I was fortunate to enjoy lunch today in the fellow’s dining room at Churchill College. For me it was straight out of CP Snow with lots of erudite and very intelligent academics chatting away informally about a range of topics. Brexit was one and it prompted me to be thankful for what did not happen even though it was a distinct possibility at the time.
We remember the days post the referendum with party leaders, including one prime minister, resigning.Then there was the Tory leadership debacle with the supposed back stabbing of one candidate by another and the emergence of the compromise candidate with whom we are now stuck. But just imagine, what if …
What if Boris Johnson would have had the courage to go for it. the Tory leadership that is. He’d probably have got it accompanied by an upwelling of popular support. He’d then maybe have done the honorable thing and called an election to validate his leadership and he’d have won that easily. Just imagine where we’d be now looking at a future of a certain hard Brexit. No single market, no customs union (bye bye the Good Friday accord), no welcome for EU citizens (bye bye fresh fruit and veg in the supermarkets and don’t even think about the NHS) and no meaningful position in the world. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
However it did not happen and we still don’t know what’s going to come out of Ms May’s dirty weekend when she and her cabinet are supposed to thrash it all out. They’re supposed to come out with a common strategy which unites Boris on the one hand and Philip Hammond on the other. They might also hope that it’s acceptable to the rational wing of the Tory party which apparently includes Heidi Allen along with Anna Soubry and Kenneth Clark and others with the courage to stand up for what’s right for the country.
I still have no idea how this is going to pan out. All outcomes as far as I am concerned are still possible from hard Brexit to no Brexit. The Brexit Blog by Chris Grey is an excellent analysis but it stops way short of any sort of prediction. It’s worth a read.