Leave 1.0 (Lancaster House) has failed. ‘No Deal’ isn’t a credible position. Polling is moving against the Leave project. Isn’t it time for one of the key Leave figures to pitch Leave 2.0?
Leave 1.0, represented by Lancaster House (‘take back control’ and ‘frictionless borders’), expired some time ago.
The evidence to date is clear. Third way type solutions for the post-Brexit economic relationship will not be accepted by the European Union.
And the public has noticed. Brexit pessimism measures have hit all-time highs. The Remain — Leave margin has reversed and widened. A second referendum is now a talking point.
The failure of Leave 1.0 is a grievous blow to the Leave project. A further shift in public opinion may make it mortal.
Instead of resetting to a new Brexit approach, the same tired, old arguments are wheeled out (the ‘will of the people’ or mutterings about Greece...).
The two counter proposals — Canada and ‘No Deal’ — are sufficiently flawed (cats dead on arrival) as not to constitute reboots.
Canada won’t work because of the Irish backstop, and, crucially because the backstop will very likely be operational under the current (too short) timetable.
‘No Deal’ won’t work because either in its purist format it’s too damaging or because in its official form... it’s actually... well... a deal!
And all the while the train careens brakeless towards the all but inevitable wreck that lies ahead.
For Brexit supporters there should be more than enough evidence to justify a move to Leave 2.0. But more than that, failure to evolve risks jeopardising the entire Leave project.
The end may still work — Brexit itself — but the means to get there needs a rethink. A much longer transition. Perhaps EEA as a stepping stone or a final destination.
Any which way, it is more than time for Leave 2.0.
Who will move first?🔷
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(This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected.)