Okay, so the idiots did it; they broke the UK.
This is a book launch month and I should really be blogging about "The Nightmare Stacks" but British politics has just entered a nightmarish alignment and we're in CASE NIGHTMARE TWEED territory. So book-related business as usual will resume tomorrow, after I've vented.
The Brexit referendum was initially a red herring; a proxy struggle for control of the Conservative Party, with Boris Johnson suddenly turning his coat to march in front of the Leave campaign because it offered his best -- arguably his only -- chance of winkling David Cameron out of Downing Street before his scheduled retirement in 2020, by which time Boris would be 59 (and by British standards too old to be a first-term Prime Minister).
But in the process of squabbling over their own party the euroskeptic Conservatives opened the door to the goose-stepping hate-filled morons of the extreme right. The results include the first assassination of an MP -- unconnected with the Irish independence struggle -- in nearly two centuries, an upsurge in racist attacks on minorities and the disabled, and finally a demented protest vote by the elderly (voters under 25 broke 75% for remain; the over-60s voted over 66% for leave).
I'm not patting myself on the back for calling out the consequences. Sterling has tanked to its lowest level in 31 years, the stock market has crashed by 10% already, and we're likely to see international repercussions as all the sovereign wealth funds that had invested in the London property market see 30% wiped off their investments in a matter of days. Longer term, this may well be the beginning of the end for the UK as a nation. (Watch who's standing on the sidelines praising the result: Donald Trump, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Marine le Pen -- a who's who of international fascismus.) The EU was the guarantor of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland: the Northern Ireland peace process must thus be presumed to be broken, and it's anybody's guess what happens next. Scotland voted by a 62%/38% margin to remain in the EU and is being dragged out against its will; we are already seeing the first moves towards a second Independence referendum, and on the basis of pre-Brexit opinion polls it looks highly likely that Scotland will vote for independence within the EU. (When asked how they'd vote on an independence referendum if the UK had voted to leave the EU, Scottish voter intentions registered a 6% swing towards independence -- a hypothetical that would deliver an absolute majority.) The enabling legislation for IndyRef 2 is apparently already being drafted in Holyrood, and the Scottish government, despite being an SNP minority group, can count on an absolute parliamentary majority in moving for another referendum because the Scottish Green Party will vote with them (being officially for independence); it's likely that in 2-5 years Scotland will have split from the UK and applied to re-admission to the EU. As for Northern Ireland there will be urgent negotiations for some sort of federal arrangement with the Republic that allows them to retain EU access (the Republic of Ireland being an EU member and Northern Ireland having voted to remain in the EU by a significant margin).
What happens to England and Wales now?
Short version: economic turmoil caused by the uncertainty. An upswing in right-wing xenophobia as the utterly odious crypto-fascist Nigel Farage makes hay while the Sun shines on his project. Divorce negotiations ...the Brexiters have been selling a lie; that they'd get a no-fault divorce and keep the house. Reality is somewhat less convenient and Brussels has no alternative but to play hardball if it is to deter other loosely-bound members from following England's example. Most likely England will end up losing the house, the CD collection, and the cat and having to sleep in the car. For example, the biggest chunk of the UK economy today is the banking sector, and London is the global number one market for euro-denominated derivatives trading. But London, as a non-euro zone market, is only allowed to trade in euros because it's the capital of an EU member state. A London that is out in the cold will lose that business. Expect much of the British financial sector to decamp to Frankfurt, Paris, and Brussels. And there will be other ghastly economic consequences; if the UK is allowed to get a no-fault divorce, when why should Greece put up with the Troika's demands?
This is only just beginning, but I think it's safe to say we're back in the Scottish Political Singularity, with a disturbing undercurrent of violent jingoistic xenophobia down south -- the Scottish divorce from Englandshire won't be uncontested or fault-free either -- and meanwhile the smirking fascist in the corner is hoisting his pint glass and humming "tomorrow belongs to me."