Thursday, 15 October 2015

The double referendum penny just dropped at the Telegraph

The Torygraph have finally realised what we've been saying for the last couple of years - the EU referendum we've been promised by 2017 isn't necessarily the only one we're going to get.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, any state wishing to leave the EU has to give two years' notice during which time it has to negotiate a new relationship with the EU. On the face of it, it's a sensible clause because it allows for a two year transitionary period where the exiting member state can get its treaties lined up ready to take effect on the day it leaves to govern its new relationship with the EU outside of the shackles of political union.

In reality, however, it's a "last gasp" clause to justify a second referendum. After a vote to leave, the EU is going to offer concessions for the member state to remain in. After extracting concessions from the usually intractable EU - a victory for the statesmanlike prime minister showing them lot in Brussels who's the boss of course - it would be perfectly reasonable to hold another referendum because things would be so much more different than they were when the first referendum was held. Just like the EU Constitution and Lisbon Treaty which were completely different and not at all the same thing with a different title and a change of payload.

A second referendum was so inevitable, in fact, that we helpfully pointed it out in this handy graphic from a couple of years ago ...

It's nice to see the media finally catching up with the real world.