Brexit: No cake, but let’s welcome the prospect of a nice big bit of fudge!

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Along, I’m sure, with many LDV readers, I’ve read hundreds of articles on the subject of Brexit over the last couple of years.

But one piece of writing has finally encapsulated a precise sensible solution to the whole sordid, messy business.

David Shariatmadari is a writer and editor for the Guardian in London. In a post yesterday entitled “On Brexit, the views of the 48% must be respected too. That’s democracy”, he argued that:

Given that the UK is split, it’s only fair if the government delivers ‘Brexit in name only’, as is looking increasingly likely.

After explaining that the Irish impasse will probably lead to the UK “both in a customs union and closely, if not entirely, aligned with the single market”, he concludes:

…the results were 48% for remain and 52% for leave.

This is clearly not an electorate that decisively favours Brexit. It does so only very tentatively. It does not matter if, among the 17.5 million who voted leave, there are many, even a majority, who feel strongly that a clean break from the EU is best. The government serves the whole country, and 16 million people wanted nothing to do with Brexit at all.

The democratic solution to this split is therefore to enact Brexit, but remain closely aligned with the EU. That is the course that most closely reflects “the will of the people”.

It might well mean “Brexit in name only” – a situation that completely satisfies neither side, a classic fudge, stirred in Brussels and left to set in Westminster. But it is a situation that best embodies the results of the vote. It’s a cautionary tale about referendums, for sure. But if there are Brexiteers who finds themselves “frustrated” by it, perhaps they aren’t quite the democrats they claim to be.

This reminds me of the Norwegian way. The Norwegians saw their 1994 EU referendum result, which was – spookily – 52% no and 48% yes – and concluded that the country was split and that, rather than go with the 52% and have nothing to do with the EU, they would find a compromise solution – a fudge if you like – which leaves Norway in the Single Market but not in the EU. It’s way of trying to find a middle line or consensus.

So, we’re not going to have our cake and eat it, it seems, but we may end up with a nice bit of fudge instead. The British/Irish are very good at fudges. I say let us welcome and relish the prospect of a nice big fudge!

I have to say that Mr Shariatmander’s article is the most sensible thing I have seen written about Brexit and I have set up a regular donation to support the Guardian on the strength of it.

You can read the full article here.


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