I wanted the country to vote Remain last year. I wrote about why I thought it would be a good idea at length. Alas, the country voted differently.
This election gives the Lib Dems, a party campaigning on a second referendum (what amounts to an ability to block Brexit from occurring), a chance to gain seats. How this works out will be one of the more interesting aspects of the whole spectacle. Yet imagine for a moment what it would take to actually reverse the Brexit process and not leave the EU. Essentially, the Lib Dems would have to get a parliamentary majority. And given the party is currently polling at 12%, this is not going to happen or even come close to happening.
Some have speculated that the Lib Dems could win enough seats off the Tories to produce another coalition, this one based on stopping Brexit as a red line. One, this is not going to happen, but even in a universe where it was possible, why would Theresa May do such a thing? If she were somehow short of a majority after June 8th, she could just run as a minority government for a while – with Corbyn in charge (and he would definitely be sticking around if May failed to get a majority), it’s mostly the same as having a Tory majority anyhow, as he just goes along with whatever Theresa May wants, particularly on Brexit matters.
I’m telling you all this because I think a lot of Remainers are still in denial, even post-Article 50. That there will be some way to stop Britain leaving the EU. But I just don’t see it. Better still, liberals should spend time thinking about how to get the best Brexit possible and go from there. Yes, there is a desire for some Remainers to see it all go as horribly wrong as possible in order that “Bregret” may set in quickly. Wishing the country to fail is a poor place for liberals to find themselves in, and I think we should instead try and do what we can to make it work. That is not the same thing as accepting Brexit as a good idea, let me be clear – simply that since there is no way to avoid it, we need to make it as painless and fruitful as possible.
By all means, put some thought into how Britain might one day rejoin the EU. If you want to register a vote against Brexit, vote Lib Dem (the only way to really do this, in England at least). But I think you need to accept that we’re off and there’s no way to stop it. That will become very clear to everyone after June 8th.