It’s a strange atmosphere in Britain right now. All of the Christmas adverts have started appearing on telly, which ordinarily signal the start of a period where we don’t have to worry about anything too politically serious happening. But that period is a critical one this year. The chances of an exit from Brexit before the end of 2017 diminish by the day, as everyone gets into a Christmassy, “let’s hit the mince pies and mulled wine” mood; but if we’re still in limbo by early 2018, hundreds of companies, and thousands of individuals, will start implementing their contingency plans, and things will get very bad very quickly, long before 29 March 2019.
We are on a very perilous tightrope with no certainty, and perhaps only a slender chance, of getting to the other side more or less intact. If the government implodes too soon, the Ultras may still drag us to disaster; if it struggles on as it is for too long the disaster will arrive of its own accord and it will be too late to do anything about it.
Brexiters are retreating deeper into fantasy land. “Unable to accept that their vote cannot accommodate reality, they search instead for a different reality to accommodate their vote.”
Leavers—and the media, and many others—seem to have been seduced by the metaphor of Brexit as a divorce, which contains a fatal flaw that leads them to underestimate the predicament Britain has created for itself. That flaw is the idea that there are plenty more fish in the sea.
Older voters will know plenty of people who are divorced, or may have been divorced themselves. They will have seen divorcees pick themselves up afterwards, get out there and find new partners, and build new lives for themselves. In a country of 65 million people, let alone a world of 7 billion, the number of potential new partners is vast.
But if Britain becomes a new divorcee, it won’t be looking out onto a sea of possibilities, it’ll be staring into a pond—a pond with only a couple of hundred other countries in it. Twenty-seven of them will already be married to each other, in the polyamorous relationship we’ve just left. Dozens will be too small to offer much in the way of a new lifelong bond. Others will be enmeshed in relationships of their own, and unwilling to risk them for a fling. Yet others will be too happy playing the field to settle down with us. As we desperately stalk the nightclubs of the international trade circuit looking for that special someone, the risk is that we’ll end up dancing alone.
Some of this is adapted from my comments on this Metafilter thread.