Brexit 2019: the Good, Bad and could-turn-Ugly options
Nobody knows what might happen with Brexit next week. So all forecasts for 2019 should be taken with a kilo of salt (if the Remainiac survivalists haven’t stockpiled all of the white stuff already).
That said, here are three possible outcomes anyway: a best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and maybe-not-as-bad-as-it-seems case scenario. AKA the Good, Bad, and could-turn-Ugly options.
Best case scenario: a No Deal Brexit
We’d love a good exit deal, where the UK frees itself from the anti-democratic grip of the EU, regains its sovereignty, and retains close economic links with EU member states.
But there is no such deal on the table. The EU bureaucracy wants to punish the UK, to teach a lesson to upstart Leave voters who think democracy means the people taking control – and show other European proles what happens when they dare to defy their betters in Brussels.
Which means a No Deal, clean-break Brexit is the only available option which comes close to fulfilling the demand of 17.4million Leave voters. That makes it the Good option for 2019.
We are bombarded with Remain propaganda disguised as reportage, about how No Deal will mean planes falling from the skies and food disappearing from the shelves, amid plagues of frogs, locusts and Russian fake-news bloggers. No doubt there would be some short-term uncertainty. But that is better than the certainty of being stitched up by the EU and UK elites.
Our Remainer government and parliament will do anything possible to stop a No Deal Brexit. But let’s start the New Year with the hopeful view that it could – and should – still happen, if only by default. Laws passed in parliament mean the UK is currently committed to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 – deal or no deal. That can only be altered if parliament manages to pass another law to stop it. Will the divided, incoherent and cowardly bulk of MPs be able to get their act together in time?
There is talk of Remainer Tory MPs joining Labour to stop No Deal, bringing parliamentary politics closer to chaos. But a bit more political chaos may also be our best hope of getting a clean-break Brexit. The trouble is that few are pushing for this. Leave has always been a popular mood more than a political movement. The lack of organised support for No Deal leaves plenty of scope for the conniving elites to get their way. But it’s now no deal, or no democracy.
Worst case scenario: May’s deal, or some other variant of Remain-by-another-name
The deal Remainer prime minister Theresa May has done would potentially leave the UK in a neocolonial relationship to the EU, still under the sway of Euro rules and courts. It is a form of Remain-by-another-name. This is the Bad option for 2019.
It seems certain that the prime minister’s deal will be rejected by MPs, which is why she has postponed the vote. But it seems equally certain that Her May-jesty and her court will keep trying to get some version of it through. They are already ramping up warnings about the only alternative being No Deal, to try to frighten MPs into submission. In this they have the support of powerful lobbies, from the media to big business.
Things may look bleak for May. But the Labour Party are only proposing an alternative version of Remain by another name. The only other ‘alternative’ gaining elite support is to try to reimpose a full-blooded Remain, via another vote. Which brings us to…
Maybe-not-as-bad-as-it-seems scenario: another referendum
The ‘People’s Vote’ campaign is Newspeak nonsense. The people pushing for it are embittered Remainer elitists. They care nothing about the demos – the people – and everything about taking back the other part of democracy, kratos: power or control.
Thus as soon as the European Court of Justice ruled that the UK parliament could simply reverse Brexit, many decided that their precious ‘people’s vote’ might not be necessary after all. Professor AC Grayling, the Remainiac’s Remainiac, tweeted triumphantly that, ‘We can cancel Brexit without cost. Control over the nation’s destiny rests in the hands of our MPs.’ And not, apparently, in the hands of the people whose destiny is to be decided for them.
At the same time, Remainer support is growing for a second referendum, from the Tory cabinet to the Corbynite left lobby Momentum, to break the parliamentary impasse and prevent No Deal. As Brendan O’Neill has argued on spiked, we need to get ready to fight the referendum battle again. Leading Remainers from all parties want a referendum choice between May’s deal and Remain. Brexit, and 17.4million Leave voters, would be erased from the ballot paper and history altogether. Others favour a choice between May’s deal and No deal, fancying they could deploy the fear factor to win.
Another referendum is the could-turn-Ugly option. It would be a dirty fight to the finish with all sorts of muck and bullets flying. But it is also the maybe-not-as-bad-as-it-seems scenario. It could be won, against all the fixed odds and in face of the scaremongering – just as the first one was.
If a second referendum offered a phoney choice between Remain and Remain-by-another-name, we’d need a ‘boycott the bogus vote’ campaign. A lower turnout would sink the referendum, whatever the result. If the second referendum offered a more genuine choice – Leave v Remain again, or May’s deal v No deal – then another win for the Brexiteers would be a hammer blow to the elites. Which is why many remain reluctant to risk another public vote and want to keep it a private matter for MPs.
The only certainty for 2019 is that the political class will do anything in its power to thwart the popular Brexit revolt. As I wrote on spiked in June 2016, a week before the referendum, ‘Nobody should be complacent about the willingness of the political elites to respect the will of the people. Even if the Leave campaign was to win the vote, it is already clear that many in both Brussels and Whitehall are planning how they could get around that inconvenient fact.’ That is one Brexit prediction that has proved undeniably true.
Mick Hume is spiked’s editor-at-large. His latest book, Revolting! How the Establishment is Undermining Democracy – and what they’re afraid of, is published by William Collins.
Picture by: Getty