EU accountancy is not that accurate, deliberately!), 10 seconds with even a basic smartphone would give you a reasonable approximation of the UK’s net annual contribution if you were that interested.

    As for immigration, they never said they’d stop it, that would be economic suicide. They said that leaving the EU was necessary to have full control of it, which it is! Farage continually refused to put an annual figure on migration as he said it would be silly.

    You may find something else to feel offended about, or pay heed to what people are actually saying in future!

  • jporter

    There’s plenty more lies, but most were exposed or questioned during the campaign, if people had taken the time to listen.
    It was obvious from the start that there is no Brexit plan and no Brexit guarantees. That’s what people voted for, now we just need to get on with it.
    There will be many people affected positively or negatively by this, factories may move, people may lose jobs, some of my friends and family may lose jobs.
    I voted remain, but that’s democracy, despite the potential negatives. Sure, it’s an interesting thought experiment, but I find the idea that we should reverse the decision to be utterly repulsive.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Not sure what the age table represents Pádraig: that the youngsters don’t have any attention span or experience or the oldies are completly lacking in responsibility or demented!

    I have a simpathy with Agrippa when he complained to Augustus that he was fed up with being taught lessons by youngsters who haven’t yet learnt how to p*ss in a pot!

    Young people get old and finally learn how to close a door and switch a light off: wash their own under-rods and cook for themselves!

  • T.E.Lawrence

    It’s a petty the Elitists and Political Class ignored the concerns of those White Working Class Voters. They now reap what they sowed !

  • Tarlas

    Honest to goodness ! I think I will just sit on the fence and listen to Teddy Thompson, sing a Leonard Cohen song and let events unfold.

  • Surveyor

    The spinning is starting already I see.

  • Surveyor

    You do realise that all this will eventually lead to the breakup of the UK don’t you? Not to mention London, which voted to remain resentful of the fact that it will be expected to prop up financially the cities which voted to leave.

    What if London decided to leave England in order to remain in the E.U?

  • On the fence!

    If you were stupid enough to base your voting decision (or any decision for that matter) on a 10sec sound bite or message on a mobile billboard, then you’re going to be mislead whatever the occasion.

    If however (as I suspect) you actually do have a grasp of the real situation, then you’re just sore at losing and looking around for any excuse to have a gripe.

    Take your pick!

  • On the fence!

    Will it, how do you know that?

  • OneNI

    A number of points.
    First the Cornish maybe realised that the money they receive is UK taxpayers money that has gone to Brussels and come back
    As for the yoof voting us back in 16 years time… Even in five years in a UK that continues that continues to outperform the EU (ironically Cameron is a victim of his own success having helped create more jobs in the UK than the entire EU put together and this stoked resentment about immigration!) and the Euro collapses in the meantime would the new youth vote to rejoin? Highly unlikely.
    On Farage (who I despise) HE never said the £350m figure – the official campaign did. He was not part of that.
    On Hannam’s point – there is no retraction in his remarks.
    Finally please respect the democratic decision of the UK – don’t succumb to the nonsense of ‘NI voted to remain in the EU’ etc it didn’t it expressed an opinion on the UNITED KINGDOM’S position in the EU.
    There was a long debate with loads of facts (and lies) from all sides and on a high turnout the people decided

  • Redstar

    I think you need to recheck you facts. Scotland voted to remain in every single region, 30 I think out of 30.- and by a hell of a higher percentage than the 51/49 overall out vote. Why in gods name should the Scots who voted overwhelmingly to stay in be taken out by chinless wonders, crackpots and little Englanders.

    Furthermore does anyone seriously think when it comes to regional grants, farming grant, fisheries etc that the chinless Tory wonders in Whitehall are going to match pound for pound the monies for these grants from the ” savings” from not paying into the EU. They don’t exactly have a track record of pouring money into areas where they hardly get a single vote.

  • chrisjones2

    Sorry but this reminds me of this argument

  • Reader

    Surveyor: What if London decided to leave England in order to remain in the E.U?
    You have been an anti-partitionist all your life. You’ll oppose it.

  • Jollyraj

    Personally, I think that nobody in the UK has, as yet, had a democratic experience on this issue.

    Of course what now needs to take place is for a quick negotiation on what ‘the deal’ on Brexit would actually be, and then have that ratified (or not) in a further referendum.

    That is not a ‘second’ referendum on the same issue – the issue in the first referendum was decidedly not ‘do you want to Brexit at any price’, simply ‘do you want to Brexit’. The issue to be decided in a consequent referendum (or parliamentary vote) is obviously ‘do you accept the plan to Brexit at this cost?’

    A fudge? Not really, just an obvious part of a democratic process – and one which no one ever bothered to explain to voters, because almost nobody thought it would ever be necessary.

    (Heck, even some of the ‘Leavers’ like Farage must be privately devastated – if this does go through he has just pressed self-destruct on his own political career. What on earth would be the point of UKIP in a post-Brexit UK.)

  • jporter

    The Scots voted to stay in the UK and then voted on the UK’s membership of the EU.
    It was surely clear to anyone that even vaguely follows politics that the Tories are never going to match the EU’s grants.
    However democracy has been done and we need to get on with it. Hopefully that will mean that everyone who voted for Brexit stays politically motivated and follows through on voting for a government that represents their interests.

  • On the fence!

    My facts are fine thanks. The majority was essentially two to one, a substantial majority indeed, but I heard an SNP’er saying that Scotland was “100% remain”, simply not true by percentage population which is what the vote was based on. Conducting it by electoral wards was simply (and correctly) a logistical solution for holding the referendum.

    There is a much bigger issue here that both the Scots and ourselves should be aware of. Neither of us are financially independent, far from it, and the indications are that the fabled “hard working English taxpayer” is starting to get a bit pissed off baling us out (either via Whitehall or Brussels) in return for nothing more than insults and hatred. If they stop baling out Brussels, as they have plainly indicated they no longer wish to do, then at least as part of the UK we might have some chance of holding on to some of it. Whereas being in the EU will be utterly worthless!

    Maybe we should both be (a) making more constructive plans to actually support ourselves in future, and (b) shout a bit less and hope they don’t notice us living off their backs in the meantime!

  • Jollyraj

    UKIP is dead.

    If we do Brexit, they no longer have a reason to exist.

    If we don’t then yes, they would have to explain to their voters why the referendum could never be a simple one time vote -What happens if as one suspects it might the only deal that Europe will give us is unacceptable? – and a yes vote was always going to lead to some form of second vote to ratify the negotiated exit deal.

    Why didn’t they explain that? They didn’t think that even a referendum would really happen, and likely privately hoped it wouldn’t happen

  • Old Mortality

    The very small margin in favour of Leave and the disappointing turnout – less than 75% – makes it likely that there will be parliamentary manoeuvring to nullify the result.
    There should have been a 50% of the electorate threshold in the first place which would have required the Leave campaign to persuade people who were capable of questioning the validity of their arguments. Its cynical exploitation of the NHS sacred cow turned me into a Remain voter but would certainly have struck a chord with witless pensioners.

  • Redstar

    Again your facts are somewhat lopsided. This idea of bailing out Brussels as you put it , refers to UK paying into the EU. What some of mainly naive gingoistic curmudgeons who voted Brexit didn’t seem to understand is this- if as the Brexiteers told us they can continue to trade with the EU in the same ( general) format as Norway, you STILL have to contribute billions into the EU- it’s a bit like being a non member of a club, no ongoing fees but you still have to pay if you want to use the facilities

  • Redstar

    And already the Brexit leaders are saying savings from paying into EU will not necessarily mean extra money for NHS

  • Brendan Heading

    Farage today retracted the pledge that there would be £350 million in extra funding for the NHS

    There are a few details being lost in the froth here. This claim was made by the official Leave campaign, of which various Tories and the DUP were part, but not by UKIP or Farage. Which make sense, as Farage is on record as supporting the privatisation of the NHS.

    This is a question that should be put to Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.

  • On the fence!

    Nonsense, the UK is not Norway and there is no precedent to suggest how the UK’s deal with the EU will work out.

    What probably SHOULD happen is that the exit deal should be agreed with the EU and then put to the people again. Wouldn’t need to be a big campaign, no “in” or “out” camps, publish the deal in it’s entirety and let us vote, and then we’d all know EXACTLY what we’re voting for whereas this was just speculation on all sides. Some will still just vote the same way no matter what (the naive gingoistic curmudgeons for leave and the one-eyed narrow-minded little nationalists for remain), but as it was so close, depending on the deal there could be enough swayed to change one way or the other (including myself) to either swing it back or make it more definite.

    But we had to vote “leave” in the first place to have any chance of that, or some similar scenario, happening, and I actually think that there’s a pretty decent chance that it might!

  • On the fence!

    Strangely enough I just said the same thing on a post higher up the page but hadn’t seen your comment at that time.

    Sorry, wasn’t trying to steal your thoughts.

  • Granni Trixie

    I did. What a magnificent voice and arrangement.

    Comparing Teddy Thompsons take on one of my favourite Cohen songs is just the distraction I need in the the aftermath of you- know-what.

  • OneNI

    “It was surely clear to anyone that even vaguely follows politics that the Tories are never going to match the EU’s grants”
    This is pure prejudice on your part and not supported by any examination of the facts on public expenditure

  • OneNI

    Would you apply that rule to Scotland or a border poll in NI?

  • jporter

    Surely in that case, where the alternative is effectively a second go at remain, it would be in the EU’s interests to give us as bad a deal as possible?

  • Jollyraj

    Probably, yes. But in any case the EU has no incentive whatever to give us anything but a terrible deal. We’re doing them no favours by Brexit, and they’ll want to discourage others from the same path.

  • jporter

    No, just speculation, however as we are in the middle of a series of austerity policies from the government, speculation with pretty reasonable foundations.
    Indeed many people would make a positive case that the grants shouldn’t be matched, so your accusation of prejudice, is just, well, prejudice.

  • Surveyor

    But it wasn’t a 10 sec sound bite or mobile message board.

    Here in Newry for example I received a glossy handout through the post explaining that leaving the E.U. would save £50 million per day, which could then be distributed to the N.H.S. amongst other claims.

    There is also large leave posters attached to the traffic light railings at North St Newry proclaiming the same thing.

    The Leave campaign fought a dirty war but now they have the temerity to blame the misled voters who voted for them in good faith for lacking intelligence!

    If nothing else I admire their sheer chutzpah.

  • On the fence!

    OK, my mistake, I should have said “10sec sound bite, message on a mobile billboard, or a glossy leaflet through the letterbox”. I missed one, probably because we live out in the sticks and didn’t get any of those.

    Anyhow, to simply accuse “leave” of the “dirty war” is being mighty one-eyed about it. The vast majority of the “remainers” campaign of intimidation has been proven to be absolute nonsense already.

    Unless you believe the BBC line that the country is presently in the grip of a crisis that is!

  • ZimaBlue

    It seems that brexit was voted for by English and Welsh tory shires and traditional working class. Just where UKIP is strong. Labour and tory are now so far from representing their own voters and are closer to each other on many issues than them. UKIP could end up as a serious political power to represent the socially conservative, non – pc, traditional beliefs of these two groups.

  • Surveyor

    Well what’s the big delay then? I thought you wanted out of the E.U. so why the big wait to implement article 50?

  • John Collins

    A contributor to the ‘Irish Times’ today said the Leave crowd were a kin to a dog who having chased a bus, enjoyed the chase, but did not know what to do with the said bus when he caught up with it.

  • jporter

    Admittedly I didn’t see the full press conference from Boris, but from what I saw he looked like he lost rather than won.
    It dawned on me then that none of them actually wanted to win, even Farage.
    Considering the magnitude of the decision, that’s quite incredible.
    Ranting from the sidelines as the underdogs was fun and good for publicity, but they’ve no interest in the real work afterwards, which is probably why they wanted Cameron to stay on and do the heavy lifting.
    Cameron said stuff that and fair play, I don’t blame him.

  • Kobi

    I think it is only democratic that we have a general election to choose the next PM and as usual they should be free to stand based on what ever manifesto pledge they wish, including remaining in the EU. If the nation chooses them then thats that, if not then the people have spoken. Regardless the public must be allowed to elect a new PM.

  • Robert ian Wiliams

    1922 partitioned Ireland forever.

  • Paddy Reilly

    The difference between Irish partitionism and (mooted) English partitionism is that in England things can be so much friendlier. The point of having one régime in London and another in Sunderland is so that the City can save banking jobs and the fishermen and miners of County Durham can save fisheries and coal mines. It should be an amicable arrangement, like Duty Free or the extra-territoriality of Embassies.

    We could either have a small Bremain territory: the City of London has always had different rules; or a small Brexit territory: the Palatinate of Durham, for example.

  • John Collins

    In all fairness there are several candidates now who seem to have anger as a policy, but have no intention of taking power to sort out whatever it is they are angry about. The UK FPTP voting system keeps their numbers down at Westminster, but our PRSTV caper is a disaster and returns SF, Independents, Anti Austerity etc, all who have nothing constructive to offer and fear being in power vile a virulent plague.

  • Paddy Reilly

    please respect the democratic decision of the UK

    Why? The entity you name yourself for came into being by not respecting the democratic decisions of the U.K. when it didn’t like them. Change the constitution too much and people start to change the geography.

  • Ciaran74

    Ah, I thought you had something insightful for me.

  • Redstar

    Not quite accurate as one of the reasons they were told it was best to vote against independence was it guaranteed their EU status!!!!

  • jporter

    The pledge for a EU referendum was made at the start of 2013, over a year before the Scottish vote.
    At the time of the vote, the Scots knew it was on the cards with a Tory victory in the GE, then they helped make it happen by ditching Labour en masse.

  • Redstar

    You missed the point
    Scots were told they were better staying with UK as it guaranteed their EU status. If they opt for another ind referendum what are they going to be told this time-we lied first time but now you’re better off staying cos we are out of Europe even though you voted to stay in!!!

    Can’t have it both ways

  • Kevin Breslin

    British flags before prosperity, I guess. Didn’t work for the 26 counties in the end.

  • jporter

    I’m not sure what the point is. It doesn’t matter what they were told – at the time of the vote it was clear that a vote on the EU and therefore Brexit was a possibility in the future.
    The vote was about whether the UK stayed in the EU, not Scotland, as they’d already acknowledged that they were part of the UK, with the knowledge that an EU vote had a good chance of coming in the future.

  • Reader

    Well, the City of London is a tiny part of London, and that doesn’t address the issue, so a larger area would need to be chosen. However, the Khanate is still smaller than Remainia, so the petition to get the mayor of London to make a UDI also doesn’t address the issue. How about a boundary commission?

  • Paddy Reilly

    The idea is that the City of London, an outpost of the EU and the Eurozone, would house all the international Banks which needed to be located in the EU, while the Bank Workers would all live in the much cheaper Devaluestan which surrounds it. Ordinary people would venture into this area only to acquire affordable wine, olives and feta cheese. (Similar conditions obtain in the part of France near to Geneva, with loads of people crossing the border to work.)

    Alternatively, a section of North Eastern England could be reserved for English people who cannot stand immigrants, like pale ale and have no desire to holiday abroad. Deflation would reduce the currency to Moldovan levels, but all the people would be employed in a newly revived industry, inasmuch as that is possible without immigrants, sup Tetlys, eat black pudding and holiday in Skegness.