As of today, the Tories look set to win a majority. Why? Because splits in the Remain vote mean that in many constituencies voting for anyone other than the Tories will be as likely to help them to win as voting for them.
For Brexiteers and Tories, this is a delightful prospect. For Remainers or those who find the Tories toxic for other reasons, it is a dismal prospect. For both, their hearts beat the faster in joy or in despair. The good news is that in all likelihood both the dreams and nightmares will vanish once the election is over and the not-so-new day dawns.
In the absence of shared suicidal longings on the part of the members of the Parliamentary Tory Party, a No Deal Brexit will remain a fantasy of the English nationalists. Hence, the EU will have no incentive to indulge in self-harm by agreeing to a trade deal that lessens the effective reach and depth of the Single Market. And hence, beyond allowing the UK to surrender its right to participate in the governance and administration of the EU, its best strategy will be to agree something close to a ‘Norwegian’ or to a ‘Canada’ deal with so many pluses on the EU side that only the ‘flagging’ will distinguish the two.
What is more, Boris can be expected to help the EU in that re-flagging endeavour. For the man
- who trumpets the solution to the Irish border question in his Brexit Deal as a great success despite having said no British government could or should agree to such a solution and
- who hails the global free trade that Brexit will usher in while promising state aid to protect domestic businesses from foreign competition
it will be a doddle. Unable in reality to escape the EU, his legendary mendacity, total lack of principle and lust to remain in power will result in his dressing up the ‘Norwegian surrender’ as a great ‘Canadian victory’. Of course, the ERG may protest but they will have nowhere to go and, if faced by a rebellion, Boris could always garner support from the other parties for a referendum on his Trade Deal or Remain.
So, whether an exultant Brexiteer or a despairing Remainer, the advice for the present should be the same: “Be still your beating hearts”.