Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit: It was all about leadership

These are the sort of stories Britons are reading beside Googling what is the EU.

Incredible isn't it? After all these years in the EU so many voters do not really know what it is? As incredible is the top story: Man who voted for Leave says he thought his vote 'wouldn't count' and is now 'worried'. This brings to mind LKY warning us never to monkey with our vote because you might live to regret it. 

To me the nub of the issue for Brexit is just one word: Leadership. 

Every member in the 27 nations union have strong internal forces seeking to leave the union. Only responsible leaders are stopping them from achieving that. The now former PM David Cameron was reckless and foolish. If there is a lesson here for the other EU nations, it is to make sure your leader isn't another Cameron waiting to be unveiled. 

One leader, Winston Churchill stood up to Hitler and refused to be defeated. Similarly one leader, David Cameron surrendered the future of Britain to the worst elements of his society. The selfish and irrational losers who could not win were prepared to take the whole country down with them believing the wishful lies of Farage and Johnson. 

Die Zeit hosting a discussion between Helmut Schmidt and Lee Kuan Yew in 2012 at the Shangri-La had this on record.

Get it? "Leadership figures". Which is what the UK lacks and is more lacking then ever. Therefore it is going to get much worse before it turn around for them.

Without risking key security and economic interests, Merkel will make an example of the UK to warn the other members of the EU. The Union is Germany's ultimate security blanket, i.e., they want it more badly than any other nation on the continent.

Update: June 26 10:00 am

Jeffrey Sachs article to Project Syndicate proposed a helpful re-framing and change of minds about how to respond to Brexit. The most important is not to add fuel to the fire which is what European leaders are already loudly hinting (how else would we know right?) The big worry is where are the leaders to pull this off? If you count on the people to lead, that for sure is taking us down the wrong path of cutting their noses to spite their faces.

These are the moments we got to see bringing people to a place which they are incapable of getting there themselves. That is the truest definition of leadership.

Update: June 27 4:50

Someone left this comment at the Guardian newspaper site. Reads like really finely crafted British treachery. Boris Johnson is getting his comeuppance. What a dishonest, slippery and deceptive person who had stooped at nothing just to be PM. At least on his way out David Cameron did something brilliantly right.

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legislation to be torn up and rewritten ... the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-manoeuvred and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession ... broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was "never". When Michael Gove went on and on about "informal negotiations" ... why? why not the formal ones straight away? ... he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

1 comment:

  1. We live in interesting times. Just want to be audience, not part of the show