On Friday June 24th, in Manchester Town Hall, Jenny Watson, the chief counting officer, will announce the decision of the British people — whether we leave or remain in the European Union.
It will be a tense moment and if we vote to leave, as I dearly hope we will, there will be exhilaration and relief on our side. But after the initial flurry of emotions, everything will settle down. I suspect all those who have been stoking up Project Fear will be surprised by the calm and stability that prevails and the sense of optimism about our country which begins to take hold.
The day after we vote to leave, no laws will have changed, no iron shutters will have clanked down at the portal of the Channel Tunnel. The British people will simply have given their instruction to the Government to make arrangements for us to leave the EU. It will be the start of a process. It will be in Britain’s hands how we manage it and how long it takes.
The Government will meet to decide the next steps. Officials and diplomats will immediately start scoping out the broad parameters for full-scale talks with our European friends and with the institutions in Brussels. The mission will be clear: securing the best possible terms for Britain.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, recently told a French newspaper that if we leave we will be treated as “deserters” and taunted like cats having their fur stroked the wrong way. But once we vote to leave, the fury and bluster of the campaign will be ancient history.
It has often been said that the EU takes advantage of every crisis to pursue deeper integration by creating new facts on the ground. On this occasion, it will be Britain creating the new facts. Juncker, Brussels and Europe will knuckle down to deal with this reality– that a member state is departing for the first time and that it is in the interests of everyone to get it done well.
In a series of articles published by Portland, Vote Leave campaigners Michael Gove and George Eustice clash with some of Britain’s most experienced diplomats on the question at the heart of Britain’s EU referendum: what would happen if Britain votes for Brexit on 23rd June?
Click here to read The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP for Surrey Heath article in full.