The letter is sent, but the die is not cast. Britain could change course—and it mightby Jolyon Maugham / April 10, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
“There is no turning back,” crowed the Sun, threatened the Mail, regretted the FT, sneered the Telegraph, and parroted the Guardian. Soon after signing her Article 50 letter, Theresa May repeated the press’s line. And it is not only the media. The notion that Brexit is inevitable has taken root in the accommodative soil that substitutes for thought in the Labour Party leadership. For the Tories the diagnosis differs. Like Maori warriors with their tattooed moko, they parade a fervent attachment to the self-punishing pleasures of a “hard Brexit” to signal their high status to one another. The public too, insofar as the polls can gauge the mood, believes Brexit is now a done deal and want the government to get on with it.
Taken alone, each is a formidable obstacle to the view that Brexit can be avoided. And taken together? Do they cast its proponents as a Shetland pony optimistically breaking the starter’s tape on Grand National Day? Well, the metaphor runs this far. We do sit at the bottom of the handicap. And we’re unfancied—but only because we’re overlooked. For we have a clear path to success.