If there were to be a referendum on our EU membership tomorrow it would almost certainly be lost - as the british people would not vote for a complete unknown. A vision of a modern independent UK is needed - people need something to actively vote for.
The UK has been a member of the EU for over 40 years, it has leached into our insitutions, traditions, law and lives. It would be foolish to think that it could be removed, that we could leave, and everything would carry on as if we had never been members.
There are many questions and issues that need to be addressed - many are likely to be contentious and divisive - even among the most ardent anti-EU campaigners.
If no such vision exists then the UK and its people is laying itself open to be hijacked, and our EU exit could lead us into something far worse.
It would be possible to spend many lifetimes discussing (arguing) over every minute detail of UK after EU - and as the EU is a moving target, the discussions may not even keep pace - the EU could create new questions issues faster than old and existing ones are addressed.
To prevent this work delaying a UK exit from the EU, I think it is vital that a mechanism is put in place to allow the people to be directly and rapidly consulted on issues arrising and to make their choice. This mechanism would be the only pre-requisit of leaving - as it could be used to settle every other matter.
The recent (happening as I type!) departure of Geoffrey Bloom as a UKIP MEP shows how important it is that UK's exit from the EU cannot be intrinsicly tied to a set of absolute polices that will always alianate one section of the public or another.
Once the UK is independent then new, better, democratic systems need to be put in place, and from there on it will be the people who decide.
The work on this new covenant between the British people and its government must start now to have any hope of being ready in time.