This blog has maintained from the outset that there was little or no prospect of the EU and UK escaping each other. At one point, it likened the Brexiteers to a motorcycle gang hopelessly but furiously roaring up and down a wall looking for a place where, like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape, they could find a ramp that would allow them to jump the barrier to ‘sovereignty’. And here we are, three years on from the referendum but no closer to Brexit and with the Brexiteers continuing to come up with ever more desperate and fantastical strategies for escaping the EU, be it illegally proroguing Parliament, casting Northern Ireland into constitutional Limbo, sending but reciling from an unsigned letters to Brussels, introducing and then suspending withdrawal legislation and now a demand for a Christmas general election and the threat a ‘government strike’ if that demand is refused. No longer so much characters in the finale of the Great Escape perhaps, but rather, like the Great Gatsby, the Brexiteers
“…had come a long way… and their dream must have seemed so close that they could hardly fail to grasp it. They did not know that it was already behind them…
“They believed in Brexit, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—-
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
where the UK had stood astride the boundary between its Imperial history and its European future.