17th April 2019
One measure of how odd UK politics has been recently is that is somehow strange to be in the middle of a week that does not have the prospect of the UK leaving the EU on the Friday without a deal.
Twice the UK has driven close to that cliff edge before swerving away, thanks to the patience of the EU27 offering us an extension.
We are perhaps too near to what has happened to grasp how extraordinary it is to be have been in this predicament.
A still major world economy came close twice to leaving abruptly complex legal and economic arrangements built over forty-five years without any alternative arrangements in place.
And the reason we did not crash out was the forbearance of the organisation we seek to depart and which many of our politicians and pundits have vilified and insulted.
The UK has been lucky.
Twice the UK has been in a position where it was outside of our control what would happen next.
One day we will realise just how lucky we were.
But a problem with being lucky is that you can assume that the luck will hold and normalise: that you will always be lucky.
Come 31st October, there is no reason to think we will be lucky again.
Brexit may last for a long time, but ultimately it can only end in one of three ways: leaving without a deal, leaving with a deal, or revocation.
Before 31st October 2019 there is no real prospect of a new deal: the EU does not want to re-open the current deal, and the UK has not shifted its position.
The UK is unlikely to be any closer to being able to cope with leaving without a deal on 31st October, especially as “no deal planning” has been stepped down.
And so we are left with either seeking another extension, which we may not get, or facing up to revocation.
Between now and Hallowe’en the main issue in UK politics is the extent to which politicians address this hard choice of no deal, deal, or revocation.
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