In June 2016 the British people voted to leave the EU, but in May 2017 they elected a parliament without a majority.
It was always going to be a very tall order for a hung parliament to accomplish the most controversial and complicated agenda in a generation. I am not surprised that, thus far, it has failed to do so.
After the drubbing that both the main parties have just taken
in the local elections, It strikes me that there are three possibilities as to
what happens next with Brexit:
First, nothing changes, and the parties take no notice of the evident frustration of the voters expressed in the results of last Thursdays polls, by continuing to reject every compromise, save only that they have voted to prevent departure from the EU without any agreement (which, perversely, appears to be the most popular option among voters -if my correspondence is any guide).
Second, that the EU loses patience and just throws us out at
their next opportunity, Halloween.
I know that to many this is highly desirable, because it achieves the no-agreement outcome above, which Parliament has refused to deliver. In my estimate however, it is the most unlikely outcome: We are the EU’s second largest financial contributor, and all that money is surely worth the minor irritation of our continuing indecision.
Third, the Government, together with sufficient numbers of opposition MPs, encouraged by the sobering effect of the local election results, decide to unite around a compromise BREXIT.
This will involve a measure of re-alignment: some will brand it as ‘BREXIT in name only’ (BRINO) and peel off to join Farage’s BREXIT Party, whilst others, opposed to any departure without a further referendum, will join the new Change Britain Party.
This third, and most likely of the possibilities, will
involve leaving the EU politically whilst hanging on in there in some form
economically. It is bound to mean some close accommodation with the EU customs
union and internal market.
That isn’t what I want, or what I voted for, but in the hung parliament delivered by the voters in May 2017 it’s probably the best I can get.
The opportunity to leave the EU only comers round once every 46 years, I cannot allow it to be fumbled, and lost.
Could the British people live with it?
Some, like me, I would be disappointed, but I suspect they would shrug and continue with their busy lives and other priorities. After all, for years they used to say to me “we were hoodwinked in 1975, we were sold a ‘common market’ but it turned out to be a super- state”
Does that mean that, shorn of involvement in the super-state and its political institutions, they could live with the EU’s economics?