“This referendum does not contain any requirement for the UK government to implement its results, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. This is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions. The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented …”

That’s not the text of a controversial decision by a group of bewigged judges. It is in fact a quotation from Paragraph 5 of the European Union Referendum Bill itself, as agreed by Parliament last year. That’s what we voted for. What a shame that wasn’t made a little clearer to voters by those whose lies and deceit during the campaign might make even Mr Trump blush. Even Mrs May’s brainless statement that “Brexit means Brexit” isn’t true.

The referendum has other issues in common with the American election. Many ‘Leave’ voters share the Trump idea that the most important thing is to smash up the institutions of the past, before even thinking what to do next. We may be sick of poverty and austerity and the gross inequalities between rich and poor, but will a solo UK be an improvement? Who knows? According to the most sober financial analysts there is no post-EU scenario which doesn’t leave us worse off than we are now.

On the other hand the EU, like Secretary Clinton, doesn’t inspire much public affection either. From its petty regulations to its totally unwelcome push for more centralisation it too often fails to represent what most of its members want. To crawl back to the EU now saying sorry, can’t think what came over us, would be just as unacceptable as ripping ourselves brutally out without a clue what to do next.

There’s nothing anti-democratic in taking as much time and negotiation as necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for our country. The referendum specifically does not “set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented”. The ties between our country and the EU are so complex and intertwined that it might take several years to unpick them all. If it needs that time it’s in all our interests that it should have it.

The vote on 23rd June did not say that Mrs May and her Three Amigos should have the sole say on when and what we do. Parliament should set the agenda and priorities of what we want to achieve, and Parliament should have the final say, bolstered if necessary by a second referendum, on whether we’ve achieved it. That’s the sensible and constitutional way to carry the referendum result forward. The alternative is to bow to the dark threats of racist and mob violence ramped up by such as Nigel Farage, and the most disgusting display of hatred and ignorance I’ve ever seen from the right-wing press. If we’re going to go out for heaven’s sake let’s take our time and do it properly.

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