Over to you, says puffy-eyed Cameron as the Brexit vultures circle


By John Crace, sums it up perfectly in the guardian

 

Shortly after 6am a van pulled up outside Downing Street. With still no sign of David Cameron, who had been expected to make a statement minutes earlier, the hordes of photographers gathered outside the prime minister’s front door snapped the newspaper delivery man instead. Something to do. This was history and no one wanted to miss a moment.

There was still no sign of the prime minister nearly an hour later when someone opened the door of No 10 to let Larry the Downing Street cat out for his morning stroll. The photographers got their cameras out again. Larry sat on the porch for five minutes, wondering if he was about to be the fall guy in a dead cat bounce. Surprised to find himself still alive, he exited stage right.

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Another half an hour passed and Larry reappeared. The front door opened and he went back inside. Still no sign of Dave. It was becoming startlingly clear that No 10 was in crisis. The prime minister knew he should have made a statement long ago, but he still didn’t really have a clue what he was going to say. What could he say? He’d gambled the future of the country for an internal party squabble and he’d lost.

As sterling dropped another few cents, a French broadcaster rehearsed her lines. “David Cameron est fini,” she said. “David Cameron is finished.” It was apparently going to be a dual-language broadcast. On the other side of the gates at the far end of Downing Street, an organ grinder played an off tempo version of Land of Hope and Glory while passing cars honked their horns in approval. The Brexit vultures were closing in.


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At 7.40am Lord Feldman, the Conservative party chairman, knocked on the front door of No 10. He was kept waiting outside considerably longer than Larry. The new world order was making itself felt. “Have you got anything to say, Lord Feldman?” a reporter shouted. He hadn’t. No one else seemed to have anything to say, so why should he?

Still no Dave. At 8am the financial markets opened and £100bn was wiped off their value within minutes. So much for the prime minister calming City nerves. Shortly before 8.30, Dave’s favourite oak lectern was carried out into the street, and moments later he and his wife Sam walked out. Both looked puffy-eyed. It had been a long night, and the day was going to be even longer.

“Good morning everyone,” he said, grasping the lectern with both hands. “The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered. Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made. I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong.”

His body language was anything but reassuring, and neither was his implication that the British people had come to the wrong decision. He wasn’t the right man to lead the negotiations for this country’s exit from the EU, he continued, so he would be standing down as prime minister before the Conservative party conference in October.

It was said with dignity as well as edge. Scotland was already seeking a second independence referendum to keep the country in the EU, Northern Ireland might do the same, Spain was making claims on Gibraltar and Britain faced years of economic uncertainty. If Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were so sure they could sort out this mess, they were welcome to have a go. His job had stopped being fun and he’d had enough.

 

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