Where are we with Brexit?

 

24th June 2018

Here are five certainties about Brexit – though there are people who even doubt or dispute one or more of these.

One certainty is that on 29 March 2017 the UK notified the EU of its intention to leave the EU – though some say there was never a constitutionally valid “decision” to be notified.

A second certainty is that, unless something happens to change it, the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019, by automatic operation of law.  The UK will cease to be part to, or bound by, the EU treaties.

A third certainty is that the UK will not be ready to leave the EU on that date, unless there are transition arrangements in place – though some believe the UK is up for such a “hard Brexit”.

A fourth certainty is that the EU wants the transition arrangements to be part of a withdrawal agreement, and that they maintain there cannot be, as a matter of law, transition arrangements without a withdrawal agreement.

And a fifth certainty, which no one can deny, is there is not yet a signed withdrawal agreement.

So, it must follow that there must be a withdrawal agreement signed before 29 March 2019 – unless the date of Brexit day is shifted or cancelled.

So given these five certainties, what are the range of possible foreseeable outcomes, as of now? What do you think?

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60 thoughts on “Where are we with Brexit?”

  1. If the government manages to hold together until 19 March next year, (by no means certain) either an agreement will be signed, which will probably constitute a “soft” brexit at least for goods, which the government will present as a “victory” achieved as a result of a “tough” negotiating stance, or the government will have successfully persuaded the EU to extend the transition period. The possibility of a no deal departure is very low; most MPs know the damage would be great and do not want to be blamed and furthermore, there is no sign the government haas made any real practical preparations for such an eventuality.

    1. That assumes that MPs will put country before party and the safety of their parliamentary seats. The evidence on that, to date, is weak.

  2. An extension of A50 could conceivably be agreed by all member states for the specific purpose of giving the UK sufficient time to legislate for and to hold a second referendum.

    1. Why would the EU not extend the transition period until the reduced business investment in the UK is reflected in voters pressure on their MPs. The is no need for another referendum to cause more chaos. Such an action would not be ‘vindictive’ as Brexiters would claim, more likely ‘killing us with kindness’.
      Would the UK have to ask for this for it to happen? Could it be delivered by the EU to avoid chaos?

      1. Without a withdrawal agreement in place, there won’t be a transitional period (never mind an ‘extended’ one). It’s within a no deal context that my stated scenario may come into play.

      2. It would be Article 50 which was extended – the period from notifying to it being active.

        Consider the meaning of the wrod “transition” – a change from one state to another.
        Without the end state being agreed, whatever we run on* cannot be a transition, it can be a continuation of the status quo, I cannot see what else it can practically be.

        * empty at the moment, whether in the null string sense of “” or the fuel tank analogy.

        1. Your reply doesn’t make much sense to me am afraid Adrian:

          “It would be Article 50 which was extended – the period from notifying to it being active”. A50 becomes active as soon as it is notified. There isn’t a period from notifying to it being active.

          “* empty at the moment, whether in the null string sense of “” or the fuel tank analogy”. Sorry, but this is impenetrable for me to fathom.

          1. The reply is to Francis.
            It is similar to yours.

            The expression “running on empty” has been used from time to time to describe a vehicle – and by analogy a process, institution etc – which has exhausted the contents of its fuel tank, and is going to cease progress. This is particularly bad in an aircraft.

            The string thing may always be more clear to IT types than to you, alas, but the withdrawal agreement is a string, a sequence of alphanumeric etc characters.

            Strings tend to be shown in quotes.

            An empty string is “” that is a withdrawal agreement currently without content, a null string.

            It is a joke, a pun, or play on words, penetrable to the few people who like that sort of thing, and think about disasters such as aircrashes caused by fuel exhaustion[1] and about computers and data.

            I hope this helps, or if that fails, at least amuses someone.

            [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider is a rather good example.
            The current

  3. I understand that EU officials have offered to extend the Article 50 period beyond March 2019. I think we should accept the offer.

  4. In descending order of probability

    1. the transition arrangements and withdrawal agreement will be signed by 29th March 2019. The EU-27 would appear to be in a position to dictate terms.

    2. The impending inevitability of (3) causes the government to fall, leading either to (1) or to revocation of A50

    3. The UK leaves the EU on 29th March 2019 without a withdrawal agreement. Legal and logistical chaos ensues.

  5. Another well analysed assessment. Thank you.
    I think the most likely event is that this will go to the wire.
    The EU has a clear set of rues it will not change for a bespoke agreement with one country; particularly a country whose current governing party and cabinet includes individuals who have spent the last thirty years blaming the EU for everything.
    May is caught between the two halves of the Tory Party and cannot agree to anything without loosing support from someone.
    Corbyn and the Labour Party are not sufficiently organised – clear policy, clear approach, etc. – to oust her.
    That means we will just get closer and closer and most probably fall off.
    The EU will say, with regret, that’s done. The economy will start to really suffer and Cabinet Ministers will announce that they never meant 29 March 2019. If they had, they would have put it on the side of a bus.

  6. As an American long resident in Germany & Denmark, I observe that Mr Trump and PM May have revealed their colors: both unsurprisingly wish to remain in office as long as possible. Similarly, I expect only legislative action in each country will usefully guide foreign policy initiatives. Otherwise the newspapers & candidates to replace the two will continue log-rolling & making fools of themselves.

    That said, having been a global trade consultant for decades, it is time for the people who make the British economy work to tell Parliament, the British people & all candidates for PM that an economic catastrophe is about to befall them. I would consider this a necessary reality therapy.

    1. The trouble is, they did. It was dubbed “Project Fear” and dismissed out of hand by those who voted Leave.

    2. 1. If we consider Airbus, the UK is currently meeting all technical and regulatory requirements. The issue is that the regulatory oversight is provided by EASA which is part of the EU, so if we leave the EU without an agreement then we have no legal framework for the business.

      What this scenario reveals is the use of the European Union of processes and agreements meant to foster international cooperation and prosperity to enforce political dominance on states. For the EU to use this powers to deliberately impoverish a nation would be a hostile act and an extremely dangerous one.

      2. For many people, membership of the EU has already been an economic catastrophe. Anna soubry recently stated this in parliament: “It is true, and I agree, that in some parts of our country a large number of people have come in, but these are invariably Polish people, Latvians and Lithuanians who do the work that, in reality, our own constituents will not do. It is a myth that there is an army of people sitting at home desperately wanting to do jobs … [local businesses] have gone out deliberately and absolutely clearly to recruit local people, and they have found that, with very few exceptions, they have been unable to fill the vacancies. They take grave exception to anybody who says that they undercut in their wages or do not offer people great opportunities. It is a myth, as I say, that there are armies of people wanting to work who cannot work because of immigration.”

      What Soubry clearly demonstrates although she resolutely refuses to see this is that immigration has been used to keep wages low, as without these immigrants the rate for the job would have had to gone up until the jobs either were filled or became uneconomic and disappeared, or become automated increasing productivity.

      In many areas of the UK wages have declined and living costs gone up as the influx of immigrants has had to be housed pushing up accommodation costs.

      1. You’re displaying the Leave side’s fundamental misunderstanding of the EU. The EU would not be using its powers as a hostile act to impoverish nation, it would be following it’s internal rules – rules which Britain agreed to and played a huge role in deciding – with respect to a country that had chosen of its own free will to step outside those rules.

        1. I don’t think I have misunderstood the EU. I appreciate the fact that it is using its self-invented rules to undermine sovereign nations. That’s why I voted to leave.

          1. Wrong again. The EU does’t invent rules. The member nations make the rules, either directly through their heads of state or indirectly through their elected MEPs or the Commisioners their heads of state appoint. The idea that the EU is some separate entity that the member states don’t control is a fantasy.

    3. Further more, as an American citizen, would you think it politically reasonable for the US government to take action against Canada unless Canada agreed to become a state of the USA? And would you think that Canada would face economic catastrophe unless it caved in?

      1. Not sure where you got the idea that I’m an American citizen – I’m British, for the record, and live in Britain – but your argument is nonsensical. You’re talking as though the EU was a nation that was trying to compel an outside nation to accept annexation. The EU is an associatio of sovereign nations that the UK is currently a member of, and which it is now leaving but wants to keep all the goodies from.

    4. Agreed.
      UK government presently seeking to remove UK from membership of an EU that is a collection of sovereign nation states. Heads of government and MEPs cooperate to provide a pleasant life.
      Some people would have us believe that the EU is a malevolent presence that seeks to impoverish the citizens.
      Most of the UK did not vote to leave the EU and a UK government of some sort will have to deal with this.

      1. I just don’t think the evidence supports your view of a collection of sovereign states. In what way is a country that has no direct control over its currency, its laws, who comes to live in it, a sovereign state?

        1. No country that did not enjoy full sovereignty would be allowed to act in such self-harming way as the UK currently is.
          We have direct control of our currency. Other countries choose to share control of theirs.
          We do have control of our laws, otherwise it would not be possible to pass the Acts covering leaving the EU.
          We have control of our borders. See Calais jungle that was and previous stopping of extremist Wilders entering UK and queues at passport control.

    5. That seems to have started, with Airbus, BMW and the CBI beginning to speak quite clearly about investment decisions and the logistics industry is being very frank about potential disaster for them.

  7. I have always been of the opinion that the only comprehensive method of keeping everything in a steady state is to extend Article 50, and nothing has happened for my position to change. I think that continues to be the most likely next step. However, to get to this point without the PM having to resign, she would have had to played a very different hand that she has up to now. It is inconceivable at this point that May could go to Europe and ask for an extension and survive.

    Only today, I have had an exchange of tweets with the relatively sane MP George Freeman. He wrote
    “Calm down. We’re in mid negotiation. There’s a lot of water to go under this bridge yet. Read my tweets. We’ve given the PM the authority to negotiate. Whilst giving Parliament the final say. Parliament will not vote for a bad or no deal.”

    This does rather miss the point that you make clearly (not “very clearly” :) ) that parliament is no longer in control of the outcome. It can merely ask the EU to come to its aid. So, would it do that. In a subsequent tweet he says
    “We’ve given her what she needs to negotiate a GoodDeal. But in reality if she doesn’t get one, she and the Gov are finished.”

    So, I ask myself – does George know something I don’t? Is there a way to ask for an extension through some vote in parliament that sensible MPs have the votes to make happen? Or am I just being optimistic / naive?

    Regardless, I don’t see any other outcome having the time to be managed.

  8. Perspective from an EU 27 citizen:
    The five certainties are all spot on.
    However a problem arises from the fact that the third one is not law related, only common sense analysis.
    Meaning that on your conclusion “…unless the date of Brexit day is shifted or cancelled…” you probably should add something like “or HMG decides to jump off the cliff”.
    Good luck.

      1. I’ve seen kebab shop menus that would make a better plan than anything HMG have produced as yet.

        You still wouldn’t have anything realistic post-Brexit, but at least you’d have a doner and chips.

  9. In 2016 Donald Tusk advised that the UK government had two options. Hard Brexit or Remain.
    The present UK government has rejected Remain.
    Therefore the UK will get a Hard Brexit unless the present government is voted out of office.
    It is almost unbelievable to me that, whatever the demands of some of the electorate, any UK government would prefer to pursue a policy that will result in the country having a less favourable economic outlook.
    But it does.

  10. Broadly, there will either be a withdrawal agreement for Parliament to approve or there won’t be. And Parliament may or may not approve it. It would seem more likely that there will be no agreement than there will be an agreement that Parliament votes down. It would also seem more likely that Brexiteers rather than remainers would be inclined to vote an agreement down (over the backstop solution) rather than Remainers.

    But all outcomes are still possible:

    – Brexit + transition on 29th March
    – Withdrawal Agreement with future
    start date as per A50 (3)
    – No deal Brexit (possibly least likely)
    – No Brexit (with or without new
    referendum or referendums and A50
    extension
    – Article 50 extension with intention of
    reaching agreement

    Anyone who says they know what will happen is wrong.

    1. What about legal possibilities of stopping Brexit or at least delaying it? There several legal avenues:
      1. How come nobody has yet suggested a crime/treason needed to be investigated as per @carilecadwalladr and @j_amesp reports about interference with the Referendum? Could it not be argued that it invalidates the result?
      2. Action for Expat votes is being heard at ECJ on 5 July. Over 2m Brits abroad were disenfranchised. See https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/action-for-expat-votes/. This stands a good chance of making the Referendum legally void.
      3. The Art50 Challenge lost last week at the RCJ but is going to appeal the decision. An interesting situation there as the judge stated May has taken the Art50-1 decision and thus could trigger Art50-2. Is that a decision according to UK Parliamentary democracy, as stated by SC in the Miller case?

      1. Hello Magdalena,

        We all have to understand that it is not the referendum result that triggered Brexit, it was Parliament, after Miller. So, even if it were possible, formally to invalidate the referendum, this would have no direct effect on Brexit. The only way for Brexit not to happen is for Article 50 to be revoked, and that would be a matter for Parliament.

        I see no prospect of any court declaring that the triggering of Article 50 was constitutionally wrong.

        There is a legal route to stopping Brexit, but it requires political action to bring it to effect. There will be no technical Remain.

        1. … if it were possible, formally to invalidate the referendum, this would remove the mandate for Brexit.

          The question for Parliament would then resolve to “Is this a good idea, the best idea available?”

          I’m pretty clear on the answer to that, although there are clearly people who will give the other one.

      2. if you are going to start talking about treason then quite a lot of people would put at the top of the list politicians who, when the elected government is in negotiations with foreign powers, conduct side negotiations to collude with foreign powers to advance their own position at the expense of the country and the elected government.

  11. I would like to agree with John W’s order but I fear he has not sufficiently considered the operation of Sods (Murphys) Law ie “What can go wrong will.”
    On that basis, I fear his number 3 should be at number one.
    I realise this is very pessimistic, but let’s remember, no one wanted the First World War to break out.
    Given the EU’s penchant for only resolving issues at the last minute Teresa May has clearly been kicking the can down the road till she can face her Hard Brexiteers with the economic facts of life.
    But for them, this is not about facts, it’s an ideological issue. As Boris is alleged to have said “F… Business” I fear Brexit will be very hard.

  12. 1. An A50 extension is highly unlikely. The UK does not know what it wants, and any extension will only mean that difficult decisions can be put off even longer by the UK. I do not see the EU agree to this.

    2. There are currently major differences between the UK and the EU about the NI/I backstop. The EU proposal for a NI-only backstop have been rejected by the UK, and the UK backstop is wholly inadequate. Worse, it does not seem that the UK is planning to significantly improve its offer.

    3. The future trade relation the UK sees are always some kind of ‘have the cake and eat it” or do not respect the integrity of the single market. The EU offers a straight FTA.

    4. Since a no-deal is practically impossible, the UK will need to make some very difficult choices before April 2019:
    – stay in the EEA + CU as a whole
    – accept a NI ‘sea border’
    There is no way the EU accepts anything else

  13. I suspect John W has set out the three most likely outcomes, in the right order of likelihood. I would only add that, in the event of (1), which a large part of the Tory party will hate, of course, the PM may decide, as she did with last year’s election, to have a referendum/People’s Vote on the proposed agreement, to legitimise/shore up her position. And, given that public opinion has not shifted much since 2016, and that the terms of the agreement (and especially the ‘political declaration’) will be unfathomable to most voters, she would most likely win that referendum/PV. Which will make those marching through central London yesterday look pretty stupid. But then the PV campaign is run by Alistair Campbell & Co, who were largely responsible for the last ‘most stupid decision by a British government’ – the unlawful invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  14. Mr Allen Green
    Good to see you back.
    Hopefully we can continue to enjoy your illuminating comments for many years to come. Somehow I cannot see this saga being concluded in March 2019.

    William Whyte

  15. Until last week I believed that there would be enough Tory “rebels” to join with the opposition in voting down any likely deal on the basis that it did not meet the six tests or indeed any of the promises made by the Leave campaign. Since those same Tory rebels would still in all probability not be prepared to bring down the government in the event of a no confidence vote a referendum might offer a way out of the quagmire for both government and opposition. Indeed, that’s the only scenario on which there could actually be a people’s vote.
    I think that is now less likely because on the strength of their behaviour on the Withdrawal Bill I doubt that the rebels actually have the appetite to vote down a deal. If May manages to bring anything back, however awful, she will have the support of virtually every Tory MP.

    So the possibilities are:-
    (1) No deal – but this would be so damaging to both sides an extension of A50 would be more likely, and would command a majority in the HoC;
    (2) Something like Norway, with some limitation on free movement. This would solve the problem of the Irish border, but might be too politically toxic to be practicable;
    (3) Something like Canada, but that doesn’t solve the Irish border and would take us back to the issue of border controls between GB and NI. So again, politically toxic, and does little to meet the concerns of Airbus et al.
    (4) A fudge in the form of a further transition period to permit more negotiation. Essentially, more can kicking in the hope that someting will turn up.

    I fear that the poisonous mixture of red lines on CU, SM and CoJ, the commitment to no hard border in Ireland or in the Irish sea, the deep divisions in both the main parties and business increasingly voting with its feet appear to put any of these solutions (except perhaps the last) beyond delivery. I tell myself this can’t possibly be so but for the life of me I can’t see the way out of this maze.

  16. Don’t overlook the DUP and the Irish Border. The DUP want an open border, which implies N Ireland in the Single Market and the Customs Union, or something pretty much identical. They also don’t want a border down the Irish Sea; this is incompatible with GB being outside the EU, but N Ireland being “inside” it. Do not think that they can be talked to; they are remarkably intransigent.

    The feeling of many in N Ireland is that the DUP are, by their actions, preparing the way for a border poll and a united Ireland; a curious position for a ‘unionist’ party. And if N Ireland votes to leave the UK, what then? Who’s next?

  17. But it must also follow that there can be a withdrawal, or more accurately an exit, without a withdrawal agreement, in other words we leave on 29th March 2019, ready or not. It seems unlikely the EU would want this, but unless one of the chickens, chicken out, or to use a different metaphor, one party blinks, then logically and legally, if you were a betting man, that is where you would put your money.

  18. Any deal that allows the Withdrawal Agreement to proceed has to include a CU and at least SM in goods for whole UK (with FOM, ECJ etc). Otherwise EU(IRL) or DUP will block it. If May is not offering that by Oct, or Dec at latest, EU will walk away as too late to ratify after that.

    At that point the harsh reality of no-deal-no-planning-no-transition will be biting hard (jobs going, pound crashing, state of emergency?). Government likely to fall. A General Election would provide a mandate for the end game.

    Next government either leaves with no deal and chaos, or cancels A50 and repeals the EU Withdrawal Act. Hard date (another unforced error) in the EU withdrawal Act makes anything else nearly impossible (no A50 extension).

  19. Will there by riots? Looking at the EFL violence of a couple of weeks ago, I fear the nazi resurrection is not going to go back under the woodwork quietly. This is about more than just leaving the EU.

  20. There is always the EU well known strategy, the fudge.

    Yes, there has to be a withdrawal agreement and, afaIk, that can be signed, on or before the March 2019 date, to the effect that the UK has submitted an A50 request to withdraw and this is is yet to be acceeded to……

    1. That would be the opposite of a withdrawal agreement.
      A withdrawal disagreement?

      We’ve left! Oh no you haven’t!
      repeat while TRUE

  21. I am not sure that anyone has mentioned the Irish border problem. At present there seems little chance of agreement on this between UK and EU, but without settlement of this there can be no withdrawal agreement, can there?

    1. Correct.

      The three points for the EU were the fate of EU citizens in the UK (and vice-versa), the ‘divorce payment’ and the Irish border. The first two seem to be more or less settled.

      The third, the border is so far insoluble. The EU suggests that N Ireland have ‘special status’, as if it were in the EU. That means a border in the Irish Sea unless GB remains in the CU and SM which isn’t on.

      Only the UK government can approve a special status for N Ireland; the EU can’t unilaterally impose it on a country, neither can Dublin.

      Nothing, we are constantly told, is agreed until everything is agreed. The border isn’t agreed, therefore nothing is agreed.

      And that indicates a cliff edge next March, unless there is a radical change.

      1. I’m a Leaver, still, but Barnier has my sympathy on the Irish border.

        The Belfast Agreement (the GFA) creates mechanisms for North and South to have a joint say over various aspects of governance on both sides of the border; hence, it is the UK government through the GFA that has made NI an entity that has separate governance than the rest of the UK. The proposal that NU effectively remain in much of the EU whilst UK leaves is the only possible proposal that allows UK to leave, RoI to remain in the UK and honours the GFA.

        I would add that the impossibility of the UK leaving the EU and respecting the GFA was raised by SDLP MP Mark Durkan in the referendum debate.

        Also, the proposal for the EU to require visas for UK citizens to visit the EU would seem a straightforward breach of the GFA.

        1. There are three strands to the GFA; 1) is about what happens internally in NI, 2) is north/south, and 3) is east/west.

          The population agreed in a referendum to the GFA; a referendum both north and south. It’s not quite right to say that the UK government made governance in NI separate from GB. GB still has responsibility for external defence and foreign affairs, and, so far, for tax rates.

          The NI Assembly hasn’t met since early 2017, and there hasn’t been an Executive for this time; the GFA is in a state of deep hibernation.

          You say, ‘The proposal that NU effectively remain in much of the EU whilst UK leaves is the only possible proposal that allows UK to leave, RoI to remain in the UK and honours the GFA.’ The Republic of Ireland isn’t in the UK. N Ireland is in the UK; a proposal is for N Ireland to have a form of ‘special status’ effectively keeping it within the EU, while the rest of the UK, that is GB, leaves (meaning leaves the SM and the CU). The special status implies some sort of border between NI and GB.

          The GFA also had both the Republic and the UK as being ‘neutral’ actors. However, the UK government now has a pact with the DUP of N Ireland whereby the DUP supports the government for confidence and supply votes in parliament. This may well mean that the UK government is no longer a neutral actor with respect to the GFA.

        2. The visa issue for NI residents is reasonably easy to solve. The CTA exists, including the UK and the RoI. So any UK citizen can travel to the RoI without a passport (but may be asked for photo ID.) RoI is outside Schengen so there will still be controls when entering a Schengen country from the RoI. People with RoI passports (which are available to NI residents) will be able to enter visa free. Those only with UK passports would need a visa. All this assumes that the EU will do as it has proposed and require an US ESTA equivalent for non-member state’s citizens. And we were told that leaving the EU would free us from red tape!

  22. I think ther is no certainty, other than those mentioned of given fact, such as on 29th of March 2017 we notified the EU etc. the rest is speculative if recent opinion polls are to be believed.

    The latest poll shows 46% of the electorate in favor of a second referendum whereas only 28% are opposed, this leaves a substantial 26% who are undecided on the matter.

    I suggest that as the time of leaving draws ever closer, more and more of the undecided will choose which side they wish to join, clearly it would only take one quarter of the undecided to support a second referendum for that group to have a majority whereas it would need over 75% of the undecided to swing behind the Leave camp. That old adage, never count your chickens s before the hatch comes to mind.

    1. Perspectives required here. If I remember correctly a substantial 28% of the electorate were undecided on the referendum decision too.

  23. I think the key piece missing is Theresa May, or “30 Day May” as I like to call her. She is a petty, small minded middle classer at the peak of her career. The idea of her as a statesman/woman is laughable. This makes her actions much easier to predict – all I have seen her do since the referendum is do nothing but follow a simple rule “Say nothing which decreases your chances of being PM in 30 days”.

    There are several implications:
    1. She will not resign come hell of high water. This means the only way she can be removed is by a leadership election or a vote of no-confidence.

    2. Faced with the choice of saying something which reduces her chances of being PM in 30 days or spending precious time prevaricating and not making a decision will inevitably lead to her doing the latter.

    3. She can only ask to extend Article 50 is she knows this will not cause a leadership challenge. This she cannot do yet as it’s far from certain that is the case.

    4. She can quite happily run the clock down as it means she has been PM for just that little bit longer.

    5. The real question over no deal then comes down to “Will the Hard Brexiteers push May out if she asks EU for an article 50 extension with less than 30 days on the clock?”. If no, then we’ll extend. If yes, then she can get a whole 30 days extra being PM by executing the No Deal scenario. It’s too early to say just how mad the Brexiteers are – but it’s on this point that the whole thing seems to hinge for me.

  24. A united Ireland is very much in the cards. The Assembly in NI is elected using the single transferable vote sort of a middle ground between ranked choice voting and proportional representation. What is important is that is the method used in the Republic. More interesting is that NI Assembly has been recently slimmed. And its members can easily fit into the Dáil.
    I do think there that there was not a constitutionally valid ‘decision’ to leave. The late great Anthony King’s work on the British Constitution makes its clear how far it has come from Bagehot. I would argue that devolution means that a decision such as leave requires at minimum the support of a majority of the four nations in the UK. Ask yourself the following question: if, in an alternate universe, leave had won the referendum but had lost in England would leave even be on any table?

    I fear that a hard brexit is what some want. They want to have the chaos it will bring so that a more Trumpian, or Hungarian regime can arise. If this does happen, I suspect the UK will disappear and there will be a united Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

  25. Overall lots of scenarios being touted that give Remainers what they want, but fail to convince. If the powers that be engineer a second referendum and somehow a small majority either votes to remain or accepts terms that are basically not leaving then that will erode the faith many have in the political process, as the government clearly started that if we voted to leave the EU, we would leave, and made it quite clear that would include the SM and CU. Once you generate widespread mistrust in the mechanism of government and show that solemn parliamentary-approved commitments can be torn up then you really have opened a can of political worms.

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