David Cameron is an astounding genius. Of course, you'd expect nothing less from an alumni of Eton and Oxford, but to see his genius in action in such a grand public scale makes it no less incredible.
This meme was doing the rounds on Facebook yesterday. But I beg to differ - this wasn't a rage-quit. This was a chess move so calculated and so devastating that the full extent of its consequences will take a long time to become apparent.
With his resignation, David Cameron ensured that the person who succeeds him is going to commit political suicide. And someone will have to succeed him, because someone will have to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And that person will have to die. Whether or not that person is Boris Johnson remains to be seen.
Here's the deal. The referendum was set up to be advisory, not binding. The British Parliament is under no legal obligation to follow through on the results on the referendum, but if the government does not follow up, the entire premise of democracy falls apart. Therefore, Britain has to leave the EU, and to do that, someone will have to inform the European Commission by sending them a notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. That someone was going to be David Cameron, until he decided to resign and let his successor do it.
On the face of it, that would be an honour for his pro-Leave successor. But of course, things aren't so simple:
If the successor follows through and invokes Article 50, Scotland and Northern Ireland breaks away and joins the EU. The United Kingdom is no longer united. A mountain of laws and regulations need to be torn up and new ones written in its place. The English economy collapses. The public quickly loses patience, and the blood is now on the successor's hands. His career is over, as is the United Kingdom as we know it.
If the successor does not follow through and fails to invoke Article 50, the premise of the democratic government falls apart. The governance of the UK is no longer democratic, and the entire establishment is a farce. The successor's career is over, as is probably the entire government's. It doesn't end there, however. The next person on the chair also finds himself in the same conundrum, as the next. Until the will of the British people change and they decide to stay - and make it known in another referendum - this cycle continues.
It appears I'm not alone in this theory. Someone commented exactly along these lines on a Guardian article, which is what led me to think twice - hey, I thought this line of thought was an effect of too much House of Cards, but it appears I might not be completely crazy after all - and take this out of my mind and put it to paper. Well, the Internet.
The next few months are going to be very interesting.