On the brink

So, after what seems like an eternity of negotiation, but has actually only been a few months, a Brexit deal is finally on the table. At 585 pages it doesn’t lend itself to instant reaction, but from what I can tell it seems to propose some sort of EU-lite arrangement, which is far from the worst possible outcome, but still a pointless act of national self-harm.

That, of course, is assuming that Theresa May can steer the agreement through Parliament, which is not at all certain. Labour is set to vote against it to bring down the government. Hard-core Tory Brexiteers will oppose it in favour of the no-deal clean break they desire. Pro-Europeans from all parties may calculate that, if this deal fails, the resulting political stalemate will leave a second referendum the only way forward. It’s hard to see where the support to carry the plan through will come from, unless sufficient MPs are unnerved enough by the threatened chaos to accept a flawed arrangement rather than risk something worse.

My feeling is that things may just work out in the way I predicted back in January; May can’t get her deal through Parliament, the government collapses, Labour win the resulting election by promising a second referendum, and the nation votes to stay in the EU. I’m still planning to stockpile a lot of tinned food though…

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