Pro-Europeans are hoping this theory about David Cameron holds some truth

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An interesting response in the Guardian comments section, see the original post and context here

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 legistlation 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-maneouvered 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.

In my opinion, this is far from the whole story and has been overtaken by events over the weekend. There were two things that happened which somewhat change the political landscape:

1. There was an interview on Sunday between the BBC and Alastair Campbell. Campbell said that he considers that both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were firmly convinced that they could never win a Brexit referendum, and their involvement was a machiavellian scheme to discredit David Cameron with a view to gaining power. Campbell believes, and television evidence would appear to support this, that Johnson and Gove were appalled by the outcome, knowing full well the likely impacts on the UK and that there were no plans on how to move forward. Whether or not you believe Alastair Campbell, he is an extremely well connected figure and is very well informed.

2. Michael Heseltine said this morning (BBC News) that he thinks the best way ahead is to make Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage to be in charge of the negotiations with the EU, and to get the best deal they can. The resulting deal would then be put to a second referendum and for approval by Parliament. This puts Johnson, Gove and Farage firmly in the firing line, and there is therefore no way they could blame anybody else if they fail to get a good deal, which is then judged unacceptable by the British people and Parliament. This sounds like an excellent way ahead.

Interesting times!


I'm sure there is a lot of truth in this. What a mess these politians have left us.

I totally agree, no-one but Farage would be stupid enough to think that UK could stand alone, 1939 was another era.

In their renegotiation, could they please keep right to reside, double taxation agreement, and healthcare for retirees!

Interesting article but why would Boris not want to trigger Article 50 when elected PM ?

Maybe i'm missing something ?

I think Boris the (Lying) Clown is now scared of the consequences since his simplistic arguments about "Out" will be exposed, together with the consequences. I do not think he is 'sharp' enough for the job, if he becomes PM.

The leaders of the rest of the EU are clamouring for UK to trigger Art 50. Although there appears to be no "legal" way of forcing this step, I am sure there are ways of bringing pressure to bear. For example, France could tell the UK to take back its border controls from Calais to Dover.

Little wonder Howard after Cameron abused Jean-Claud Juncker in the way he did (and the way he has abused many others, for that matter).

The mayor of Calais has already pleaded a case for the removal of the border back to British soil but the french Interior Minister seems not to support the move.

The french Cabinet seems generally to have mixed views; failed PM Jean-Marc Ayrault (now Foreign Minister) seems to be stoking the fire somewhat but Manuel Valls seems to have a more concilliatory tone.

However, I rather support the view expressed by Emmanuel Macron that the UK will become irrelevant post brexit, as much as Guernsey is in world affairs.

This is from the BBC news this morning..

Michael Dougan says he's basically spent his entire professional working life looking at all things EU.

"The overwhelming consensus is that these things do not take two years to negotiate, the rough guide that we are all talking about in the field is around 10 years.

"The treaty said that you have two years within which to make your divorce settlement. But the divorce settlement is completely separate from the framework agreement for your future relations with the EU."

All very interesting, but is this just "straw-clutching" for us hopeful remainers?

If we take a step back and look at past performances, particularly on the part of the EU, there will be a lot of noise but nothing will happen unless it is triggered by an event, which makes it imperative to act.

One statement made in the press recently is that Article 50 may never be triggered. Until it is triggered, UK is still "In". Whether life can go on as before is another matter. It will depend on how long the limbo state lasts.

Monumental miscalculation of UK's role and needs in the future; German & French friends staggered at this incomprehensible decision - June 23rd, a shameful day.

Possibly Roger. If article 50 is triggered, new agreements with our former marriage partner may take a long time. Like any divorce, things could get messy.

1. This is a letter (i.e. one person's point of view) to The Guardian which, I understand, was totally pro-Remain.

2. This is a comment further down the page:

"hufenfa Teebs

2d ago


Sorry, I am not very impressed. Stock markets in the EU have slumped and not recovered, and the central players are wetting themselves about contagion. The presidents of EU institutions are not the real players, they are just front men (men!). Quite soon we will be getting a "better offer". That's what they always do when member-state electorates temporarily obstruct their progress. It'll all look very different in a week or so.

Maybe this is a Guardian Pick because it happens to say what they want you to believe. This site has an agenda you know, posts don't necessarily get picked on merit."

The fact that such a comment has received 56 'Likes' (in The Guardian!) suggests to me that not all of its readers are as pro-EU as it is.

Some - but not all - of the other comments are just silly, and display a lack of understanding of the whole situation. However, another contributor makes a very valid point: "The thing about the Remain camp's "uncertainty" argument is that it can be applied to staying within the EU also. To assume that leaving -- and only leaving -- would be a disaster is presumptuous and grossly naive. Both sides are uncertain and unknowable. The EU is far from the safe-haven the media touts it to be. At least if the UK goes down the toilet, we'll have a say as to which plunger to fetch. Under EU regulation, the plumber would be retired before the job even got started."

I wonder what HM The Queen thinks about all this mess, and about Scotland wanting to be independant? I would love someone to interview her on this matter. As you quite rightly say Alan Dargie, it's a complete mess that the politians have left Great Britian in....AGAIN. I have never trusted any politians, and this just proves my point. They all seems to promise the earth and then very quickly start back peddling once voted into power, and only seem interested in feathering their own caps, and really don't give two hoots about the 'General Public'.

As for the MEP's...don't get me started on that subject, perhaps if they had actually sat in on discussions in Brussels...

The whole thing stinks, and YES I'm furious.

Politians are will undoubtably be messy. Just for once in their lives, I wish that they would tell the general public the complete and exact truth about the whole situation. But that's never going to happen. I don't trust any of them, do any of them really care about us 'poor folk'. Seems to me that all that matter is what goes on in 'London'. Well sorry, but Great Britain actually goes out a lot further than the City of London, and it's about time that the general public actually were listened to, after all we/they pay the politians wages. Do I think that Great Britain should stay in the European Union, Yes. Do I think that Great Britain can survive on their own...Not any more, especially when you have people like Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage kicking it to bits, and playing schoolboy games. This is the general publics lives they are playing with, and should be held accountable for all this mess, and all that will follow.

I completely concur.

The EU will not tolerate uncertainty Howard. They want this over ASAP.

C, there is day to day "uncertainty"and there is stupid leap in the dark "uncertainty". I think the latter is called gambling. The UK today is gambling on Boris, slimey Grove and Farage. Good luck with that.

This Brexit will unravel at an amazing pace.

This is an interesting viewpoint. Will be keeping my fingers crossed that it never happens.