In uncertain times, we crave certainty to get us through the turbulence.

The tweeter before Chris Grey in the thread that the above reply was made to had simply and reasonably asked the academic expert who has demonstrated such clear insights into what’s going on with the madness that is Brexit, how did he expect that this would all turn out. Why not? It’s the question on so many of our lips, after all. How’s this all going to play out? How’s this going to end? What does Britain’s post-Brexit state look like?

Grey’s response is about the only possible one anyone can really give to that question – ‘I don’t know’. Such is the madness of the moment, that it’s entirely possible to imagine any number of possible ‘end states’ to this particular situation as playing out, from the opposing ends of the spectrum. The socio-economic crashtastic cliff edge of a ‘no deal hard Brexit’ is as conceivable at this stage as even a ‘Euro + Schengen hard Remain’ outcome might be. Equally, a ‘long grass fudging’ of dragging the whole thing on indefinitely without ever really going anywhere is possible to imagine, pleasing absolutely no-one.

So amidst our sea of uncertainties, and given current trends and circumstances, what does seem pretty likely to come to pass? Here’s a few possibilities, but feel free to add your own:

  • The Tories will remain fundamentally divided on the question of whether Britain should be a member of the EU or not. It may or it may not split their party – they are instinctively survivalist, but historically have split as a party before (see Corn Laws) – but the referendum and now Article 50 process have done the opposite of stopping them from ‘banging on about Europe’.

  • The Labour Party will remain equally divided about Europe for the foreseeable future too, albeit less rancorously than the Tories are. Following the logic of Corbyn’s supposed respect for the principles of democracy as well as the different poles of the electorate they are trying to keep within their ‘broad church’, they are somewhat bound to ‘respect’ the results of the referendum. And however much some see Corbyn as delivering Attlee 2.0 following the drought years of neoliberal austerity Britain, others see a lifelong Eurosceptic leading the party too – the latter of which tends to precludes the former.

  • Given the fundamental fissures in our two main parties, both of whom are now commanding about 80% of the given vote between them, we are not likely to see another notable majority government any time soon. Get used to coalitions, horse trading, hung Parliaments and minority governments. That’s likely to mean that both politically and legislatively, very little of note is going to actually get done.

  • There is a fixed point in time where the current state-of-play will change. By April 1st 2019, the end of the Article 50 period, Britain will then either head into basket case territory, will become a Rees-Mogg ‘vassal state’, will have reversed Brexit, or will have slid into a new state of fudge. But whatever it is, it’ll be different from now.

  • This is not going away. We’re all set to go on banging on about Europe for a generation, at least.

  • Damage has already been done, from our national economy to our international standing. More damage will inevitably be done.

  • The EU will remain resolute in their adherence to keeping the rules of their club intact. If you want the benefits of membership, you play by the rules. If you don’t want to play by the rules, you don’t get the benefits of membership.

  • There is no leaving the Single Market/Customs Union whilst avoiding a hard Irish border. It is an irreconcilable goal, an unsquarable circle.

What other certainties have I missed?🔷

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(This piece was first published on The Blog!)

(Cover: Pixabay.)