The UK is going to remain a member of the EU. Unlikely? Not if you consider the so-called alternatives, which are even more unlikely.
This blog has always argued that there is no means by which the UK and the EU can separate themselves and that the only question is whether the UK remains bound in to the EU as a member or a client state. Why? Because Parliament will not agree to a No Deal Brexit but is unwilling to agree the only Deal available. Meanwhile, a People’s Vote, to break that deadlock, is a fantasy with no realistic prospect that Parliament will even be able to agree what options should be on the ballot. Indeed, we had the lamentable experience of hearing the contender for the Lib Dem leadership, Jo Swinson, on Sunday unable to say what options apart from Remain would be on offer. Rather, she seemed to suggest, that that would be a matter for the Electoral Commission, a statement that reveals either a fundamental ignorance about the whole process or an admission that her party’s call for a People’s Vote is as vacuous and unrealistic as the Brexiters’ call for a No Deal.
With a Deal, No Deal and A People’s Vote effectively blocked by this hung Parliament, the only remaining option is prolonged membership of the EU either by repeated and ever longer Extensions or by Revocation or perhaps by the former followed eventually by the latter. The issue might be forced by the EU refusing an extension. And in a hung Parliament where
- the Hardliners reject a Deal and a Peoples’ Vote;
- the Softliners reject No Deal but are split on a People’s Vote while
- the Remainers cannot explain or agree what options a People’s Vote should offer,
Revocation looks like the only ‘way out’ on which all could agree. Why? Because
- for the Hardliners, it avoids the ‘will of the people’ in 2016 being overtaken by a People’s Vote in 2019/20 and offers the prospect of their regrouping and starting afresh after the next general election when they expect to have gained a majority in Parliament;
- for the Softliners, it will simply be a relief to continue with the Existing Deal which the UK has negotiated over the last forty odd years within the EU and
- for the Remainers, it will avoid the embarrassment of admitting that a People’s Vote is a fantasy while delivering what they want, the continued membership of the EU.