A PRIME Minister resigns, there is a motion of no confidence in the Leader of the Opposition, there’s the explicit threat of a second Scottish independence referendum and the financial markets are in turmoil.
Just the headline events after Britain defied the Government and opted to leave the European Union; the immediate fallout was, unquestionably, the most momentous in domestic politics since Margaret Thatcher’s downfall.
The Brexit vote – and the extent to which the Tory leader misread the public’s mood – will be David Cameron’s legacy. Even a narrow Remain win would have been terminal to his authority as Yorkshire now comes to terms with a county, country and continent divided like never before.
Even though levels of Euroscepticism run deep in parts of the county, it is significant that the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of Leeds, Harrogate and York endorsed Mr Cameron (albeit by the narrowest of margins here in Leeds). Given how financial services are intrinsic to the success of this area, this divergence of opinion will not make it any easier to break this region’s devolution deadlock – just one of many issues put on hold because of the referendum.
And Britain? Less than two years after the question of Scottish independence was supposedly settled, a second referendum looks on the cards after voters north of the border backed the EU in overwhelming numbers. If SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon gets her own way, how, for example, is the border controlled between a pro-EU Scotland and a liberated England? This conundrum is, potentially, just one of many unintended consequences from a decision which could also have far-reaching consequences for Northern Ireland.
What next? A Tory and Labour leadership battle, a Leave strategy that will be months, if not years, in the making; turmoil in the markets and a general sense of uncertainty all round.
This is no time for panic decisions, hasty judgements and spur-of-the-moment reactions.
The Archbishop of York’s call for Britain calmness and unity is wise counsel indeed.
We are, after all, only at the beginning of the end - and who knows, ultimately, where it will lead us.
Unchartered territory indeed.