I must confess that I still feel extremely angry about the outcome of the absurd and unnecessary EU “referendum” yet I am beginning to think that the UK might remain in the EU after all. I put the chances of this possibility at about 30 % for the following reasons:
i) The political, economic, cultural, and also scientific damage to the UK has already begun, and is becoming more widely recognized even among those who voted to leave. Will there be more money for the NHS or other public services? Rather unlikely with slower economic growth and even a recession in the offing.
ii) Within the governing Conservative Party that caused this mess there is a majority of MPs who wish to remain in the EU. Do they really want to press the article 50 self destruct button for the UK?
iii) The legal challenge to the use of royal prerogative to trigger article 50 exposes the absurdity of potentially far reaching constitutional change undertaken by accident without parliamentary scrutiny or approval. If the UK really is a parliamentary democracy (and this formed the basis of widespread unease with the extent of EU legislative powers) then it would be strange if the UK parliament were now effectively excluded from this process.
iv) After triggering article 50 there would be many years of wasted effort and resources put into the process of leaving the EU to create a weaker and more isolated (and isolationist) UK. These are years that could be spent on more productive and useful aims such as investing in the technologies of the future rather than splurging on consultancy and legal fees (there are always some beneficiaries from a bad decision).
v) The UK’s new Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed three leading advocates for the Leave campaign to senior positions overseeing the Brexit negotiations (the so-called three Brexiteers comprising Liam Fox, David Davis, and Boris Johnson). Is this a question of political balance for senior ministerial appointments or a Machiavellian plot to ensure that the negotiations fail? As a Remain advocate it is unlikely that May really does want to damage the future of the UK and her own political legacy to boot. There are already signs that the idiocy of the Brexiteers is bearing fruit: Davis claims that trade opportunities for the UK are ten times greater outside the EU but as contributors to The Financial Times have pointed out, this must surely involve trade negotiations with another planet. It is time to push back against the advance of post-factual politics.