Arc of Prosperity

Scottish Independence within the EU – with a Scandinavian Slant


Brexit: Choosing between the plague and cholera

plague photo
Photo by _-ellie-_
“To choose between the plague and cholera” (“at vælge mellem pest og kolera”) is a Danish idiom, which basically expresses the situation of having to choose between two evils.

This is basically what Brexit means for Westminster politicians: The choice is between cancelling Brexit or implementing it but suffering as a consequence. Unfortunately, the English public has been led to believe that Brexit will have positive consequences, and as a result, neither option is very attractive for a politician seeking reelection after Brexit.

Unfortunately, humans find it hard to make a choice between two unpalatable options. Most people will effectively be paralysed, hoping that a third option will appear out of nowhere. And that’s exactly what is happening at Westminster at the moment. If they cancel Brexit, the voters will punish them. If they go for a Norwegian solution, inflicting only minor damage on the economy, the voters that expected a Brexit bonus will penalise them, too. And if they negotiate a hard (but orderly) Brexit, the consequent financial shock will make the electoral punishment even harder.

And so, the Westminster politicians are caught in the Brexit headlights, hoping against hope that the EU will save them by presenting an option that will give them extra money and still be called Brexit. However, as the EU negotiators have already said, they don’t see it as their task to save the Conservative party.

The result of the Brexit paralysis will be that hardly anything will have been negotiated when the Article 50 deadline is up on the 29th of March, 2019. Nobody will see any benefit in extending the deadline (because the British side will remain completely paralysed), and so the UK will crash out without a transition period or a trade deal, and even without a WTO schedule.

It will be an utter disaster, and the electorate will punish the hapless paralysed politicians even harder than they would have done if they had chosen one of the options. It’ll serve them right.

We also have to realise that time is running out for choosing one of the options, so if the situation is still unresolved by Hogmanay, I’m afraid we’ll all have to assume that we’ll end up with the hard, chaotic Brexit that almost everybody agrees will be an unmitigated clusterfuck.

What will Scotland do then? If the Scottish politicians after Brexit are seen to have taken part in the collective paralysis of the British political classes, they too will get punished. The Scottish voters expect Holyrood to stand up for them, so if Holyrood has allowed a chaotic Brexit to happen without doing anything, they’ll be as guilty as Westminster.

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