Sam Cam’s Brexit diary

by Hugo Dixon | 24.06.2016

June 24

David has resigned. He says the Brexiteers have promised the voters the earth; it is now up to them to prove they can deliver. He’ll stay on only until a new party leader is elected.

So furious with Gove for destroying David’s legacy. At least we can take a proper holiday once there’s a new PM. Pound’s plunging, so won’t be cheap.

June 29

David says European summit was grim. Nobody thanked him for his efforts. Angela (Merkel) polite but chilly. That dreadful François Hollande blamed David for calling the referendum — “letting the eurosceptic genie out of the bottle” — said Marine Le Pen would benefit, whole EU could collapse.

They expected David to start “divorce proceedings” immediately. But he says that’s crazy because once the two-year clock starts ticking we’d be negotiating with our back to the wall. But they don’t want to help anyway — they need to show other countries that leaving hurts, to stop them trying to get special deals by threatening their own referendum.

Boris-Crown-2 still

September 26

Boris is the new PM, trouncing Theresa (May). The party adores his speeches. He even talked of “Johnny foreigner”. He has put Gove in charge of the negotiations and made IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) chancellor. George (Osborne) quit as did Amber Rudd. At least some have integrity. The others have just lined up behind the new leader. No gratitude to David for winning two elections and saving the country from Labour.

David says Gove wants to destroy the EU, not just quit it – meaning the divorce process will be bloody since we are threatening the survival of their mega-project too.

Barack phoned to say goodbye. He’s demob happy. Wish we were.

October 5

Boris barn-stormed at the party conference. He’s going to rush legislation through parliament, saying Britain will no longer accept the EU’s jurisdiction. The Sun front page shows him with cigar, bowler hat and V sign.

David says goodwill evaporating fast. Our courts can be supreme once we leave, but while we’re still in it’s a breach of our treaty obligations. If we fight dirty, so can they. French farmers already blocking roads and burning our fruit imports. French police doing nothing. Gove says it’s disgraceful, calling on European Commission to act. Unsurprisingly, nothing doing.  

October 20

Boris’s first EU summit. The Mail’s front page has a picture of him with a slice of cake and the headline: “We’ll have our gateau and eat it”. No more money for Brussels, no more free movement for EU citizens. And full access to the single market. In his dreams.

2016-05-29 (1)

October 21

Not that Boris got any sleep. Other leaders just said no. And French farmers have now burned a lorry. Even a British removal van has been attacked, for heaven’s sake! And Spanish coastguards are accompanying their fishing boats as they fish in OUR WATERS off Gibraltar.

Boris gives funny press conference. Says BMW and Renault will make sure we keep “free trade”. Gove says Britain will veto everything until “those Europeans” cave. Telegraph splash has headline: “Boris shows Angela who wears the trousers.”

David sceptical this will work. Our exports to the EU account for 13% of our economy, while their exports to us are only 3% of their economy.

Gove says we can put 10% tariff on BMWs if they don’t play ball. But this won’t hurt them much. French government says that it is time to bring the City “to its knees”. No more British banking or insurance etc to be sold in in the EU. Boris says this threat is “fanciful”, is pictured at French restaurant to make the point, whatever it is.

October 24

The pound plunged. Luckily David has sold US rights to his memoirs. Inflation’s up. FTSE is well below 5000. Lots of gloom. Nissan says no new investment in Sunderland. All European expansion to be focused on Barcelona plant. Unemployment up sharply too.

Gove says freedom doesn’t come cheap. Boris talking about Dunkirk. Britain won’t be intimidated etc. George came for dinner, says Gove’s confrontational approach reminds him of Yanis Varoufakis (former Greek finance minister). Which didn’t end well for the Greeks. Varoufakis is a lot yummier than Gove, mind you.

November 9

Donald Trump is America’s new president. Yikes. So much for our free-trade deal with America. David says NATO is finished — Trump likes Putin, dislikes alliances. EU matters more than ever. Winter is coming….

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November 20

Boris has been trying to arrange tour of EU capitals to talk about “common interests”. Only Hungary’s Viktor Orban wants to meet him. Spain says that British expats will pay for health care after we leave. Furious Gove says no NHS for Europeans either.

November 25

IDS’s autumn statement. Spending cuts. Tax rises. GDP is flatlining. Mortgage rates are going up. Mail splash on house-price “crash”.  Editorial tells government to “get a grip”. Where is deregulation?

December 5

Boris goes on ballyhooed visit to China, says time to increase trade ties free of EU “shackles”. Chinese keep him waiting 45 mins, demand better terms on Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Editorial in Global Times says Britain is “lonely and powerless, an old lion which has lost its pride”.

December 16

Boris’s second summit. EU leaders say they want quickie divorce. We can talk about a trade deal after that. Boris says no, demands exit terms and new trade deal in single package. The others say no. All over in 15 minutes. Angela says it’s time to discuss more important things: refugees, Russia. Boris, notably lacking bravado, says tough times ahead, “nobody said it was going to be easy”. Pound down, FTSE down, inflation up. Gove says Europe is “sabotaging” our economy.


December 31

Boris’s new year message sombre. Nobody said it was going to be easy. I thought he did.


January 1

Boris jets into Gibraltar to “fly the flag”, gets booed. Serves him right.

January 15

“New IRA” lets off bombs in Belfast, killing 25 people. Horrible. Irish say that Brexit is undoing Good Friday agreement.

February 17

Another summit. Angela says no discussions on Brexit until Boris “starts proper divorce proceedings”. David says we are done for either way. Start two-year clock and we have no leverage. Don’t start and the other countries will string us along while the economy bleeds. Boris says he’ll veto everything. Other countries warn him not to — they can make their own agreements, and it’s easy to punish Britain.


February 23

The Sun has turned on Boris, accusing him of lacking cojones. It says the UK is still sending Brussels £350 million a week – eight months after the referendum. Nigel Farage says Boris is a wimp. He should have axed the payment immediately.

February 24

Boris lampooned for saying “it’s complicated”. He tried to explain that we don’t actually send £350 million and it buys us our ticket to the single market — without which foreign investment in Britain will fall by a third. If we stop paying, others will go ballistic. Business confidence low anyway. Any more shocks and unemployment will rocket.

February 28

The FT has got hold of a memo by Wolfgang Schaeuble (Germany’s finance minister). It says Berlin shouldn’t allow the City access to the EU market. It predicts we would lose a quarter of our financial services industry – with Frankfurt the big winner.


March 15

IDS’s first budget. Big cuts all round (even NHS) and tax rises. Talks of “national emergency”. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts youth unemployment over 20%. David says new graduates won’t even be able to get jobs in Germany as we’re putting an end to free movement.

The Times’s front page says: “Broken promises”. Under it:

  •      Promise to save NHS – broken
  •      Promise to cut deficit – broken
  •      Promise to boost jobs – broken

March 20

An opinion poll shows people would prefer Corbyn to Boris as PM. UKIP also climbing after Farage’s relentless attacks on Boris’s “cowardice”.

David worried that the Conservatives’ reputation for competence has been damaged for a generation. Socialism looms.


April 1

Boris and Gove have resigned. David has been summoned to Buckingham Palace to take over as PM. We’ll hold a second referendum asking the people to stay in the EU. April fool 🙂

May 8

Alain Juppé is France’s new president. He beat Le Pen in the run-off. Hollande didn’t even make the second round. Asked about Brexit, Juppé said: “Europe is not a restaurant. Boris can’t eat a la carte. You are either all in or all out.”

June 23

Anniversary of referendum – now our “Independence Day”. Polls show 60% wish we had stayed. Express say it’s “Boris’s wasted year”.  FT says Angela not returning Boris’s phone calls. Our trade with EU is down 7%. And that’s while we’re still, supposedly, members.

July 4

In his speech to mark American Independence Day, Trump says NATO a “bad deal” for US. FT gets leaked memo about France and Germany drawing up “collective security pact”. We’re not invited because we’re “untrustworthy”.

September 11

Nicola Sturgeon is demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence. This is not a joke. David says she’s a canny one. She waited until oil price is back over $80. The Scots might just go for it this time. David tearing his hair out. He’s actually got a small bald patch that he take care to hide.

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September 25

Angela re-elected. She called Boris and gave him take-it-or-leave it offer. Continued full access to the single market but only if we pay our share, maintain free movement (including NHS, benefits etc) — and take our fair share of Syrian refugees (about 250,000). Express says she’s behaving like Hitler. Crikey. Don’t mention the war…

In the general confusion that followed the Brexit vote, this diary inexplicably ended up with InFacts instead of at Sam Cam’s usual Saturday home at The Guardian

Hugo Dixon is the author of The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better. Available here for £5 (paperback), £2.50 (e-book)

The first sentence was amended on June 24. This article was originally posted on 29 May 2016.

Edited by Alan Wheatley

3 Responses to “Sam Cam’s Brexit diary”

  • Sadly (and humourlessly), I feel bound to say that this special edition of San Cam’s Diary is no joke.

    There can be no rational discourse with these nut cases – for stark raving mad they indeed are. They represent the equivalent of the 3rd Eleven of a 4th Division club in the Old Has Beens League.

    All we can do is rally the troops and go out and wallop the UKIP-BREXIT gang of fantasists at the poll.

    60:40 should put it to bed.

    Come O N !!!!!!!

  • Merely a continuation of ‘Project Fear’ presented in a lighter manner. As usual, no facts.
    Adrian has used abusive terms , he would do better to research the actual situation about trading under WTO rules. The EU and the USA have been happily trading under these rules for 43 years and continue to do so.
    Should the EU refuse to negotiate then as a member of the WTO the UK will be able to trade under those same WTO rules. Average tariffs are about 3% which would be assuaged by a similar decrease in sterling.
    I do wish we could all get away from the hysteria and abuse and take time to look at the facts.

  • What a load of shit!!!!!

    Propaganda!! This is utter tosh and you have the audacity to tarnish the leave campaigners with scare mongering.

    When are you IN capaigners going to give us some facts, not opinions, on the reasons to remain. I have not seen one fact in 3 months of searching on why it is a good idea to remain.

    House prices will go down – opinion
    Gdp will fall – opinion
    Buisness heads state we’ll be better off in – opinion
    Loss of 100,000 jobs due to economic downturn of 0.4% – opinion (and not a very good one considering 2008 reduction of 7% didn’t lead to mass job losses)

    Why not try and provide a reasoned factual argument as to why we should consider starting instead of trying to scare monger voters into why they shouldn’t leave.