please empty your brain below

I was definitely voting for an outcome, and it wasn't the shambles we've ended up in.
My prediction at the time, the day after the vote, was that no one would be happy with what we actually got in the end, as 'leaving' was quite undefined, open to entirely personal interpretation.
Delighted we’re leaving a wholly undemocratic institution. We just need to reform our one.
No one ever expected the trading deal to be sorted out for the EU Summit. The EU won’t negotiate it until we’re out, so those negotiations can’t even start until March next year. It’s the exit deal that should have been ready to discuss by the end of this month.
Mark, the EU is a lot more democratic than the UK, where a party that wins 37% of the vote can gain 100% power, half of Parliament is unelected, we can trigger major constitutional change removing rights from people with a single vote scraping a tiny majority, and we can’t vote for government ministers any more than we can vote for EU Commissioners.
No Mike, take away your blinkers. The EU commission drives policy and is completely devoid of any checks and balances. The European parliament does not initiate legislation.

We’re out of it next year and thank goodness.
It's strange how the most vital point to many brexiteers seems to be the "undemocratic" EU. I hope they're as keen to reform our own dreadful system, which forces intelligent people to vote tactically based on guesswork (inevitably often wrong) about how other people are going to vote.
So, is this really the main reason for Brexit? Or is it just a good slogan that can be parroted by people who don't really understand the issues?
It's not just some companies that aren't waiting around to find out what happens next - some people aren't, either. We packed up and left at the end of last year; very few regrets so far.
It seems like real life is imitating TV game shows with Deal or No Deal
Mark, the UK Parliament barely initiates legislation either. There’s maybe one Private Member’s Bill a year that gets through, and the rest are government bills. Would you say that the EU suddenly became democratic if it too had one Private Member’s Bill per year? And the Commission is accountable to the elected Parliament, which appoints it and can (and has done) dismiss it with a vote of no confidence, just like our government.
'Brexit could cause' 'scaremongering' = alot of articles

Brexit = 'racist' again no people want fairness

Its a great way for companies to justify i.e. confectionery firms, we're downsizing Yorkies due to Brexit.
Bye, Ben. We don’t need quitters in this country.
Fun to live in a political experiment, isn’t it?

They rarely end well.
As far as I'm aware, almost nothing positive has happened in the last two years. The supposed Brexit 'benefits' are yet to be defined and may never materialise. History will judge this era as the most obvious, if not the first, case of a nation shooting itself squarely in the wallet.
There is no point in talking about Brexit, you just get shouted down but two observations.

I don't think Theresa May is doing a particularly bad job considering the hand she has been dealt, really the job is a poison chalice at the moment. Others say they want the job (e.g Corbyn) but I bet they dont

When March comes round I will make sure I have a full larder and petrol tank. Others may want to play their silly games but I am more interested in looking after my family
The rhetoric has been as disastrous as the UK negotiation strategy.

"Brexit means Brexit". (translation: "We have no idea what Brexit mean.")

"No deal is better than a bad deal." (translation: "We don't understand that no deal is the worst possible deal, and that any negotiated deal that both sides would agree must be better than no deal.")

"have our cake and eat it" (translation: "We think the Europeans are stupid, and will allow us the 'a la carte' deal they have repeatedly ruled out.")

"they need us more than we need them...French cheese, Italian prosecco, German cars" (translation: "We don't understand how important the EU27 is to UK trade in goods and services, compared to any other destination, how important the UK is for each EU state compared to the rest of the EU.")

A ridiculous combination of fantasy, fanaticism, foolishness, 1950s nostalgia, UK exceptionalism, and insularity.

Or of course it could turn out to be a fantastic success, with full employment, increased trade with the Empire, whistling postmen, the rich man in his castle and the poor man at his gate, the green hills of England bathing in a warm sunlit glow foreglow and ever, amen.

It is a tragedy, and our children will have to live with the result.
Bye, Mark. Being proud of which side of an imaginary line I was accidentally born is luckily a depth to which I've not had to sink in order to feel good about myself.
We could have done what some of the other countries have done - stay in the EU and just ignored the rules when it suited us, then dared them to throw us out, but no, we're British, so like idiots we play by the rules, and threw ourselves out.

All the bullshit and bluster about trade deals has died down since Trump declared everyone else as a security risk and started a trade war.

There was some sort of vision of 'Brexit Britain' being an alternative way of doing things that wasn't 'Europe', but I don't think that there was ever the depth belief, talent and competence within the government to make it happen, couple that with a population that barely looks up from their phones long enough to see or care about any bigger picture and you just get the clueless directionless mess we have now.
I have plans to move to Ireland, and in time get an Irish passport. I love being in the EU and will find it a loss when the UK leaves.
Glad to see that the standard of debate on this comments page matches the standard of debate nationwide.

There's a lot of things wrong with the EU. There's a lot of things wrong with democracy in both the UK and the EU. Leaving the EU won't fix any of them. It will, most likely, hurt the economy, but that's fine as long as some vague notion of control is taken back and the UK is free to make its own trade deals from a negotiating position of the sixth largest market in the world rather than the largest (if you count the EU as one market).

Meanwhile, jingoism and xenophobia seem to have become acceptable, and all of a sudden I no longer seem to be welcome in the country I have lived in (and been a net contributor of tax to) for over 30 years.

Mark and Dan, what the UK really doesn't need is the emotive level of debate that takes place on the subject and serves only to divide and create animus.

Ben, good on you for getting the hell out.

DG, no good can come of this comments page other than upsetting starts to the day on both sides of the argument.
Anything started on for purely ideological reasons has a tendency not to end well.
I second the comments about the quality of debate and the way any nuances or subtleties in arguments are quickly shouted over.
Everyone should read (or ideally should have read two years ago) `The Blunders of Our Governments' by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe. It documents the collective stupidity which has overtaken governments in the past (e.g. Poll Tax, Millennium Dome), but the current stupidity overwhelms all of these.
There is going to be big changes and it's going to be scary at times. Some people will be better off and some will lose out. No-one knows how it will end, least of all the politicians. There is little you can do to prepare for it, apart from perhaps try to hope for the best. Complaining about it only upsets you and the people around you. My approach has been to ignore it until it affects me directly, and I am much happier as a result.
Thanks for this post, DG. It’s given me a clearer picture of the situation.
The whole thing has made me embarrassed to be British to be perfectly honest. Whichever side you voted for, I think most people must agree that we’ve made a fool of ourselves over the last two years trying to make this work.
But hey you get have “Blue Passports” which you could have had at anytime.
From the majority of Europeans we are glad you are leaving.
The UK has to understand “You are not exceptional, the EU does not owe you anything special”
There is going to be “NO having cake and eating it”
Well done DG for daring to offer your own summary of the situation, and permitting comments. Although not necessarily fully representative, the comments so far do illustrate the poisonous atmosphere which seems to have arisen since the brexit vote.

A couple of little details - it is not just UK-EU trade which is liable to disruption. It is also all the other UK trade with rest-of-world, much of which relies on arrangements applicable to all EU members.

And the option of moving to another EU country, while attractive to some, does come with the important downside of having to leave behind friends and family, on the wrong side of the newly-created fence.

In the light of Windrush, it is difficult to have full faith in any government assurances about future ease of travel.
I am utterly heartily sick of the whole subject. I listened to the debate and opinions and came to the conclusion I couldn't believe any of it. I have now switched off to taking any notice of the whole subject - I even skimmed through today's post instead of reading it properly like I would normally do.
For me, I'm old enough that I've given up caring any more. It will have to be up to the youngsters to sort this out. Best of luck to them.
It will be an unmitigated shambles. We are led by morons. The stinking hypocrisy of certain key Brexiteers who are rich enough to benefit from the shambles makes me sick.

This country is finished but it will take the death of the "we love the 1950s" brigade, who voted for this shambles, to get us to a point of emerging sanity for something better to emerge. I'll be long dead and I feel sad for the younger generations who will have to carry the venal burden foisted on them by greedy, power obsessed tax avoiders who conned half of the country. We are owed no favours by anyone and we won't get any.
Some nervous people thought that the sky would fall in because of the Millennium Bug. It didn't.

Some nervous people thought that the sky would fall in because we kept the £ and rejected the €. It didn't.

Some nervous people think that the sky will fall in because of Brexit. It won't.

We managed quite happily as an independent nation for hundreds of years before Ted Heath duped us into joining what he falsely promised would be merely a Common Market.

We'll manage quite happily again as an independent nation after we've escaped from the €U's shackles.
<rant> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - opinionated polemic - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - </rant>
@Gerry I hope you're right, but for now I'm wearing my crash helmet because even if the sky doesn't fall in, there's going to be some pretty heavy meteors landing close by.

As other's have said - it's today's youth who will have to deal with the fallout, as they already are with housing prices etc.
If those I've seen are anything to go by, I do have hope that they will not only rise to the occasion, but will flourish with their creativity and innovation, but for many others the cynicism you see in us oldies has already set in.

I had high hopes that the Referendum debates would fairly spell out the pros and cons so we could have made a balanced decision - ha! It has been nothing but political & corporate posturing and positioning from those rich enough to not care what happens to everyone else if the worse happens.
Two years since we became laughing stocks of the whole world; we let the great unwashed, with a large number of idiots and racists, decide to replace a well functioning international cooperative framework for the lies of cake-ist millionaires.

I genuinely hope the inevitable pain from Brexit affects those who voted for it the most.

And I hope I don’t have to wait 40 years for this ridiculous decision to be reversed and for me to get my citizenship rights back. In the meantime, I’ll just have to find an EU27er to marry me.
The Brexit vote offered the chance for the UK to completely rethink its role and future vision. Given it was neither Government or opposition policy there had been no prior thought about what a post Brexit world would like.

When May became PM she should have formed a Government of national unity whose sole job was to create such a vision and deliver it. It would have been a case of putting country before party and bring a divided country together.

It might not have worked but no one can say the present system is working either.

As for Brexit giving the UK it’s independence back - no country in our globally connected world is fully independent if it wants to trade with anyone else. We have to accept certain standards and paradoxically many global standards are increasingly those of the EU.

The EU created the world’s biggest free trade zone for goods and services thanks to the UK which in turn led us to become against all odds a major car manufacturer again amongst other things.

Now we have to start the process all over again.
As an outsider, I think there are two important things that no one had addressed.

One, membership in EU is something about national strategy, and should require at least 2/3 majority even if the electorate have ready access to every relevant information. As far as I see the UK had all its EEC / EU related referendums decided by 1/2 threshold, which is not at all decisive.

Two, issues like this must have more detailed options (or at least outlines of them) available. A simple "Yes" or "No" implies that whoever initiated this had already planned everything, which, unfortunately, is not the case.

It goes without saying that the Tories handled this so poorly that they probably had zero preparation. Cameron's resignation hinted that he was not prepared of that result before (unwittingly) provoking that sentiment. Had he been an actual Brexiteer he would have led the whole thing. Now every leader has seen how delusional the Tories and their supporters are. (Disclaimer: It's not like the other parties are any better, but that's not too related to this topic)

In conclusion, even though I side with Mark and Gerry, this very fact would have prompted me to vote "remain" -- unless the likes of the Tories, Mark and Gerry can suggest a viable way and get it implemented.
I am very sad to see and read today's DG post and ensuing comments.
DG writes wonderfully well on matters that are geographic and scenic, especially about the London area.
Today's post is irrelevant to the subjects we normally enjoy each day.
Please get back to your normal topic range and leave politics elsewhere.
If you've been reading for a while, you'll know politics is well within my normal topic range.

Nevertheless, feel free to apply for your daily refund in the usual place.
It’s because DG is a massive remainer and wants to get on his soapbox. Which is his right and I respect it. Today’s march is nothing about respect. They want Brexit overturned rather than a second referendum, which again their right to voice but is yet another massive virtue signal.

They are happy for a selfie today but it changes nothing. We’re leaving. Of course this government’s handling of the negotiations have been abysmal but the end game is not about today’s politicians, it’s freeing ourselves from a whole tier of legislation, plus a wholly undemocratic federal project seeks to homogenise and genuinely speaks for no one.
There was a vote, this is the outcome, if you were expecting anything different, you weren't paying attention and don't understand how people work.

All you can expect is that it won't be good, because change at this scale never is. All you have to look forward to is politicians saying for the next 20 years "if you had voted for me, it would have better".
The majority who voted , voted to leave. But it is crazy to put a person like May who does not want to leave in charge of the process. Always going to be a betrayal at hand..
I spend over 20 years as a UK Civil Servant working with and in the EU institions:Parliament,Council and Commission. Believe it or not the UK was routinely looked down upon and ignored and defeated by other member states at great cost to us, voting leave was the easiest decision I ever made.
No DG is better than a bad DG. Or something like that.
The way I see it, the EU is like a hotel. You pay them a bit of money and in return they clean your room for you, make sure you have running water every day, etc.

The average Leaver trusts that we can live on our own, and no longer need to pay money to stay in the hotel. The average Remainer understands that our house does not yet have electricity or running water and that none of us are willing to take out the trash.
Madison, just because people voted differently to you it doesn't make them 'the great unwashed' or 'racists and idiots'. It actually makes you appear to be the bigoted idiot. I don't wish Brexit to cause anybody problems; and if everyone would pull together and behave like adults then it will turn out fine....
Just as one illustration of how twisted the whole so-called debate has become - largely people on each side bellowing at those on the other, rather than discussing rationally in an attempt to exchange information and persuade - a person was on the radio today arguing that voting is undemocratic. This "will of the people" stuff is pernicious.
@Darren Eddy, if you don't think "racists" voted for Brexit, I suggest you scroll through the archives and find DG's photo from just after the referendum, which was taken up by the national and international press, of a person wearing a t-shirt which said "we won - now send them back". My wife - an immigrant herself - voted Leave because "too many foreigners come here for benefits". Anecdotes /= evidence, but I've yet to see a serious dis-proof of little-Englander xenophobia being behind a significant proportion of the vote.
On Thursday, Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) gave his annual Mansion House speech. He made quite an interesting analogy about brexit near the start, comparing it to the desire after WW1 to return to the Gold Standard.

I'd say any Remainer should spend a bit of time reading up on why so many people wanted to return to the Gold Standard, to get more of an idea of why Brexit remains so popular despite the headwinds. Any Brexiter should probably read a bit on what happened to the UK once it "won" and got the Gold Standard back ....
It remains the case that this whole palaver was created by the f***wit Cameron who gambled on something he never ought to...I warned people when he was elected....but oh no...silly B, couldn't possibly be right.

If I felt that any hot air released by anyone here or anywhere else, including the Houses of Parliament, would make one iota of difference, I'd contribute my twopenneth. As it is, all we can do is get on with it....some of us may not be quite as calm doing it though.
I don’t understand how David Cameron gets blame for offering the country a choice on Membership if the EU.

Criticism of him for running a poor campaign is fine, however when all the main political parties which could be possible governments were for remain, then a referendum was a way of getting a real democratic decision.
Cameron should get heaps of blame. He had the opportunity to make alliances and get more goodwill across the EU. Instead he withdrew the Tories from the mainstream European political channels and aligned the Tories with fringe nut job factions in Brussels.
He just assumed he could 'wing it' like he did with the Scottish referendum.

I totally understand why some people who voted leave have huge frustrations with the EU (which is far from perfect) but in the past two years I've not seen a single tangible thing from the Brexiteers that will make our life better. Just nonsense blatter about jam tomorrow.
It is doing my head in.
At the time of the referendum result, I thought that we would ‘muddle through’ somehow, because that’s what we do. We are good at that. The outcome is inevitably less than ideal, but that’s par for the course isn’t it? It’s all being run by our sort of elected politicians, so we have to grit our teeth.

Staying in was leading inevitably to the seemingly certain United States of Europe, inevitably ruled by Germany. Maybe that would be efficient, but would it be good for British people? Answers on the back of a postage stamp. My German cousin feels the same way as me.

Anyway, global warming will give us more grief sooner or later.
"...leading inevitably to the seemingly certain..." is precisely the kind of unfounded logic which has been driving the rush to embrace Brexit.
@Graham - one swallow doesn't make a summer. I have spoken to a lot of people that voted to Leave - dissatisfaction with the EU has been the main reason given for their vote; it was certainly mine. By labelling anyone you disagree with as a racist only serves to empower the racists who will go on to believe they have more support than they do. It's all about distraction so we squabble among ourselves while the system fleeces us.I despise the likes of Farage and UKIP - I love Europe but equally despise the EU bullies that see us as a cash cow. I'm happy with my decision.
No one alledges 100% of Brexiters in June 2016 were racist.

But if just 5% of them were motivated by racism or xenophobia, or if just 5% were so ignorant of what they were voting for, or if just 5% wanted an EEA solution, (or any combination thereof) - then the mandate is tainted.

In any case, this hard Brexit Theresa May is imposing is not reflective of the referendum result.

And David Cameron deserves the most scorn for converting such a complex issue to a yes/no and not thinking twice about what would happen if the idiots actually won.
To make a change of status quo, taking control is much more than casting a vote and let the people in charge do the rest. Some of the commentators here are hugely mistaken.

Time to take action on your local matters, folks.
One thing is guaranteed. When Brexit goes wrong it won't be the Brexiters to blame. It will be someone else for "not doing Brexit right". The "right" Brexit will always be different to what has been done.

It will be the fault of the "remoaners" or the fault of the EU (probably because they didn't offer us a have cake and eat it deal people like Boris said they would) or it will be the fault of Theresa May and her shambolic government.

But no. It will never ever be the fault of the snake oil salesmen who helped sell this decision. Never.

Whatever Brexit does turn out like, it's also guaranteed that no one will be happy with the result. Especially the 52%. 48% of voters voted for a known situation. They knew what would happen next. The 52% did not know what would happen next. And they voted for many, many different reasons and with many different outcomes in mind.

So good luck everyone. We are going to need it...
Yesterday’s march is today’s chip paper...
...and least we forget the non-voters! some of whom got more important things to be concerned about. in 200 or 300 years time "Brexit" will just be another footnote in the history of UK & EU.
One big problem with leaving the EU is that it's being done on a whim. The vote could so easily have gone the other way, which doesn't matter in a General Election because we get to vote again in 5 years. We can't run back to the EU in 5 years to say we've changed our minds. Most organisations have something in their constitution that major changes need (say) an 80% vote in favour to avoid short-term views triggering a long-term change. An unclear near 50/50 vote such as this one would result in the status quo because it is far less disruptive.
Ahhh - the Sunny Uplands!

Take Back Control

Strong and Stable

'nuff said
This, from Bloomberg, is well worth reading.

It has nothing to do with your post, but gives some illumination as to the benefits of Brexit for some of the more unscrupulous hedge funders and pollsters - shorting the £ based on polling information released to those who would benefit prior to polls closing. Not necessarily the cause of the vote to leave but definitely an effect which is nicely coincidental, given the background in such organisations of some of the major players in the leave camp, and of dubious legality.
Oh Dear. Hate to remind everyone but the British Public didn't vote to leave the EU.

Just 25% of it did. Thanks then.

Do wonder how some of them now feel, at the likely loss of our car industry. And much else besides.

But they don't care. Ignore all the warnings from the likes of the CBI and similar bodies. Experts eh - who needs them now.

Just back from a week in Prague. Great reminder of just how badly we organise this sceptre isle.
I wonder how those who want hard brexit or no deal will feel when they or their loved ones seek medical treatment after Brexit with symptoms that require scans to diagnose, or discover they need cancer radiotherapy. Access to radiotherapy and some scans will become very difficult because the Uk is not prepared at all for the new incredibly expensive changes that will be required by international law, but you bet the fools have no idea what they are unleashing and arent reading warnings from doctors and radiotherapists. If it was only the Brexit bigots affected, it would be a kind of Darwinian selection, but unfortunately only the very rich will be able to leave Uk to get these modern first world treatments that Brexit will take away from the rest of us. Hey ho, we managed fine in the 1970s without PET scans didnt we.
What a disaster :( If no decision is made, or if it is made without 50+% of the population, that will be shocking. If Brexit goes ahead, that will be worse :(

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