Schrödinger’s Brexit

Ever since June, we have been a nation in limbo. The government doesn’t have a clue. The opposition has abdicated entirely. The one party with a coherent position has just eight seats in the House of Commons.

Every single time either of the three pro-Leave cabinet ministers says anything about Britain’s future relationship with Europe, they’re immediately slapped down by the Prime Minister and we’re told whatever they say doesn’t represent government policy. But if you try to ask about the actual government policy, you soon realise that there isn’t one.

Aside from repeating the meaningless mantra “Brexit means Brexit”, Theresa May’s only policy seems to be avoid making any irreversible decision until some sort of consensus emerges that she can sell both to her own party and to the country at large. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be any position that significant factions won’t consider as a betrayal. I fear that she will put short term party unity ahead of the interests of the country if her hand is forced.

If we had a competent opposition, they’d be making mincemeat of this lot. But unfortunately the Labour Party appears to have been eaten alive from the inside by parasitic wasps. Not to mention that they too as as divided as the Tories on the issue, and that division cuts through the party’s electoral base.

A recent opinion poll showed that 62% of the electorate are not prepared to pay any economic costs in order to reduce migration. It’s hard to interpret that as anything other that a lack of public support for a so-called “Hard Brexit”. When push comes to shove, a strong majority will accept freedom of movement in return for the retaining the benefits of the Single Market. But will the hardliners on the Tory right accept this?

At the moment the country risk sleepwalking into a hard Brexit. It’s up to those of us who don’t want that to happen to push that option out of the Overton Window.

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