According to legend when Queen Elizabeth I was told of her accession to the throne, she fell to her knees and quoted Psalm 118: "This is the Lord's doing: it is marvellous in our eyes."
To the shock of virtually everyone the British voter has told Brussels and the whole blasted edifice of the Eurocratic state to go stuff themselves. I am beside myself with delighted shock. My schedule of late has made regular blogging very difficult for me. Yet this is one of those moments where I simply had to say something. This is History with a big capital "H." This is politics with an grand and elongated "P" dominating the surrounding text. This is not simply athwart history yelling stop, this is actually stopping history and telling the teleologists of European Federalism to go take an extended walk off a very short pier.
It has been the opinion of this site - since what seems like time immemorial - that Charles de Gaulle was correct on two points: Opposing the Nazis and opposing Britain's entry into what was then called the Common Market. In blocking Britain's initial application in 1963 he famously observed that Britain does not think or act like a continental nation. To which we say in a rousing response: Thank Goodness!
While the instinct of good Anglophiles through out the world is to sing Rule Britannia and There Will Always Be An England, it is at moments like these that caution must be exercised. The EU is much like a street gang, albeit with somewhat better sartorial tastes. It's easy enough to join the Brussels Bloods or the Strasbourg Crips, it's somewhat harder to leave. The European Union rules not through brute force - only two of its members, now down to one, has any credible military power. Nor does the EU rule through popular consent. Instead it rules through bureaucratic entanglement.
At this moment the continental Sir Humphreys are plotting to keep Britain in "Europe." They will point to the close margin. They will point to the complexity of the exit negotiations. They will point to Britain's shaky economy. For the moment they will point to the crashes in international markets as proof that Brexit is a disaster. It's all rubbish and those responsible patriots within the British state must keep pushing forward. The referendum is not the beginning of the end, it is only the end of the beginning. The Eurocrats will fight well polished tooth and manicured nail to prevent British independence. They understand - perhaps more clearly than most Britons today - that the United Kingdom remains the arbiter of Europe.
So long as Britain is free, Europe might be free. Those who have sought to build a single European superstate - the Bourbons, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Stalin - understood that this strange fog bound island off the coast of France is not merely Airstrip One. It is a nation that invented punching above its weight and overcoming absurd odds. Doing impossible and mildly eccentric things is the British way. Merciful a small majority of the British electorate still understands that.
My suspicion is that many of the 48.1% who voted Remain did so out of fear. The fear that modern Britain is too weak to stand on its own. I doubt very much that any significant portion of the electorate - outside the international business class and the Guardian wielding intelligentsia - thinks of itself as "European." They look upon the EU as a clumsy though basically utilitarian machine to facilitate travel and trade. When it is demonstrated that Britain does not need the EU, it will be the death knell of the European project.
It is possible that - if only out of desperation - the Eurocracy may perform a volte face and create a genuine single market, that the whole of the EU might be turned into a free marketing free trade zone from Lisbon to Latvia. In that we would rejoice. The odds however are very slim. The continental European is too addicted to statism and collectivism to accept the rigours of liberty. Given a choice between the benefits of market capitalism and the illusions of welfare statism they will choose the latter every time. The British are hardly immune from these temptations, though they at least show persistent signs of penitence. Any other country would have voted James Callaghan back into office in 1979. Any other country would have turfed the Tories in 2015 in favour of the blandishments of Milibanian Labourism. The British muddle through, mostly in the right direction. In a fallen world that makes them an inspiration.
I would like to take this opportunity to give a personal thanks to David Cameron. He has never been my favourite politician. I have nothing against an Old Etonian - quite the contrary - but an Old Etonian who pretends he doesn't know any Latin is far too much. Much of his career has been a series of fragile pretensions around the questions of class and ideology. A pseudo-Thatcherite who attempts very clumsily to project a matey charm. Considering the moral corruptions of the Blairite years these are comparatively petty complaints. He is almost wholesome in the light of his immediate Labour predecessors. Beside John Major he doth bestride the world like a Colossus. It is only next to That Woman that he seems like a little boy in short pants.
Yet all that said and said again he has kept his promise. There has been a referendum, the side he campaigned for vigorously lost by a small but clear margin and this morning he did the honourable thing and resigned after only six years in Downing Street. Can you imagine Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau or Gordon Brown doing the same thing? Not the smallest chance. Credit where it's due. He'll almost certainly be made a peer after a discreet interval. May he continue to serve his country in the House of Lords with distinction.
The question now turns automatically to succession. Just as this referendum was no ordinary vote, so his successor can be no ordinary man. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are the most commonly touted names. We shall see what shakes out during the Tory leadership campaign that will dominate political headlines until October. What is clear is that the next Prime Minister must push through with Brexit at full speed. While the million niggling details may take years to sort out, the big stuff is easy enough. Parliament should immediately pass a kind of declaratory act asserting its supremacy and that of British law over and above any European laws or regulations. Any EU laws that remain on the books do so temporarily and at the grace and favour of Parliament. This places any further negotiations in a clear and stark light: We're in charge of this process and we're leaving no matter what.
Once this is done a set time table must be established. If negotiations fail with Brussels on a particular point, Parliament will then be free to act unilaterally. A parallel set of laws and institutions must be quickly established and made ready to replace any useful and necessary functions that have - since 1973 - been outsourced to the EU. Momentum is absolutely vital. Any hesitation over the next few months would spell the end of Brexit.
Be joyful my friends. But be wary and strong as well.