A few less-excitable spectators may have started to wonder for just how much longer this Brexit mania can continue. Of course, that depends on future events. This is how we see things panning out, depending on where in the spectrum the poop of fate lands.
1. Leave with NO DEAL / WTO (depending on your viewpoint). In this scenario the Leavers will be happy, the unaligned middle accepting, and the Remainers will evolve into Returners. However, the Returners will be tainted by the Men-and-Women-of-Yesterday (step forward T. Blair and J.Major), and lack wide-spread legitimacy. After a few days/weeks/months of these Returners glorying in any difficulties, the public will tire of Brexit and it will be over.
2. Leave with MRS MAY’S DEAL. Today, it feels unlikely that parliament will vote for this deal. The arrangement seems to pull off the remarkable trick of pleasing absolutely nobody. If it does get through somehow, then the arguments go on, just slightly shifted on to the trade-deal. The Remainers will feel that their ideal of actually remaining in the EU is achievable, whilst the Leavers will be worried that their prize is being stolen by parliamentary fudge. The result will be 2, 3, 4 or 5 more years of bickering and ever more-shrill fighting.
3. The SECOND REFERENDUM. This will be seen by Leavers as the last desperate chance by the Remainers to get the decision reversed. The Leavers will picture the Remainers as a metropolitan elite telling the proles to try harder this time. In our view, a second referendum is unlikely to come to a different result, if only due to the irritation that the electorate will feel at being told to go through it all again. The timing is tricky too, with a referendum taking months to organise: imagine the fun just in agreeing the wording. It is not clear how this works with the European elections in May, nor postponing Article 50. If the second vote is “successful”, then the likely outcome is mass outrage and protests that will make the Gilet Jaune look like amateurs. Leavers will – correctly – feel that they have been robbed. The outcome will be years of protest, and potentially a recasting of the UK political landscape, with Labour and Tories being replaced by Leave and Remain parties. It really is that divisive out in the country.
4. A GENERAL ELECTION. It feels very unlikely that a general election will happen. Do turkeys vote for Christmas? Whilst the Tories have their share of turkeys, surely to goodness they can’t be that suicidal?
So there it is. The Tories are split over Brexit, with the parliamentary party against whilst the grassroots are in favour. Meanwhile, Labour are split over Brexit, with the parliamentary party against Brexit but the immovable leader (secretly) in favour.
In summary, if you are fed up of Brexit and just want it over, you need to wish for a no-deal exit on 29 March. There may even be an economic silver-lining in that all of the delayed business-investment and personal big-ticket spending will suddenly be no longer pent up! And at least we would be spared bickering that could go on for the rest of our natural lives (or that of the EU, which is probably much less).