With the Tory party fracturing, there is a very real danger of ending up with a kamikaze Tory leader who genuinely wants to leave the EU.
Leaving the EU will crash our economy and will destroy the reputation of the PM who does it. We know this because firstly it’s common sense and secondly an awful lot of economists agreed. But if that wasn’t enough:
The FTSE250 dropped 7% two days in a row at the mere prospect, the pound hit a 31 year low, our GDP forecasts have been severely reduced and to top it off, our credit ratings have been downgraded so we’ll find it more expensive to borrow money to pull ourselves out of a crash. Even before anything has actually happened, it’s pretty clear that leaving is a monumentally stupid idea.
We have less room for manoeuvre than we did in 2008. We run a much larger deficit (http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_national_deficit_analysis) now and we’ve already spent the last six years cutting public spending, so it’s not like we’ve got huge amounts of waste we can easily eliminate. Interest rates are lower than ever, and while the Bank Of England is expected to cut them even further, they don’t have very far they can go. It will hit us far harder than the financial crisis of 2008, we will be able to do less to stop it, it will take much longer to recover from, and it will shred the reputation of whoever pushes that button.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s all the trade negotiations. When the button is pressed, we get two years. At this point the EU has absolutely no motivation to be prompt or helpful. All they have to say is “Hmm, that’s an interesting proposition, we’ll get back to you in a few months” and they’ve just put us in the worst negotiating position ever.
Therefore nobody with any sense wants to leave the EU, and even fewer people with sense want to be the prime minster when it happens.
Unfortunately, from 2010 through to the referendum and its aftermath, there is a consistent pattern emerging of sleepwalking into progressively worse decisions by over-estimating the intelligence of the actors involved.