Listening to the referendum programme on BBC TV was an interesting experience overnight. The graphics were good and gripping but, as the night advanced and the results tumbled in, I could sense an unease from the broadcasters. They could see what they could not quite believe and most probably did not like very much.
They could see that the people had spoken and they have had enough of the EU.
What of David Cameron? I don’t envy him this morning; he threw himself into campaigning for Remain and he lost. There will be members of his party who will be gunning for him; politics is a brutal business. He has played the politician in this campaign; now is the time for him to play the statesman. Nothing is gained by his standing down. We need stability and leadership and he has the skills to deliver that need. So I hope he has the courage to accept the people’s decision and to lead the country through the process of leaving the European Union. He will need to be magnanimous in defeat and to enlist the help of those who opposed him. Michael Gove has the intellectual skills and integrity to be a part of that process and Boris has the panache although probably not the attention to detail that this will need. We must avoid a leadership election at this time; we need stability.
Turning to Lady Macbeth (AKA Nicola Sturgeon), I suspect she will start squawking about breaking up the Union again and she is best ignored. The Scots can’t afford to leave and we can remind them they had their referendum and gave their decision. They are part of Great Britain and they need to put up and shut up.
Jeremy Corbyn is a different matter and the EU referendum has exposed the gulf between his MPs and many people who traditionally voted Labour. It was clear his heart was never in the Remain campaign and many Labour voters chose Leave. I suspect he will limp along for a bit longer but we are lucky that Labour has no chance of forming a government and the Conservative party has time to re-group under Cameron and to prove itself capable of leadership.