Even though pretty much everyone is behaving as though pretty much everything has changed, the reality is, pretty much nothing has changed. The EU referendum was always an advisory result that needed to be ratified by Parliament, so Theresa May was never going to be able to invoke Article 50 and start formal exit negotiations with the EU without the House of Commons vote taking place.
And apart from the odd disgraceful public servant who should be shown the door, the majority of MPs will honour the referendum and vote leave, even if they are in constituencies where remain has the majority vote. The reason being, MPs that defy the will of the British people are unlikely to survive after the next general election, which means individual MPs are more likely to respect the referendum result.
As for whether it's a hard, soft, clean or messy Brexit, well the reality is, it probably won't make all that much difference long term, because the mid-to-long-term future of the EU is about as sticky as a lorry full of treacle spilling its load in the middle of the channel tunnel.
Here’s the thing, it’s fairly straightforward. Anyone with even a sketchy understanding of the very basics of trade and competition should know that any country that leaves the EU’s protectionist bloc will be better off in the medium to long term (there are usually short term shocks and tumults with radical breaks from the status quo, so don’t let it fool you).
This can be understood by anyone who understands why artificially constructed free trade inhibitors make the people within the border worse off as well as those on the outside (something I also covered in the articles attached to the above hyperlink).
You see, this is the first generation of people in the world's history that has had access to the entire world's knowledge, and moreover the ability to communicate so freely at a global level. My prediction involves two main things happening: 1) wider understanding of how trade and competition bolster people's economic well-being, and 2) wider understanding of how politicians retard this process.
Both are likely to happen at some point in the future - it's hard to say precisely when - but what this means is that the EU is being allowed to get away with its stultifying practices only for as long as it can continue to not get found out by a larger number of people.
What they have been getting away with is a socialistic protectionist bloc set up and run to favour its two largest single currency member states -
It should be remembered that the European Union was
originally a creation of American post-war foreign policy as a bulwark against
the communist forces of the France Soviet Union. The
American plan, tacit though it might have been, was to keep European nations in
check against ideologies it felt were threatening or economically repressive.
It was a very unnatural political union. As time went on the EU trade bloc became more and more evidently a sovereignty-stripping monolith used to gradually mould other EU members into the Franco-German line, guarding them against competitive forces and globalised free trade. In other words, the main beneficiaries of EU policies have been
its two biggest economies, both having their interests best served by the rules
they create. France
For most of that time
been like a microcosmic version of the union to which it is conjoined - protectionist
over its own citizens, whereby local French connections are encouraged, with ,
being the EU's strongest export country, having the most to gain from the EU
and the most to lose by its gradual dismantlement. Germany
While all this has been going on, numerous smaller European nations have lost out big-time by supplanting their own national currencies for the Euro, thereby ending their ability to competitively trade their currency against other currencies, and adjusting their fiscal and monetary policies in accordance with market signals. Not to mention that Eurozone nations were able to borrow money far more cheaply with the single currency than their with own currency, which, as is plain for all the world to see, has been an economic disaster for them.
Even if we put aside all the other things that are drastically wrong with the EU, the current situation is rather like this. Germany is like a big company that wants to sell some of its premises to smaller businesses (Ireland, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal and then followed by Italy and Spain) but will also willingly loan the money to the buyers in the hope that they make enough of a success of their businesses to pay them back, but do so by rigging the terms so that debtor submission was always a highly likely culmination - one that domestic politicians surreptitiously pass on to their taxpayers.
But, alas, because of the failing economies of those in debt, paying Germany back is hugely problematical, with the inevitable outcome being the European Central Bank trying to keep domestic banks' heads above water by printing more currency and attempting to hold it in spite of the numerous Eurozone liabilities, not to mention the huge public sector expenditure crisis that's hitting the whole of Europe (including the UK) and will only get worse as domestic governments try desperately hard work to out how to untangle themselves from public sector knots without getting strung up by the electorate.
Mark my words, and remember where you read them, because quite simply, very few people are telling you the truth about the future of the EU and how it is going to be torn to shreds as more and more member states look to follow us in tearing ourselves away.
You may think it's hard to imagine the EU not existing in a form similar to its current set-up, but radical future differences are hard to predict. And one only need imagine how many radical changes someone from the 60s or 70s would have failed to predict about the 40 or 50 years that followed to get an idea of how radically different our future Europe can be. The day when even the staunchest Remainers thank their lucky stars they are not in the EU will, I'm confident, be a reality at some point in the next decade or two - much like how those that used to argue fervently for the UK to adopt the Euro are now doubly glad we didn't.