Martin Kettle’s article does an effective job of setting out the current deadlock: there’s a parliamentary consensus that a no deal solution is unacceptable, but there’s no agreement with regard to an alternative. Well, I’ve thought of one: someone (ideally May, but she appears to be psychotic, so probably somebody else) introduces an amendment to the following effect: it’s her deal, or no Brexit. This would force those who really do want Brexit to accept that there will never be a version of it that appeals to their particular proclivities, and to either forget the whole thing or abandon their principles (and destroy their own careers) by voting to make the country much poorer for no good reason. It would also marginalise those outright ideological nutters like Rees-Mogg who aren’t even that bothered about the EU as such but just want to bring everything crashing down so they can profit from the wreckage. Now there would be all sorts of complications, such as how the Labour leadership would handle the delicate task of owning up to Leave voters that the bag they were sold contained nothing but a dead pup, but I think that given the standoff that Kettle describes, and given that there will be no consensus with regard to an alternative for the foreseeable future, and given that the ticking sound we all hear is not actually a clock but a bomb, it might just serve as a last-gasp solution – hopefully it will in fact be this very scenario that we end up with/in. The sticking point at the moment is that she knows she’d lose, and so do those who oppose her deal. After all, if there’s one thing that Brexiters can stomach even less than foreign booze and vegan sausage rolls it’s…Actual Brexit. If Farage, Hannan, Carswell, Cummings, Raab, Johnson, Davis (et al) had genuinely thought the UK would be better off outside the EU, they would have worked a serious, detailed plan that went beyond winning the Referendum, and sought to promote it while the negotiations were going on.
But they never had such a plan (update: quite deliberately, it turns out). Their Brexit is a scorched earth one, the ultimate iteration of the Shock Doctrine, a British version of Year Zero, and it’s far beyond time for their bluff to be put to the test.