A Norway #Brexit?

As soon as the referendum was won for #leave you could feel the fear hitting their leading campaigners. They didn’t expect to win (As Farage admitted defeat and then changed his mind again within a couple of hours) and as has become abundantly clear they have no plan or any idea about what to do about the mess they have caused. For anybody who studies body language this car crash of a press conference Sid it all on Friday morning. 


It was ok for Boris and Gove to take a few hours off – but it seems Boris disappeared to write his £200k a year Telegraph  column and plan his leadership bid. As you can see the hubris of the campaign was replaced with a plea to join the EU as the answer to the mess he created.  As I wrote yesterday the various so-called promises from Leave unraveled because they didn’t think they would have to implement them. £350m for the NHS – a ‘mistake’. Stopping migrating from Europe – ‘we never said that or gave a number’ 

The battle now moves to the Tory leadership battle for who becomes our Prime Minister. The future of our country is now in the hands of Tory MPs about which two candidates it puts to the 130,000 Tory Party activists. From listening to Labour Party activists and £3 members last year we know how well that goes! 

But what we will need to see from the candidates are the details of what they now stand for. Sound bits are no longer good enough. They have months to declare the details of their plans for BREXIT. Will we want to join the Single Market and if so what will we accept on freedom of movement and our contribution?  This would be closer to the Norway model (paying In to get the access to the Single tariff free Market and accept a liberal immigration regime). The alternative might be nearer a Canadian model with a bespoke deal for the Single Market with its own immigration rules. This is where the battle lines are now drawn. This is why referendum are so poor at deciding such complex issues. They are not binary in or out but a complex set of interactions. The country is already rudderless and we will remain so for the next 3 months as the Tory party tears itself apart over these questions. 

But to make us feel worse about the chaos that could ensue – Boris and Gove disappeared today just when we need them to be starting to set your what they would do. For the sake of the country we can’t leave our future to these two chancers. Serious times ahead call for serious people not the pantomime clown Boris Johnson. 

Where Next? 

It has been a long 72 hours attached to the news cycle and my social media feeds. It was therefore a welcome break to be at OpenHeaven this morning but talk about the referendum and the fallout was never far away. The danger of speaking out last week in the Loughborough Echo alongside Tory MP Nicky Morgan is that people keep asking me to throw my hat back into the ring! Or assuming I had already  I can assure all those asking I am now committed to working to creating a better world in other and different ways. I am afraid the door to front line politics has been closed for me. I took the hint in 2010 after losing in Loughborough that it was time to move on.  I will explain in  more detail after this current ‘situation’ moves on!

I am almost not sure where to begin. There are multiple stories running today that I feel the urge to write about all of them but I have narrowed them down to these 5 or 6 for today!

  • The lack of any plan for Leave
  • Why the 48% Remainers shouldn’t just shut up
  • The resignation of Cameron & who will be our PM by October
  • How #Brexit will or will not play out…
  • The Labour Leadership crisis…
  • The Deep Divisions in society that won’t be healed in the near future..

By any normal standards each one of these would be enough to fill our 24 hour news. All too often there isn’t enough to keep these platforms going but today is not one of them. 

1. Like many of us who campaigned against Leave we were constantly frustrated by the media inability or unwillingness to ask them any serious questions about their ‘plans’ post referendum. We knew their sounbites and slogans were misleading, or even lies that they shamelessly repeated even when told not to by the independent Statistical Authority. 

If you watched the excruciating Leave press conference you will have realised that Johnson & Gove suddenly looked uncomfortable and shifty with their victory. The Leave campaign started backtracking pretty quickly on their promised NHS spending or event he idea that they would halt the freedom of movement. This pair know that we need migration and immigrants to help our economy but wouldn’t admit it during the campaign – instead happy to hide behind the dog whistle politics of Farage. 

This is now a serious issue as leave campaigners were celebrating Independence Day yesterday! I have already seen reports of incidence of hate crimes taking place in the last 48 hours. They have unleashed an expectation of a halt in immigration and even repatriation almost immediately.  They unleashed this vile politics and then have disappeared to plan their assault on the Tory Party to get Boris into No10. It is a dereliction of duty. They had no plan, they still have no plan and they are leaving Britain exposed on the word economic scene, and in Europe as other countries move to make us hurry up and leave! 

More later as we look at some of the other issues 

1731 Sunday 26th June 2106 

Although as one helpful tweet pointed out – this picture sums up Leave at the moment


1750 Sunday 26th June 

Labour Party Coup Begins 

Politics in the UK changed dramatically on Friday morning. Not just the referendum result itself but the ramifications for the leadership of the political parties. Clearly Cameron understood this and resigned as we all expected.


The lack of leadership shown by Corbyn during the referendum campaign only led to further frustration with him from within Westminster. I personally thought his performances were truly awful. 

But the sacking of Hilary Benn overnight and the possible resignation of over half of the shadow cabinet this morning will force the issue of his leadership. 

I think most people realise where I stand on this. I have recognised from the start that Jeremy is popular amongst the new Labour membership but is an electoral disaster. His inability to do his job during the biggest political event in our lives only highlighted his unsuitability to become our Prime Minister. That is what the leader of Labour in opposition should be.. The next PM. I don’t know  anybody outside his core inner circle and supporters who believe he is capable of winning an election. I don’t even think this is his or their priority.

We could be months away from a general election. Whoever wins the Tory leadership may feel the need for a fresh mandate from the country. When Gordon Brown took over from Blair the constitutional position was clear – no election is necessary. But in hindsight perhaps Gordon should have gone to the country when we were seriously considering it in 2007 and cold have won. Many of the Tories demanded he went to the country for a fresh mandate. It I’ll be interesting to see if they demand the same now they are in power?! 

So politics as well as the fallout from the EU referendum will give me plenty to write about over the coming weeks.

If you thought a Week was a long time in politics


I started to ‘live blog’ the referendum last night but couldn’t keep up with a blog and Twitter and Facebook as well as try to watch the BBC coverage. I gave up with my last post claiming that Cameron was safe because 85 Tory MPs had written to urge him to stay. Shows how much I know. 

So during today I have been responding to calls and trying to keep up with the pace of change. I have to admit having seen the polling last night – and the surge in the £ allegedly off the back of some very expensive City exit polls – I assumed like most that this referendum had gone to the wire but would ultimately split 52/48 but in favour of Remain. I had said all the way through the campaign that this was enough for victory but the issue wouldn’t go away with that level of support. We would have to be revisiting the issue of our relationship with Europe on a regular basis. Even if we won the question had not been put to bed. However, I woke up to the shock news like I am sure millions of people have done today that we are to #leave.

Farage now backtracking on £350m for NHS Claim


I think I am still too raw and numb to write too much that will hit the right tone. I know campaigns are tough and things get said but Farage andhis 

racist poster and his £350m for the NHS lies angered me more than any usual political knockabout. I was livid that this morning even Farage said the £350m wasn’t now going to happen and had been a ‘mistake’. Farage is really one of the most odious and duplicitous politicians I have ever come across. 

But today we are where we are. The Leave campaign narrowly won but all they needed was a simple majority because no percentage bar was set. That was a mistake. How on earth we can take such a big decision when there is such a slim majority I simply don’t know. It means there is nearly half the country pretty angry about the result. As I said above the Leave campaign would have been back again if they had lost so narrowly so I hope they accept that there are many of us who don’t accept this narrow narrative that the “people have spoken” – yes but not all that clearly! 

There are now so many ramifications it has been almost impossible to keep up. 

Just as quickly as Leave won they started back tracking on any promises. But the theme of my feelings over the last 24 hours have been about the deep seated level of division this leaves. I started yesterday promising myself I wouldn’t get involved in social media and watch the England Rugby in Australia instead. In truth I couldn’t hold back. There was an still is so much to say. 

SO issues to be covered in more depth are the levels of division, the breakup of the U.K., our economic woes to come, the Tory party turmoil, and who our next PM is likely to be? Perhaps the most important element is what we do about our negotiations with Europe. The domestic issue of division is serious. We are split by class, education, age and geography. It’s is serious as we have heard on any radio phone in programme over the last 48 hours. 

However just as I thought I might find some time this morning to summarise all my thoughts I have woken up to hear that Corbyn has sacked Hilary Benn.  Now I will be following the civil war inside the Labour PArty as well as the Tories and a divided nation. 

Is Cameron Safe Regardless 

So 84 Tory MPs who were for BREXIT have signed a letter, organised by a Tory MP Friend Robert Syms, telling him they are grateful they have been for the referendum and that they feel he should continue to lead the party whatever the final result. That’s probably enough to prevent an all out Tory internal war – but there is a long night ahead. 

No Exit Poll but On Day Poll gives it to Remain 

There have been no Exit Polls today for us all the mull over as the polls close. I am sure all those who watched the 2015 General Election will remember the feeling of despair (or joy if you are a Tory) as the exit polls proved the election polls wrong and predicted a Tory overall majority. 

It seems the polls were showing a narrow lead for Remain up to polling day.

EU referendum ‘on the day’ poll:

Remain: 52%

Leave: 48%

(via YouGov)

These are the figures released by BritainElects earlier. I could live with this result. But it would mean the issue just won’t go away. The Leave camp are so passionate I can’t see them packing up and going home can you?

Glad it’s Over 

It is 10pm and the #Eureferendum polling is finally closed. To be honest it couldn’t come a moment sooner. This has been an awful campaign that unleashed a nastier side to our political discourse. This was another ‘Social Media’ election so it hasn’t just been about politicians. I have found it really hard to stay calm with #leave abusers on Facebook and Twitter. I accept people can have rationale reasons to Leave but so few people have engaged in these debates but instead hidden behind the myths and lies.

I will live blog over the next few days as ‘issues’ arise. The result announcement won’t be the end of this saga. There is plenty of fallout coming for Cameron, Johnson, Corbyn and their parties.