My bet on Article 50 not being "triggered before July 2017" is now well in the money, trading in an illiquid market at around evens now (last trade was at 2.02). I still think this is a value price, since effectively this bet becomes settled at the end of March 2017, a mere eight months away. Once this date passes, leaving the EU will become a QMV (qualified majority voting) issue, which in simple terms mean that Article 50 will need the support of 14 other countries.
In the European Union, double majority voting is a form of Qualified Majority Voting which is to apply to almost all policy areas starting in 2014 under the Treaty of Lisbon. Any decision taken under this scheme will require the support of at least 55% of the Council of the European Union members who must also represent at least 65% of the EU's citizens.From the European Commission's Press Release last month:
Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.Make of it what you will, but I am not seeing anything that makes me think Article 50 is likely to be triggered any time soon.
Certainly Article 50 could be triggered after March 2017 and before July 2017, and fail to reach a majority in the EU parliament, which would make the bet a losing one, albeit with a positive outcome from a personal point of view - an insurance bet perhaps.
But would the UK trigger Article 50 knowing that they lacked the votes to see it through the EU parliament?
Possibly, to appease the Leave voters - "hey, we tried lads, sorry it didn't work out", but by that time the advisory referendum will be close to a year old, and advisory referenda surely have sell-by / expiry dates as more information becomes available.
My cautious optimism that Brexit will never happen is tempered by the failure of the pound to make much of a post-advisory referendum bounce although today is a step in the right direction.