Skip to content

Brexit: a quiet suggestion for Brussels

September 6, 2019


Just a sneaky thought about Brexit.

Nothing that has happened in British politics over the past few weeks convinces me that there is a better way of resolving the deadlock than a second referendum which includes as an option remaining in the European Union.

HOWEVER: a smart move on the part of the European Union, assuming that it still wants the UK as a member and a deal cannot be reached, would be to refuse to extend the leaving date beyond 31 October. Instead, it could make a unilateral declaration that if the UK wishes to rejoin the union, it can do so within the next year under the same terms as it enjoys today. In effect, we would be able retrospectively to revoke Article 50.

This would give us ample opportunity to taste the bitter fruit of a no-deal Brexit, and plenty of time to hold another referendum – not on whether to leave the EU, but on whether to return. If the predictions about the consequences of a no-deal exit come true, there would almost certainly be a widespread outbreak of buyers’ remorse, which would increase the pressure on whichever government is in power to think again.

Of course, reversing all the legislation that deals with Brexit would be no small exercise, and you can be sure that leavers, if things go badly, will blame the EU, the Tories, remainers and anyone but themselves for the chaos they have caused.

But a little carrot dangled by the EU might just be enough to persuade a majority of voters to return to the warm embrace of our erstwhile partners.

By this means the EU will be seen to have stood firm against what it sees as the unreasonable demands of the Brits, and the no-dealers will get their wish without having to respond to the EU’s offer, after which, thanks to the mess that follows, with a bit of luck they will never be a force in British politics again.

The last thing I want to see is a no-deal exit, but if such an event serves to convince the British people that they’ve been royally conned, a few months of grief might prove to have been worth it if we are then able to grab a lifeline back to the stability we shouldn’t have forsaken in the first place.

The big question is whether the EU, having been through considerable pain on their side, would welcome us back. Maybe. After potential waverers on its side have seen the grisly consequences of a disorderly exit, perhaps they would be less enthusiastic about life in the wilderness. On the other hand, a negotiated UK exit, if successful, might have the effect of providing a template for future defections.

Just a thought, nothing more.

From → Politics, UK

  1. Interesting. I think there is a good chance that the EU27 will refuse to grant Britain an extension simply because they are so exasperated with the complete shambles the UK has become.

    Offering to allow the UK back within a year is a twist that I hadn’t thought of and it would give the country a chance to recognise that it had made a terrible mistake.

    The only thing I would query is whether the rest of the EU would want to let Britain continue to take advantage of all of the opt-outs and special cases that it currently enjoys.

    • Thanks for the comment Paul. You may be right, but the simpler the offer, the more alluring it would be to those who want an end to the pain, even if there are a few wrinkles, most likely financial. S

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: