Fog in Channel, Continent cut off

Britain has voted Leave in its European Union referendum. The Euro cause, though strong in London and environs, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and university towns, failed to carry substantial cities like Birmingham and Sheffield and was shellacked in the industrial north and across many other parts of England. Remain — a position backed by the large majority of educated commentators, by business and cultural notables, and by the leadership of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Scottish Nationalist parties — has been reduced to what the funeral industry calls cremains.

The successful vote will begin an undefined dance of negotiation with Brussels, which has a hundred ways of stalling and complicating that process. Following earlier anti-EU votes in member countries, in fact, Brussels simply ignored the voters and came back a while later to ask again for the answer it wanted. Should the British political leadership want the negotiations to lead nowhere, it has many ways to connive at that. However, both Conservative and Labour parties must now confront a crisis of revolt from their members. The issue is particularly acute for the Tories because Prime Minister David Cameron led the Remain cause, and rival Boris Johnson, the former London mayor, made a compelling alternative leadership figure for Leave.

One theme on Twitter last night was curious: a number of commenters chided Wales for voting Leave even though it receives substantial regional subsidies from the European Union. (See here, here, and here.) In short, subsidies don’t always buy love. On balance, though, isn’t it probably a good thing if such programs fail to purchase local political sentiment?

Follow-up: Alberto Nardelli, BuzzFeed on the mechanics of separation and re-negotiation of trade relations; Mark Elliott on public law questions.


  • The question remains: keep Scotland, or jettison it to founder on the reefs of the EU?

    • Scotland seems to want to stay in the EU. Fear of was not being in the EU was a major part of the fear campaign in th recent vote to split from Britain. It would be very amusing if Scotland voted to leave Britain just so they could stay i the EU (if the EU would have them).

  • Seems to be something in the air.

    Is the answer “Blowing in the Wind”?

    Or perhaps “The times they are a changin'”

  • The elites on both sides of the Atlantic are going to do their best to make Britain suffer even at their own cost. If Britain drifts away with little consequence, then the EU will rapidly fragment.

    The plebs must be shown their place.

  • Scotland doesn’t have a viable economy to justify independence and hasn’t had one in several hundred years. It would founder…

  • I’m not convinced that the leadership crisis is more acute for the Tories. The grass roots party has been heavily Eurosceptic for a while now and most of the big guns in the Leave campaign were Tory ministers. I don’t know if we’ll get Prime Minister Johnson, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we do and that he’ll reunite most of the party behind him.

    The Labour party on the other hand have a real problem because (admittedly with gritted teeth in some cases) all their senior MPs and most of their activists were Remainers, but most of the votes for Leave came from the working class districts that have been traditional Labour strongholds. This could actually end up killing the party as a national force. It will not surprise me at all if we see a lot of defections to UKIP amongst traditional Labour voters – in fact we’ve already seen this to some extent in Wales in the regional elections last month.

  • “Should the British political leadership want the negotiations to lead nowhere …” they can hand the country over to UKIP. On the available evidence, yes, they are that stupid. And we should all be glad of it.

  • @Roy, the songs you suggest work on both sides of the Atlantic, as does this-

    Because something is happening here
    But you don’t know what it is,
    Do you, Mr. Jones?

  • Cameron said he will delay until his successor is chosen in October and then what I think of as the Fort Sumter clause of the EU constitution, Article 50, will be invoked. Meanwhile there is much talk of getting right down to new trade agreements with places like Canada and Australia which have been frustrated by EU regulations stopping them selling their goods to the mother country. So i think the EU might try to delay and punish the UK, but the City of London still knows how to run a financial empire and I think they will make good on the intention to get serious about transforming it into an Anglosphere. They are already talking about India where the Tea Wallahs have become billionaires – and well they should. I think the UK will do just fine.

    • Isn’t Jaguar owned by Tata?

      • Yes- Jaguar and Rover.However, Tata is playing it smart, and allowing the two companies to remain as British as possible. You won’t see a Tata plant building Jag badged cars, and Tata is strictly an Indian market product.

        • Because Tatas are cheap crap that couldn’t pass safety regulations anywhere else.

          On the other hand, as bad as they are, they are still a safety improvement over a family of 8 trying to all ride on one motor scooter (I’ve seen video of this) and many Indian families wouldn’t be able to afford better.

          • Wow. That was really snotty. Do you perhaps have anything to address the original question?

            I note you’ve graciously allowed how a “cheap crap” Tata 4-wheeler is better than a generic 2-wheeler. Yah- affordability is a problem for that family. A Tata Nano Gen X is 2.08 Lakh, or approximately $4100.00, delivered in New Delhi.. A Jaguar XE is about 20X that, at 39.9 Lakh for the very cheapest one, delivered in New Delhi.

            That family doesn’t have the luxury of your smugness, Matt. At 4100.00, they have a solution to their problem in reach. They aren’t worried about active safety, 12 airbags and reversing cameras. They’re worried about getting from point A to point B.

          • @Bill H.

            The crap part was out of line, but the cheap part isn’t. They couldn’t make a price point affordable by the masses in India if they had to comply with US/EU safety regulations.

            I don’t know much about their production cars, but I once saw a detailed concept design from Tata for a Compressed air powered car. Nearly the entire vehicle (including the pressure cylinder) was to be made out of carbon fiber composites with the components held together by glue.

  • Francis Turner, the tweets from Labor MPs last night were saying that Leave, and in particular in the traditional blue collar heartland of the party, passed due to immigration. There was clear recognition that the party had not been listening to those voters and instead had been following the Guardian (think New York Times) wing only.

    In the next few months, we shall see if politicians in both parties, as well as the German and French governments, take this seriously once the shock has passed.

  • As a reaction in my Remain social media stream, I’m hearing only a little “Let’s hear out their discontent and work harder to deserve their trust” and much more “They’re old, who let them vote on our future?” But a rejected establishment needs to consider why it was rejected, I think. On the Leave side, at least among those I follow, there is little triumphalism and even less wish for Britain to turn inward rather than continue engaging with the world and its economy. That seems right to me.

    This evergreen tweet from Adrian Bott, getting a lot of play on the Remain side, did make me laugh: “‘I never thought leopards would eat MY face,’ sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.”

  • A lot of the credit/blame (depending on your views) goes to Nigel Farage. He’s worked an awfully long time for this.

    Congratulations, Nigel. “Leave” was a stunning win you well and truly earned.

  • A smart US government would be already extending a bilateral trade agreement similar to, or just plain inviting the UK to join NAFTA. But I’m pretty sure there is no extant smart US government. Get the customs union with a large trading bloc without all of the political interference in domestic affairs.

    • Not at present. There ARE plenty of Americans who would love to see an Anglosphere take shape. The problem is that such people have no influence over the current Administration. The good news is that the current Administration has only a few months left, and either of the wretched candidates on offer (sorry world) would be better; they are merely unqualified and corrupt. The current bunch does not LIKE the country.

  • The Ulstermen are actually talking about (re)joining the Republic of Ireland so they can stay in the EU.

    Ian Paisley is rolling in his grave.

  • Much of the EU’s unpopularity came from courts that fostered jihadists and other sociopaths. The Tories should have had Parliament assert a sovereign right to overrule the courts in certain cases, notably the deportation of spies and traitors. Admittedly, that would have been a violation of EU treaties, grounds to kick Britain out of the EU. Nevertheless, I suspect Britain would have had enough sympathizers on the continent to get away with it. By then, domestic opposition to EU membership would have been manageable. (As most of you know, Britain does not have a written constitution requiring Parliament to defer to courts.)

  • Many years ago, Noel Coward wrote (and sang)

    Verse 1

    They’re out of sorts in Sunderland
    And terribly cross in Kent,
    They’re dull in Hull
    And the Isle of Mull
    Is seething with discontent,
    They’re nervous in Northumberland
    And Devon is down the drain,
    They’re filled with wrath
    On the firth of Forth
    And sullen on Salisbury Plain,
    In Dublin they’re depressed, lads,
    Maybe because they’re Celts
    For Drake is going West, lads,
    And so is everyone else.
    Misery’s here to stay.

    Refrain 1

    There are bad times just around the corner,
    There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky
    And it’s no good whining
    About a silver lining
    For we know from experience that they won’t roll by,
    With a scowl and a frown
    We’ll keep our peckers down
    And prepare for depression and doom and dread,
    We’re going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
    And wait until we drop down dead.

    Verse 2

    From Portland Bill to Scarborough
    They’re querulous and subdued
    And Shropshire lads
    Have behaved like cads
    From Berwick-on-Tweed to Bude,
    They’re mad at Market Harborough
    And livid at Leigh-on-Sea,
    In Tunbridge Wells
    You can hear the yells
    Of woe-begone bourgeoisie.
    We all get bitched about, lads,
    Whoever our vote elects,
    We know we’re up the spout, lads.
    And that’s what England expects.
    Trouble is on the way.

    Refrain 2

    There are bad times just around the corner,
    The horizon’s gloomy as can be,
    There are black birds over
    The grayish cliffs of Dover
    And the rats are preparing to leave the B.B.C.
    We’re an unhappy breed
    And very bored indeed
    When reminded of something that Nelson said.
    While the press and the politicians nag nag nag
    We’ll wait until we drop down dead.

    Verse 3

    From Colwyn Bay to Kettering
    They’re sobbing themselves to sleep,
    The shrieks and wails
    In the Yorkshire dales
    Have even depressed the sheep.
    In rather vulgar lettering
    A very disgruntled group
    Have posted bills
    On the Cotswold Hills
    To prove that we’re in the soup.
    While begging Kipling’s pardon
    There’s one thing we know for sure
    If England is a garden
    We ought to have more manure.
    Suffering and dismay.

    Refrain 3

    There are bad times just around the corner
    And the outlook’s absolutely vile,
    There are Home Fires smoking
    From Windermere to Woking
    And we’re not going to tighten our belts and smile, smile, smile,
    At the sound of a shot
    We’d just as soon as not
    Take a hot water bottle and go to bed,
    We’re going to untense our muscles till they sag sag sag
    And wait until we drop down dead.

    Refrain 4

    There are bad times just around the corner,
    We can all look forward to despair,
    It’s as clear as crystal
    From Bridlington to Bristol
    That we can’t save democracy and we don’t much care
    If the Reds and the Pinks
    Believe that England stinks
    And that world revolution is bound to spread,
    We’d better all learn the lyrics of the old ‘Red Flag’
    And wait until we drop down dead.
    A likely story
    Land of Hope and Glory,
    Wait until we drop down dead.


    • Funny and apt. Thank you for posting it.

  • […] fear of fueling Leave sentiment among British voters. Now I suppose it’s ban away [Telegraph, earlier on […]