What now?

The people have spoken and we who thought otherwise must bite the bullet. I entirely accept the identified disconnect between politicians and populace and there is no doubt that it must be addressed by all politicians who aspire to lead. We must limit future immigration on a rational basis. No party can afford to prolong the status quo. All manifestos in future will have to move beyond vague platitudes to reasoned proposals.

All that suggests a future healthy and constructive debate on this most difficult issue. There is every reason now why that can be conducted openly and calmly with no quarter given to the minority of racists who peep beneath the bedspread of great parties or none. I absolutely agree with those who call for a kinder less malevolent politics as a legacy for Jo Cox and in any event. We simply cannot live anymore with vicious and evil personal attacks in print, which debase campaigning journalism and are not justified by results. The virulence of the bitches of Fleet Street should no longer be heard.

Not one part of that deliberately provocative description should be taken as covert support for censorship. It is simply the cruelty that I find so painful. The fine tradition of radical journalism does not encompass deliberate personal attack, demeaning and spiteful as they have become. We can do better.

All of which is a prelude the the question of the hour – what now? The answer is the need to stimulate other trading relationships as soon as possible. There will be an economic downturn which will hurt most the very dispossessed who have dared to vote to leave. Those of us who wanted to remain should avoid endless recrimination and post-match analysis. In one sense we should outbrexit Brexit. By that I mean promote every conceivable initiative which stimulates other trading relationships. If Europe in the short term will not accommodate us, others will.

So the new government should create the most dynamic gold plated sales force we have ever possessed, A new Department led by someone of the calibre of Andrea Leadson working with the best and most successful businessmen in the land. Recruit a whole new generation of super sales personnel. Pay them by results. I have no qualms about that. And when they succeed, they should be recognised for the heroes they will have become. The economic saviours of a fractured worried divided nation.

In short, the sooner we trade ourselves out of trouble, the better.

Nigel Pascoe QC


England expects…

I started intending to Remain and nothing has changed my mind. But that does not mean a condemnation of all canvassing. The best advocates have been from that side of the debate. Michael Gove, Andrea Leadson and Gisela Stuart have been outstanding, with charismatic contributions from Boris Johnson. David Cameron has worked his socks off, but I have been less than impressed by the support he has received across the board. Sadiq Khan and Ruth Davidson this evening were honourable exceptions

But will advocacy carry the day? It would be in the teeth of the overwhelming economic evidence in support of Remain. I have absolutely no doubt that there would be real financial hardship in the short term and a run on the pound if we leave. The weak Brexit response that experts should not be believed is hard to credit. They have been defeated comprehensively in this field and that probably will be decisive.

That leaves sovereignty, security and immigration, where the evidence and assertions are far more difficult to assess. The great majority of voters accept the premise that our sovereignty has been compromised and there is precious little we can do about it without decisive action. Similarly with immigration. Forget the covert or even overt racists. There is widespread frustration outside London at the scale of immigration. It takes calm careful argument to seek to highlight its positive benefits, particularly in the NHS. Remain simply have not addressed the issue and fears over a long period and it remains the joker in the pack, which of course could upset all calculations and polls.

For me, security is the decisive issue. We are safer trying to keep the peace inside Europe rather than pontificating outside. We can be the decisive voice round the table. I also favour maximum European cooperation to combat terrorism. Secondly our children have better prospects if we remain. Thirdly and personally, the French medical system supports one of my children admirably and nothing would persuade me to compromise that. And cooperation in medical research is vital.

Personal and political reasons, like most electors. What I worry about now is the sense of disillusion when Remain win. That is where leadership will be critical.

Nigel Pascoe QC