It is not simply the government’s lack of clarity that concerns, it is the growing feeling that it may not have the competence to be in charge of the complex negotiations to come. There is still the arrogant assumption that what the government eventually decides is the UK’s place alongside the EU will be what is actually achieved. The noises coming from the EU states and presidents suggest this is unlikely. There are tough times ahead.
There is much talk by the Brexiteers of ‘the public’ or the ‘British people’, wanting a specific solution, as in ‘the public want a control over migration’ or ‘the British people have demanded that we leave the EU’. This narrow definition of ‘the public’ excludes, of course, the forty-eight per cent of the population who voted to remain, the twenty-eight per cent of those eligible who did not vote at all, all those under eighteen and the vast majority of non-UK EU citizens living here. The forty-eight per cent includes a majority of those voting in Scotland and Northern Ireland and a large majority of the under thirties. What this ‘public’, even by the narrow definition the Brexiteers have given it, actually wanted is unclear.
The glaring deficiency of the referendum was that there was no legal provisions for what to do next.