A gaping chasm emerged in the run up to the EU referendum.
The various leaders of the Leave campaign lacked an agreed vision for Britain’s relationship with the EU following a decision to quit. Maybe some of them thought it would never happen?
The sovereignty-focused leadership of Vote Leave (Boris Johnson and Michael Gove) tolerated a marriage of convenience with the more protectionist Leave.EU faction (Nigel Farage).
Analysts believe that a divorce is now imminent.
In an excellent research note, Panmure Gordon’s chief economist Simon French said its fallout represents the winner’s curse of this referendum and is set to dominate the UK’s politics for the rest of the year.
“The UK electorate was not offered a vote on a defined balance once outside the EU,” said Mr French.
“Rather it was a vote for the principle of exiting the union on ambiguous terms. This is no longer tenable in our view.
“Once the new Government identifies its preferred balance this decision risks a split amongst Leave supporters. In turn that favours a further test of public opinion – either a second referendum or a General Election - to establish whether the Government’s proposed approach to secession commands public support.”
Such a scenario will infuriate Leave voters, many of whom are already infuriated by the Leave campaign’s broken promises on the NHS and immigration.
The country is divided and now to make matters much, much worse, there appears to be a rise in vile, race-related attacks - people being told that Britain voted for Leave and therefore non-white people should leave.
Blackfriar received this email from one reader: “I am gutted by this referendum. I live here as an Italian. It was incredible how immediately I felt excluded from the country I adopted over 10 years ago.
“I am very aware of my surname and just of being ‘other’. I have German and Italian colleagues who have been here over 20 years and no longer feel included. My sister-in-law is Polish.
“It’s all so devastating and destructive.”
Those of us who are white and English have no idea how this exclusion feels. I personally believe that the majority of people who voted to Leave (and stick by their decision) did so because they wanted to reclaim Britain and its laws from an unelected EU.
I believe that only a very small minority are racist and I also have enormous sympathy for people whose local communities are so inundated with newcomers that they cannot get a doctor’s appointment.
It is these communities that should be top of the agenda once we have a working Government in place. These people understandably feel marginalised, like they don’t count, like they’ve been forgotten.
But many people who aren’t white and weren’t born in England don’t view it like this. Many feel excluded, scared and deeply worried about their place in post referendum Britain.
Meanwhile a number of the 16 million who voted to remain are wondering whether they want to stay in Britain - that is if Great Britain can survive a Scottish independence vote.
Since the outcome of the referendum was announced on June 24, British people searching for jobs abroad has doubled, according to global job site Indeed.
Indeed said the UK’s loss could be Ireland’s gain, as it tops the league of countries UK job seekers are searching for work in.
The bad news is flowing thick and fast. Vodafone is considering pulling its HQ out of the UK, Richard Branson has said that following the vote, he has had to pull the plug on a deal that would have created 3,000 UK jobs and credit ratings agency Fitch has forecast that investment in the British economy will fall 5 per cent next year, two days after it downgraded Britain’s credit rating following the Brexit vote.
Meanwhile the economy could well go into recession before the end of the year.
The youth already felt disillusioned and let down and now they are worried they could have their chances to work abroad taken away.
I fear there could be a huge brain drain from the UK and in the meantime millions of unskilled immigrants are tipped to come to these shores before the two year deadline triggered by Article 50 is over.
That would be a massive blow for Brexiters - an increase in migration and a brain drain of talented British people.
So for the Remainers, the young people who didn’t vote and the Brexiters who now regret their decision, is there any crumb of comfort? Yes.
Mr French said: “Estimates are that just 25 per cent of MPs support leaving the EU meaning that in the event of an announcement to proceed with Article 50 the House in its current composition could block all business or force a vote of no confidence in the Government.
“Against this backdrop we do not expect the new Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 without either a reconfigured House of Commons that reflects the constituency voting in last Thursday’s referendum – requiring a General Election – or alternatively a popular mandate for a more defined version of succession from the EU – requiring a second referendum.”
Although Boris Johnson has seemingly ruled out a snap General Election, it will be hard for him to govern for any significant period of time without a working majority.
So where would such a scenario leave us? 16 million people voted to stay, 17 million voted to leave and 13 million didn’t bother to use their vote.
If there is a second referendum or a General Election, we may well get a very different result.