After the revolution always comes the fall-out, the civil war and the infighting as a split nation descends into conflict between the victors of the revolution, and those elements that want to undo any change. The conflict is exaggerated as the victors, often a motely coalition, split according to their different visions for the new world. Victory in revolution is often easily won but holding the peace, and forging a new society leads to a chaos that would once be thought unimaginable.
And so it will be in the aftermath of the democratic revolution unleashed by British voters in the early hours of last Friday. There will be political civil war, the chaos will be uncontrollable, and the lifespan of political careers is about to become very short. During the referendum campaign, Boris Johnson constantly told his adoring followers that they were going to take back control. The truth will be the opposite as political players from all persuasions fight like rats in a bag.
A simplification of the referendum debate was that negotiation of the terms of Britain's leaving would be easy, as German car manufacturers would lobby the EU for favourable terms. This is woefully naïve. Discussions between the UK and the EU will be very difficult due to the different aims and objectives of the 27 separate countries. Mercedes Benz and BMW may be able to bend the ear of Angela Merkel but they certainly hold little sway in Madrid, Warsaw or Budapest. An agreement for Brexit will be fraught and time consuming as individual states push their own diverse agendas. For example, France will push for an end to city of London influence in the EU, Poland for a permanent NATO base in their country, and Greece for a better deal in the refugee crisis.
However, what is absolutely clear is that Britain will not be offered a better deal than that available at present. EU officials and heads of state will be keen to prevent offering the positive example of Brexit Britain to other EU countries considering leaving the bloc. Therefore, Brexiters will have to trade certain benefits of EU membership in order to receive back control over border regulations and the setting of certain laws and workers rights. This will lead to huge clashes between Leave campaigners who are split on what the key reason for leaving the EU should be.
Many Leave voters will prioritise immigration as the leading concern and will push for complete abolition of free movement, and rights for EU citizens currently in the UK. It is inevitable that Nigel Farage will seek to be the figurehead of this faction. Such demands will only be adopted if Britain gives up access to the single market, and suffers a huge economic downturn as a result. Thus, a series of other Brexiters will try and claim the debate was never about immigration and actually about British sovereignty, the Eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan has already made this point twice on national television. The end result will be an almighty fight between these two factions, particularly if a new Conservative government side with the Hannan faction against the Farage faction. In such a scenario, Farage will protest that Leave voters have been betrayed, and fresh referendums will be demanded.
A third front in the civil war between the Brexiters will result from deciding which European rights should be abolished. Some Leave campaigners, like the cabinet minister Priti Patel, have stated that exiting the EU will provide an opportunity to abolish working rights, such as maximal working hours, paid maternity leave, and protections against firing. Adoption of any of Patel's recommendations will place the government in a direct fight against Labour backers of Brexit, such as the Vote Leave Chairwoman Gisela Stuart.
It is difficult to see how Boris Johnson and Michael Gove will be able to control this situation, they are either going to betray Leave voters or send the economy into a tailspin. In addition, many young people have been energised by the debate and will campaign to rejoin the EU. The 'neverleavers', who will be either lead by a post-Corbyn Labour leader or the liberal Tim Farron, are going to be a significant thorn in the side of the Conservative party at any future general election. And this is to say nothing of the coming Independence Referendum in Scotland, and the siren calls from Sinn Fein for Irish Unification.
In the end it is likely the chaos Boris and Gove have unleashed will consume them too. Johnson lead Leave to further his own political career, he may find it is the decision that will destroy it.Suggest a correction