I had a look at article 50, I have reproduced it at the bottom, strange thing is that it doesn't require a referendum just that a government apply. Given the UK government's normal method of working you have to ask what is the referendum really for? It is scary that almost on a whim a government could decide to leave the EU with no electoral mandate.
LegalThe legal position is quite clear the government is required to do nothing. The legislation made this an advisory referendum, you and I, given advice should take the time to consider it but we are entitled to ignore it, we are also entitled to ask for a second opinion.
The EU itself can do nothing until it receives a Chapter 50 notification, in some way it is being irresponsible in making comments, the decision is still in the hand of the UK government.
One learned professor of Law in Scotland claimed I was rather ill-informed on this but the problem is there is no case law, the nearest you can get is in commercial law, with things like cooling off periods and misselling. Everyone is ill informed on the subject of the legalisation until it goes to court. I have had legal advice which I have ignored before and be proved right to do so when the court took my side. I have also one a case representing myself when the organisation I was up against had got barristers advice and was trying to scare me with the idea of costs, I won.
SovereigntyThe Sovereignty of the UK parliament was one of the big concerns of the #brexiteers, they wanted it preserved and maximised, by making the vote advisory, the UK government kept maintained that sovereignty. It would be hard for them to complain about sovereignty being used to thwart their ambitions.
DemocracyThe settled will of the people is hardly what we have at 48%-52%, even Farage said as much when claiming that 48%-52% or closer would be unfinished business, admittedly he was trying to legitimise a 2nd ref in his favour.
The government itself was voted in by less than 40% of the people and happily ignored the other 60% but according to a lot of people that is just the system we have and we have to put up with it. Well, the system we have put the word advisory in and kept Parliament sovereign, so the system we have does allow the choice.
UKIP amongst other have suggested recall votes and in one case UKIP has actually asked for one, the trigger point being a petition by 10% of the electorate, so what happened if the call for a second ref gets to 4,532,510, will the Kippers join in and request a 2nd vote.
EthicallyEven before the vote, this was termed the beginning of post fact democracy, reflecting the sheer amount of lies told, it seems that lots of people had no real idea what they were voting about. They didn't read the average size print, just the headlines of their favourite tabloid. Admittedly the had the opportunity to become informed about the subject but didn't take it, but they still claim they didn't make an informed choice. If there was a larger margin then the decision would be clear
ResultOmnishambles, no one comes out of this looking good, well at least no one in the UK. The legislation was a mess, the campaigns were a mess. the entire thing was a mess.
The other question is why aren't Boris and Co demanding the article 50 be enacted immediately? This referendum was not about getting a simple answer to a simple question, it is deeply bound up with political manoeuvrings in centre right politics
Where are we?In a mess.
One thing is for sure the next time someone thinks of having a referendum they should think long and hard about the rules best out of 3 is not a bad idea, it would give more time for thought and reflection and in the end a more considered view.
It probably should be binding unless there is a very small margin.
Article 501. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.