The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison brings readers the shocking implications of the U.K.’s vote to exit the EU.
The vote itself does not automatically trigger British exit from the EU, and it will be up to the government to carry out what the electorate has endorsed. Much will depend on how punitive or magnanimous EU governments choose to be in dealing with the U.K. They can come to a fairly quick and fair arrangement that allows the U.K. and EU to conduct business with as little interruption as possible, or they can choose to make an example of the U.K. to discourage others from following its example
Most pro-Leave Conservatives profess not to want a leadership challenge against Cameron, so he will probably stay on for the foreseeable future, but he will do so as a severely diminished leader. It’s hard to think of any modern political leaders that have gambled and lost on a major issue as Cameron has and remained in office for very long.
The consequences for Labour’s leadership may be no less serious. The party’s current and former leaders were remarkably unsuccessful in rallying their voters to the Remain side, and the support of a large bloc of Labour voters for Leave reflects the extent to which the latter feel abandoned and betrayed by their party over at least the last two decades. That has been obvious in the defection of Labour voters to the SNP and UKIP in recent years, and it is even harder to miss now. The fact that Wales voted for Leave reconfirms that Labour’s leaders have lost touch with their traditional strongholds.