The likely scenario is that parliament rejects the 'deal', Brussels refuses to change any of it, and we're left with a hard exit or... a People's Vote to end this madness... or will it?
Ignoring for the moment that we are a very divided nation that being either in or out won't resolve, what are the possible opportunities resulting from a hard Brexit that I, as a Remainer, might be able to live with and even prefer?
The first is that we will have escaped from a club that we would find just as hard to escape from if we really had to leave it later on. There are many reasons why we might not want to be part of a future EU. For example:
- Political Federalisation;
- Decisions being made to support the (struggling) Euro;
- Increasingly hard to cope with immigration;
- A European army at odds with NATO;
- Intolerable amounts of support needed for failing member states who lack the same standards of governance as wealthier members;
- Disagreement about the treatment of refugees and economic migrants (although the UK does not pull its weight there);
- Agriculture and fisheries policies not supporting sustainable and ecological futures for our land and our sea;
- The ECJ forces us to adopt laws that are at odds with UK values (although after 43 years, I am not aware of a single EU law we've had to swallow that we didn't want or that we couldn't adapt - gold plate - to suit the UK)
Having tried to find a comfortable way out when we don't need to leave, how might we escape when we really do? Well there's a strong possibility we are about to find out... and it's going to hurt. Lots.
Brexiteers are keen to peddle the old 'they still want to sell us their cars' nonsense. Out of the 27, only Germany and to a lesser extent France give a damn about that. And unfortunately, Germany has more to lose than any other member if the EU breaks up. So their car companies will have to put up and shut up for the nation's greater prosperity. Besides, UK sourced cars will become less of a problem in their domestic market, so they'll sell more German cars to Germans as a result. And think of all the extra business pouring out of London into Frankfurt. Trade works both ways.
And then there's intellectual property assets abandoning the UK. I know many technology companies who are in the process of transferring their assets into the EU (Ireland, Holland etc) from where they can continue to trade without any danger of restrictions. It's just a signed piece of paper at the end of the day. How tragic that the country who nurtured and invested in that asset can so effortlessly drive it out of town to a place that properly values it's export potential. As Trump would say, SAD!
But what really pisses me off about the morons who know nothing about business is when they say leaving the EU will open doors to the rest of the world. HOW?!! What can we do outside the EU that we can't do from inside it? What is currently stopping us selling to China that becoming a nation of 65m instead of a trading block of 550m will magically facilitate? Barking mad logic to think that by leaving the EU, countries like China and the USA will suddenly want to buy our stuff - except when the Pound collapses further, our stuff will be even cheaper - although much of it is made from imported components, so maybe not quite as cheap as we might hope. And Brits won't be able to afford all the stuff we currently import. The irony of the poor voting to pay vastly more for their iPhones and holidays.
So why is any of this in any way a good thing?
The only benefit I can see is that it will give the UK a massive kick in the arse. It will hurt. Big time. The bruise will last for decades, perhaps generations. But one of two things will happen. This will be end of the UK as a developed nation - ahead of all other developed nations declining in the face of China's rampaging onslaught and, of course, the rise of the machine (which threatens China more than anyone), OR it will have to evolve faster into what nations will need to become. I've no idea how being poorer and outcast by most of the rest of the planet will achieve this, just that we will need to change. And maybe that change will see the UK exploring where others will eventually follow. Just as we did a couple of hundred years ago. Although the chances of once again inventing the equivalent of the East India and Hudson Bay companies funded by resource theft and slavery, is hugely unlikely. Mankind has grown too smart to let us dominate like that again.
We will undoubtedly go through political upheavals too. The far left are poised to take power. History has NEVER witnessed a far left economic success. USSR, Venezuela, Cuba... China is further to the right than Hungary! Our economy will collapse even further to pave the way for jackboots marching up Whitehall.
As they say, the one thing that history teaches us... is that we never learn from history.
Why the hell didn't we let our elected representatives make the important decisions for us. Democracy is not about the people telling them what to do. So I guess the people are about to get what their naivety doesn't deserve, and we may be about to discover how evolution either grinds us out of history, or forces us to prevail.
Thank god I've got a place in Portugal and an increasing proportion of my wealth heading outside the UK.