Five Questions on Brexit to JO SHAW

1. What were your thoughts when you first heard of the result of the referendum this morning?

I was watching the TV last night when the first two results were declared (Sunderland and Newcastle) and these immediately triggered concerns that never went away about Remain underperformance. I was pretty much awake all night following it on twitter, and sleep was an impossibility. I was rather numb this morning, but talking it through with a number of people and doing a couple of media interviews, as well as the inevitable social media mawkishness has helped.

I’m horrified by the result which I am still struggling to understand, although I’ve heard all the arguments about people being left behind and facing a fear of immigration, etc. I was pleased that Scotland voted solidly and strongly for Remain.

2. Could an exit of the UK result in changes to the constitutional setup of the European Union, for better or worse?

I think that’s unlikely although I know that some people may be happy to see the UK go as it might remove a brake on certain changes (although in my view they are then likely to realise that lots of other Member States are also opposed to closer integration and oppose any further treaty changes), and won’t lead to the unravelling of free movement. But in practice, the UK’s evolving disentanglement from the EU might create a de facto or even de jure type of halfway house membership to accommodate British exceptionalism.

I’m not happy about what’s happened, but I wonder if the time has come to question whether the EU has somehow run its course and transnationalism in Europe – which is essential – needs to be reinvented in some other form (I genuinely believe that if the EU didn’t exist we would need to invent something like it).

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