Yesterday, an person who I will not name posted this on the Internet:
My warning to all Lexiters – and there are many on my timeline, unfortunately.
I’m afraid this is my vision. On June 24th we wake up to discover the UK has voted “Leave”. Soon after, Cameron resigns. We then probably get Boris as PM.He may call a General Election, because a) he can and b) he wants a full term to put through HIS changes. He will negotiate our exit, on his terms, not by referring to the country. Those terms will be followed by a gradual or not so gradual erosion of our rights at work, because there is no EU to protect them, and because that’s what he, IDS and Priti Patel have promised, under the banner of “a more flexible workforce”. He’ll also tear up our environmental protections, hastening the advent of mass fracking etc. And he’ll also continue apace with the project to sculpt our democratic system into a permanent Tory-electing one. One of the more exciting things he’ll do along the way is to get a TTIP-style deal with the USA – whether Clinton or Trump – which will almost certainly be on worse terms (is that possible?) than the current one. Come 2021, there’ll be another General Election. With the changes Boris will have made to the system, and despite our best endeavours, Boris will win a second term.
If that, or anywhere near that, happens, I shall hold each and every lexiter responsible for the disaster.
I post this, as it is very much typical of the doomsday prediction that is driving left-wing voters to vote to remain in the EU. I was challenged to respond with the scenario I think is likely to occur, to defend my position as a ‘Lexiter’.
Thank you for outlining your vision.
I agree that a Leave vote would be terminally damaging to David Cameron. He has already given notice he will quit anyway, and as evidenced by Tony Blair’s departure, stating an intent to step down makes you yesterday’s man immediately. If Leave wins, he would not only have backed the wrong horse, he has stated many times the disaster that Leave brings to the UK. How could he lead UK negotiations after that? In addition, 50% of his MPs and the majority of his grassroots members will be against him.
Who follows David Cameron? Boris would like it to be Boris, but he has demonstrated on a continual basis to change his mind more frequently than his underpants, and suffers ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease. He’s great for rent-a-quote Journalists, but I can’t imagine enough MPs or party members trust him to be Leader. Even if they did, the public would quickly realise they have a buffoon as PM.
Therefore, I reject the idea that he would become PM.
Whoever follows will be keenly aware that the misery of being an unelected PM brought upon Gordon Brown makes it unlikely anyone else would try it. Also, even before the referendum, the Conservative Party had a small majority and simply couldn’t get controversial bills through Parliament without lots of U-turns. Given the massive fissures that would have opened up in the last few months – wounds that won’t heal quickly – leading the Conservative Party will be a nightmare akin to John Major’s last few years.
For all these reasons, I conclude a new Leader will quickly be established and an election will follow, probably in October. The Fixed Term Parliament Act can be easily be engineered to do this.
All the policy ideas of the Tory right (Priti Patel and IDS et la) are very controversial. Do you really think the public would vote for such a manifesto in big numbers? Who would vote for reduced holidays, the loss of maternity rights and so on? I think the chances of a big Tory election win in October looks slim, as the party will still be fighting over Europe.
Assuming that this hurdle is overcome, if a small majority Tory Government tried to reduced holiday entitlement etc, there would be too many Tory MPs in marginal constituencies with post bags full of opposition from their voters, to get such measures through. Conservative MPs are nothing less that practical, and they won’t vote in a way that threatens their seat at the next GE.
So what do I think would happen should Brexit occur?
- David Cameron would resign very quickly or get pushed out by his party
- A non-Boris Candidate would win – my personal tip would be Theresa May or Phillip Hammond
- The Conservatives would win a small majority at best (my bet would be a hung Parliament)
- The negotiation to leave the EU would be hampered from the Tory-side by lots of infighting and old grievances. The list of right-wing fantasy policies would be ditched to get something through Parliament that other parties could support
There would plenty of scope for a progressive alliance of Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems and Greens to ensure the shape of the UK as independent nation would be far from the right-wing nightmare you have envisaged. In fact I can see scope to improve the country, as everything would be down to the UK voters without reference to another supra-nation body.