The cover of our latest edition – ‘The lost art of leadership’, with politicians and corporate types fumbling around blindfolded - has turned out to be uncannily predictive. On Thursday British voters humbled the leaders of the established parties by opting to leave the European Union. At the same time they spooked the financial markets which had convinced themselves, in fit of groupthink, that Remain would win the day. As our cover story notes, we live in a world where unthinkable events turn out to be all too possible. ‘A rapid-fire succession of abnormal, disruptive events is the new reality,’ write Nik Gowing and Chris Langdon. ‘Many at the top level are in denial.’
What should be the response? Chris Donnelly, a former NATO strategist, argues that a time of fast-paced change requires a wartime mindset. Only this will break down institutional barriers.
The future of the United Kingdom is now clouded. There is no certainty about its relations with the European Union and even the survival of the 300-year-old union between England and Scotland is in doubt. Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP and one of the leading thinkers of the successful Leave campaign, argues that Britain can have a better deal with the EU than Norway or even Switzerland. Here’s his vision for post-Brexit Britain.
The question of who is to blame for the failure of Prime Minister David Cameron’s gamble will no doubt rumble on for years to come. Here’s a thought from the Dutch policy analyst Adriaan Schout who wrote presciently in the April-May edition that ‘EU dinosaurs may pave the way for Brexit.’ The dinosaurs he references are, surprisingly, Belgian conservatives who led the opposition to Cameron’s demands for EU reform.