If Article 50 is the starting gun, how does the UK get there?

Well, helpfully for the Tories, Labour is having a meltdown over their own lame duck leader and so (barring an uncanny and uncharacteristic lucky turn in fortunes) may be discounted as providing any serious drag on defining how the Article 50 process for leaving the EU might process.

There’s a deal of scepticism as to whether Brexit will ever happen. That’s partly to do with the way it was sold (with everyone offering their own maximal vision of what could be achieved with money that currently goes to Brussels), and partly to do with the enormity of the task.

Gideon Rachman in the FT says he doesn’t believe it will happen, and that what may happen instead is that some class of associate membership will replace the full membership the country currently enjoys.

However, Steve Moore’s argument on Medium lays out a number of realistic scenarios coming up, once the next Conservative leader has been chosen…

  1. Seek a mandate in a General Election either before triggering A50
  2. Trigger A50 and seek a mandate for their negotiating stance via a General Election
  3. Trigger A50 without a Parliamentary vote and negotiate through to near the end of this fixed term Parliament in 2018
  4. Call a Parliamentary vote on A50 and if they win take that as the mandate
  5. Call a Parliamentary vote on A50 and if they lose call what would be a bitter ugly General Election

He tips option 2. Politically, inaction on this by the government party which triggered this is not a realistic option. Moore notes:

The scale of anti-political feeling that fuelled Brexit is bad enough now. Imagine how it would escalate if there was attempt by what is perceived to the establishment to renege on the referendum result?

What drives the doubt of sceptics like Rachman is the divergence in what might satisfy the needs of those who voted the UK out? What is ‘out’? How much ‘out’ is needed? Would some class of associate membership allowing the UK to cap migrant numbers do it?

ADDS: Don’t get distracted by the October date set by Cameron, Tory culture works more quickly than Labour’s. New leader could be in place within six weeks. Hitting Labour with a general election whilst it’s counting angels on pinheads, won’t be pretty.

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  • Anglo-Irish

    Interesting comment on the radio yesterday by a lawyer regarding Article 50.

    He explained that there is no specific laid down procedure for triggering the option.

    Apparently it’s open to interpretation and could even be taken as being already triggered by the result of the referendum.

    I mentioned this to my daughter who worked for years in the local council finance department dealing specifically with EU funding.She is still in finance with the University and still dealing with Brussels on occasion.

    She explained that this was par for the course with EU rules and regulations, they are all open to interpretation, whenever a query was raised there was usually anything up to ten contradicting opinions on the answer.

    It appears several countries want us gone as quickly as possible whilst Germany and Ireland want us to be given time, interesting to see how that plays out.

  • Declan Doyle

    It is in everybody’s interest to get this thing done and dusted as soon as possible. The longer it drags out, the greater the risk for continued instability.

  • Angry Mob

    Associate membership would be the worst possible outcome and I beleive would leave us worse off than before.

  • Kev Hughes

    True that, but no one wants to ACTUALLY trigger article 50 and watch the economy take a further tanking. Cameron has left that shitty task to whomever follows

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Not so sure there: act in haste, repent at leisure is a lesson recently learned by some of the elecorate. Govts need to be more prudent.

  • Brendan Heading

    Apparently it’s open to interpretation and could even be taken as being already triggered by the result of the referendum.

    Doubtful; apart from anything else this is clearly not the view of the EU member states who are asking the UK to hurry up and invoke it.

  • Declan Doyle

    The electorate did not act in haste. They had months of tug o war to educate and inform themselves.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I don’t think it’s doubtful at all, the lawyer was quite clear about the lack of clarity.

    The point being that it’s arguable, which is exactly what happens when lawyers or financial experts are involved in arranging any regulations.

    It provides them or their colleagues with the opportunity to make money arguing over the fine detail.

    The EU member states who want us to make our move and stop messing around are simply playing to their electorate, ” look how tough we are “.

    The ones who are wanting us to take a moment are hoping that we may find a way to reverse the situation.

    If they all agreed it would be fairly straightforward, either out you go, clock starting now, or take as long as you like.

  • Anglo-Irish

    According to my daughter who has years of experience dealing with EU bureaucracy ” Two years? You are having a laugh, ten if we;re lucky.”

  • Anglo-Irish

    Whatever happens we are going to be worse off than before, at least as far as the relationship with the EU is concerned.

    We were in the club, we had full and equal rights with all other members of the club, we chose to leave and caused serious disruption to the club.

    We now wish to negotiate a different arrangement with the club as non members.

    What would be the point of being a member if an outsider could arrange a better deal?

    Do the remaining members wish the club to continue? If so they need to show to the remaining members how leaving is a bad move, an example needs to be set.

  • submariner

    Agree with every word of this. Europe needs to play hardball with the Brits and tell them that without freedom of movement and goods they can go Feck themselves. There may yet be a silver lining to this vote in that with the economy in the toilet the breakup of the UK will be accelerated with the Scots leaving

  • Angry Mob
  • Anglo-Irish

    Good luck with that.

    We are talking about a country which currently exports more to the ROI that has a population of 4.6 Million than to Brazil, Russia,India and China combined a combined marketplace of over 3 Billion.

    What exactly was preventing us from exporting to those countries whilst a member of the EU?

    In what way are we suddenly going to produce, sell, and export the millions of goods which will make us rich and powerful and far more successful than we could have been whilst still members of the EU?

    All countries have strengths and weakness’s, England’s weakness has always been it’s arrogance, a belief that it is somehow superior to other countries.

    Successes have been overblown,whilst failures have been ignored.

    We are about to pay the price for ignorant arrogance.

  • Jollyraj

    I disagree. Brexit is not in the best interests of the UK full stop – drawing out the process allows time for things to settle, then if necessary trigger A50 and formally request that we be allowed to leave pending a follow-up referendum on the negotiated terms. If that vote also passes, then we leave.

  • runepig

    And they chose to do neither at the behest of a frenzied right-wing print media.

  • kensei

    There basically needs to be a new election – how can the current government negotiate? But given the febrile nature of politics at the moment, we could end up with a hung parliament even with a factional labour party. There is a scenario where we have a Parliament split between Tories, two factions of Labour, UKIP and the SNP, trapped in by the FTPA.

  • Angry Mob

    As the idiom goes there is no point crying over spilt milk. You can continue to wallow in self pity but that won’t address the issue at hand.

    Now, as I said I have shown you the flexcit plan before but instead of actually reading it you entirely dismissed it as “jingoistic” rather than actually trying to comprehend it.

    Now we must deal with the issue rather than getting hysterical and running the same old tired arguments. Its time to accept that there is no remain camp anymore, we are all leavers.

  • Angry Mob

    You do realise as Anglo points out the economies of Ireland and the UK are heavily intertwined, wishing for economic hardship for the UK will hit Ireland every bit as hard as the UK probably more so.

    If we can be rational about it, we don’t want to damage the economies of any European country as it would negatively effect us all.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You really do suffer under the delusion that you know the way forward don’t you?

    May I suggest that you contact Boris and Michael and share your wisdom with them?

    Because they look shell shocked to me.

    The alternatives are laid out in the Times today;

    Norwegian option;

    Join the European Economic area and pay for that access. In order to be accepted obey most EU rules and allow full freedom of movement.

    Swiss option;

    Negotiate sector by sector agreements which allows access to certain markets but not all, in the Swiss case they aren’t allowed full access to the service sector which is vital to us.
    Also it will take years to negotiate.
    Switzerland accepts more EU migrants per capita than the UK does.

    Canadian option;

    Touted as a comprehensive trade agreement it has a number of restrictions on specific items including services.
    In some instances there is a requirement to maintain a base in the EU.
    There are also tariffs still in place for certain items.
    It took five years to agree this deal.

    WTO option;

    We can’t reach an agreement so trade with varying tariffs on goods including 9.9% on cars and 12.2% on agricultural goods. The EU as a single market represents 45% of our exports. The EU exports to us represents 16% of the overall exports divided between 27 countries, we import 7% of Germany’s exports.

    So, which of the above do you consider better than EU membership?

    What advantage have we gained over and above that which we had as full members?

    No one is getting hysterical or wallowing in self pity, if it wasn’t for the negative impact upon my children and grandchildren I would be able to enjoy all this with a huge amount of amusement.

  • Angry Mob

    Sure, if can you arrange the meeting for me and I’ll get them up to speed?

    What I personally want is quite clear and it happens to fall into none of the above. The initialism R.T.F.M is sort of apt here.

    No hysteria? lol


  • Anglo-Irish
  • Angry Mob

    President Obama Cautions Against ‘Hysteria’ Over ‘Brexit’ Vote

  • Anglo-Irish
  • Brendan Heading

    I don’t think it’s doubtful at all, the lawyer was quite clear about the lack of clarity.

    The EU seem to be clear enough, and they have a veritable army of lawyers who will have spent the past number of months looking at this.

    The EU member states who want us to make our move and stop messing around are simply playing to their electorate, ” look how tough we are “.

    I would have thought that if all this was about being tough, then the EU would be telling the UK that it regarded Article 50 as already invoked and would be dragging the UK into talks.

  • Angry Mob

    You’re obviously aware Farage is neither a MP or member of government.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Except that the EU members are not in agreement over the situation.

    Some want us out ASAP and others want to give us time in the hope that it may be resolved without us actually leaving.

    Funnily enough before the EU can act it needs agreement of its members, it’s almost as though it was a democracy.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Obviously, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Brexiters when he was campaigning for an Out vote, so what’s changed?

    Everything he said during the campaign was taken as gospel so why the sudden wish to distance yourself from his views now?

    He seemed to be having a great time speaking on behalf of all of you at the EU today, surely you aren’t going to turn your collective backs on his views at this stage?

    Where’s the comradery, where’s the loyalty?

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: it’s almost as though it was a democracy.
    A democracy that requires unanimity. That’s a rare one. Even the Northern Ireland Assembly doesn’t place such high barriers protecting the status quo.

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: No need for anyone to get hysterical as Farage said ” In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way “.
    So the Farage plan if he lost was to behave exactly like the SNP did when they lost their referendum 55-45. Was that bad?

  • Anglo-Irish

    The EU is a single market and when it makes a statement which represents that single entity it has to have the agreement of all the member countries.

    That is the arrangement which was agreed by all members, and that is where the democracy comes in.

    The UK has voted to remove itself from the club and therefore the remaining members are within their rights to hold discussions, and if they reach a unanimous agreement act upon it.

    If they can’t then whilst they are entitled to voice their individual opinions they aren’t able to carry out any action, seems fair and democratic to me.

  • Anglo-Irish

    No, he was fully entitled to his opinion as to how he would react to a close decision.

    My point is that he can hardly object now if those who voted Remain wish to do the same thing.

    It was a close decision, slightly closer than his 52-48 comment, it has proven divisive and there have been many reports of people who voted Brexit saying that they now regret the outcome.


  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: The EU is a single market and when it makes a statement which represents that single entity it has to have the agreement of all the member countries.
    And the UK is still a member country with a veto. Interesting. Useful.

  • Reader

    I think you need 850,000 (net) regretful Brexiters to make an impression. Not that any other vote has ever had a do-over.
    Anyway, if the Remainers want to emulate the quiet dignity and determined retrenchment of the SNP – as eloquently summarised by Farage, and illustrated by his own behaviour during the many setbacks over two decades – then the howling and wailing has been a strange way to go about it.
    You surely know there won’t be a repeat referendum?

  • Anglo-Irish

    The UK parliament without any input from any outside country held a referendum the result of which was a vote to leave.

    The other 27 members are therefore perfectly within their rights to discuss the impact of this outcome on the EU.

    I would guess that if the UK were to attempt to use the veto on any current matter they would be informed that they need to have a debate in the British parliament and decide as to whether they are going to trigger Article 50 or alternatively rule against the result of the referendum.

    Should the outcome be that they rule against it and vote to remain in the EU then the veto will be available.

    On the other hand invoking Article 50 and triggering formal exit negotiations would void the use of the veto.

    Having your cake and eating whilst desirable isn’t possible.

    As this article from the Financial Times featured in the Irish Times says.


  • Anglo-Irish

    Oh I doubt that there will be despite over 3 Million people signing a petition to request one.

    I haven’t bothered, waste of time in my opinion.

    What may happen however is a general election next year.

    Should that happen, and a party campaign on the promise of remaining within the EU then that could very well change matters.

    I do find the idea that people who genuinely believe that the result is a disaster for the country should just meekly accept the result and let che sara sara highly amusing.

    Because obviously that’s what the Leave people would have done isn’t it?

    Oh no, hang on a minute, didn’t Farage himself say back in May that if the result was 52-48 it would be ” unfinished business ” and predict a second referendum?

    Why yes indeed, that’s exactly what he said!


  • submariner

    Europe has already said that Uk will not have access to the single market unless it accepts freedom of movement. So those brexiters who believed that they could just get rid of johnny foreigner are going to be sorely disappointed If the little Englanders choose not to be part of the single market then it will have a devastating effect on NI economy

  • Angry Mob

    One does not have to distance oneself from Farage if they never actually endorsed what he said, other than the act of leaving the EU.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Ahh yes, the old cherry picking tactic ,other than that murdering his brother thing and declaring that ” Where I have passed the grass will never grow again ” Attila the Hun wasn’t a bad lad really.

    No one has to distance themselves from Farages public statement if they contradicted him at the time.

    He made the statement in May saying that a close result of only four points would mean ” Unfinished business by a long way “.

    How many of his fellow Brexiters came out and said differently?

    How many stated that come what may the result would be accepted?

    Genuine question, I have no idea whether any did, but those who didn’t shouldn’t start complaining now.

  • Angry Mob

    Off the top of my head I know Liam Fox said the result must be respected either way I’m sure there was many others on both sides saying the same thing; not that I was particularly focusing on that point as it goes without saying.

    Oddly enough, none of those on the remainiacs made much fuss about his remarks until after the referendum result, who corrected him at the time? Still in a hysterical fit?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Good for Liam Fox, as for you being ‘sure’ that there were many others I don’t recall any but there you go.

    What I do know is that quite a number of those who voted to leave are now regretting it.

    There is also the matter of the leave campaigners blatantly lying about the amount of money paid to the EU and the supposed amount that the NHS would receive once we left.

    The disingenuous manner in which people were led to believe that by leaving we would be able to completely stop migrants when they knew perfectly well it wasn’t true.

    Both of those claims were then retracted once the gullible had voted.

    Then of course we have the morons among us who’s grasp on facts is worse than tenuous.


    If this had been a sale it would be rendered null and void by virtue of the fact that misinformation and deliberate mis-selling had taken place.

    We are talking about the future of the country here and 16.1 million wanted to remain.

    Many people who voted as a protest are now regretting it.


    If the Brexit side is so confident about their victory why not remove all doubt and run it again now that people have a had a little taste of what it actually means?

    After all these days you get a ‘cooling off period ‘ on a finance contract and this is much more important than that.

    Are are you yitten as Maggie would put it to go again after the lies have been admitted to?

  • Reader

    The Uk hasn’t triggered Article 50 yet. It is still a full member.

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: Oh no, hang on a minute, didn’t Farage himself say back in May that if the result was 52-48 it would be ” unfinished business ” and predict a second referendum?
    No he didn’t – You made a tactical error in another post when you quoted his *actual* words: “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way”. Do you have the quote about an immediate second referendum? I don’t think you do.
    As I pointed out out elsewhere, this is exactly how the SNP reacted after they lost the independence referendum – unfinished business. They went back to party politics and built up their strength. You probably regard that as admirable. They will ask for another referendum when they are sure they will win.

  • Angry Mob

    James Cleverly was another actually.

    Quite a number regret it? I certainly don’t. Maybe there is quite a number of remainers who now regret their decision, what about them, maybe it evens out? Maybe if we went back to the EEC referendum of 1975 we should of asked those did they regret their decision after and whether if they wanted to change it, you’d probably find that most who did vote to stay in then, now voted out on Thursday thus we would of never been in this predicament.

    None of the remain camp told porkies?

    Sour grapes make the best whine?

  • Anglo-Irish

    A tactical error? What the F*ck do you think is going on here, a chess game?

    Get over yourself for crying out loud.

    Yes, as it happens I do have the quote.


    Third paragraph down under the Facebook banner, OK?

    As for your ridiculous suggestion that the remain camp go back to party politics and build up their strength, are you for real?

    This isn’t an internal political ‘try again next time and better luck’ scenario, this is a major disruption to other countries economies and a need for them to set an example.

    Want to know how others in the EU are taking this?


    Does he look like a man who is prepared to forgive and forget?

  • Anglo-Irish

    OOh two of them, well that alters everything.

    No, I don’t suppose for a minute that you do, but you know what, you will.

    The leave camp won under false pretenses using lies and relying on the uninformed, the xenophobic,the racist and the stupid.

    On their side they had such people as Donald Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, Farage, the BNP and the EDL backing them.

    You know someone by their friends.

    You are in for a surprise, it will take one of two forms.

    Either we will find a way to alter the result or we will pay the price and become a much poorer country.

    We have an aging workforce, our productivity level is below many of our competitors, we are over reliant on service industries, 45% of our exports go to the EU whilst 16% of the EU’s exports come to us
    We are over a Trillion in debt and that debt is increasing by £310.200 per minute.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Angry Mob

    Two, double or 100% more than what you’ve demonstrated if you wish to play the numbers game.

    If the remain camp had won, we could be saying the same thing. There was a good measure of stupidity and the uninformed who voted to remain as well not to mention the bigots which have really become apparent since Friday morning.

    Or the third option; eventually the hysterics will subdue, we will leave the EU and continue trading with them and forge new trade deals with the wider world.

  • Anglo-Irish

    What exactly was the stupidity displayed by the Remain camp?

    Please provide some examples which compare with thinking that leaving the EU would prevent migrants from Asia or Africa. Or that your vote wouldn’t really count and it was just a protest.

    Concern as to the problems involved in venturing into the unknown cannot be regarded as stupidity.

    We will forge new trade agreements with them will we?

    Will those agreements be as beneficial as the ones we already have?

    How will that happen? You’re in the club, you choose to leave the club but you want to continue to use the clubs facilities.

    You think that the club is going to give you a deal equivalent to the one you had before, and equal to those members who have remained in the club?

    Why would they do that?

    As to our sudden and incredibly lucrative dealings with the ‘wider world’ please explain exactly what was preventing us from achieving this whilst we were still members of the EU?

  • Brendan Heading

    Except that the EU members are not in agreement over the situation.

    They are in agreement that Article 50 has not been invoked, which is the subject we are discussing here.

  • Anglo-Irish

    ” They are in agreement that Article 50 has not been invoked “.

    Are they? Is there a joint statement to that effect?

    My first post on this subject referred to a lawyer making the point, didn’t it?

    So it was correct for me to point out that there was a certain amount of confusion and it wasn’t completely clear cut, wasn’t it?