A week is said to be a long time in politics. So one hundred days must by definition in political terms be an eternity. That is roughly how far away we are from our referendum victory. It gives us an opportunity to reflect and assess.
It does seem like a long time ago. A lot has changed since 23rd June. We have a new Prime Minister. The Chancellor who expended all his reserves of political capital in telling us the world will end, has himself disappeared in a flash of stage gunpowder. A new Cabinet has been formed, with at least three Secretaries of State engaged in the complexities of reshaping our national direction. We have also been assured that the vote will be unequivocally honoured: “Brexit means Brexit”.
So all told, we have a solid degree of confidence that we are heading in the right direction.
But as students of military history and its practitioners, we also know how campaigns can swiftly turn around if we fail to sustain the effort.
A hundred days was also the celebrated time it took for Napoleon in 1815 to overthrow one government, and himself be overthrown in turn. (Actually it was more like 110, but as with the Hundred Years’ War historians demonstrably can’t count). Consider how fluid a revolutionary government will be – and we are in effect in a revolutionary phase – over the months that will be needed to turn the Brexit mandate into reality.
There are a number of key pieces of negotiating terrain that still need to be secured, before we know the UK has definitely escaped the clutches of ever-closer union with a continental superstate. There are also mechanisms yet to be devised that allow us to profitably cooperate in security and defence issues with continental partners, where joining forces bilaterally or multilaterally on a task makes perfect sense. We shall be exploring the key ones in the coming weeks on this site, and lobbying and campaigning hard in Whitehall to get our concerns across.
We have won the key battle. We now need to consolidate to win the war. The fight, for a little while yet, must go on.