The referendum on the membership of the EU was non binding, it had no significance in law. It is an advisory instruction to the government, the legal significance is the invocation of article 50. If we have a second referendum then there will be two, non-binding advisory instructions to the government. This does not move us any further forward, even if the second referendum is to remain and not tear up the Good Friday agreement (which really should have been the text on the ballot paper). There is a petition for a second referendum, I signed it because, well, why not, but it won’t work. It doesn’t ask enough.
David Cameron fell on his sword to give us a few months time before invocation of article 50. His resignation wasn’t the important bit, kicking the can down the road a bit was the important part of that speech. As a Financial Times journalist put it, the shock resignation of the Prime Minister was the third most important story of the day. David Cameron is still our Prime Minister and he still can do one last thing to help our country. He can recall parliament and propose a motion “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.” as set out in the fixed term parliament act 2011 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/14/section/2/enacted this needs a 2/3 majority of the house including vacant seats — and lets all take a minute to think about why there is a vacant seat and whether Farage won a victory without a shot being fired.
I call upon David Cameron to propose a three line whipped motion that there shall be an early parliamentary general election.
Leaving this to the next prime minister is insufficient, Boris wants to be Winston Churchill — just watch him lower his voice like Jim Hacker on Yes Minister when saying something that he things is statesmanlike. Europe want us to invoke article 50 soon, the only way we can fail to do that is if we have no government. The government needs to collectively fall on it’s sword. After that we get a snap election, where a party can stand on a platform of setting aside the referendum result and never activating Article 50 and attempting to put this basket case of a country back together. We need to accept the reality that this party of national unity might be the SNP standing in every UK constituency.
The other paths to peace that I see are very narrow. We could invoke article 50 and as part of the exit negotiation Scotland gets the remnants of our membership, they join the Euro and Shengen, and they take Northern Ireland with it’s current borders and redraft the Good Friday agreement as close as they can to the status quo. That way the border does not change (if it changes at all it will need to be re-militarised), free movement does not change and with the Euro trade over the border is a bit smoother. England goes it’s own way in an isolated economic spiral over 15 years with external borders north and south until it is annexed by Scotland. Argentina gets shared sovereignty over the Falklands, Spain gets shared sovereignty over Gibraltar. We accept the end of the Le Touquet agreement and set up a refugee camp in Dover (I do expect the Jungle to disperse and net migration to go negative as England is a deeply unattractive destination). England and Wales is done, stick a fork in it.
The current personality based movements in the shadow cabinet are a pointless distraction. The priority is preventing article 50 being invoked by the government.
None of this can happen this week, because too many people who voted leave don’t realise the consequences of what they did yet. We are going to have to wait a few weeks until opinions change and the baseless optimism is fully exposed. Specifically, it will be after George Osborne comes out from his cave and tells us how HS2 is gone, how Trident renewal is off the table (good, and Trident scares me right now) how we have no new schools or hospitals, road maintenance and building has gone and wages are frozen in education and the NHS.