I agree with Polly Toynbee that a second referendum would be as bad an idea as the first one in the UK. She raises the possibility of a permanent limbo that could result from revoking article 50. But there does not seem to be any certainty that article 50 can be revoked. Total confusion and uncertainty remains. For this sorry state, not only brexiters should be blamed, but all those in favour of deciding these matters through a referendum. These are the arguments of Toynbee: "One solution is a long, perhaps never-ending compromise. Andrew Adonis, whose House of Lords speech fired up the anti-Brexit peers, says lawyers are taking a case to the ECJ to declare that article 50 can be revoked. That’s the view of Lord Kerr, article 50’s author. The UK could revoke it just before the March 2019 deadline, as a temporary measure to delay exit, in transition time. Even David Davis agrees the need for transition time, as the fiendish complexity of everything finally dawns. There we will sit in the transit lounge, inside the European Free Trade Association alongside Norway, which has lived frozen in a state of perpetual transition ever since Norwegians voted against joining the EU in 1994. (...)
Indefinite limbo is no visionary battle cry, and will satisfy no one:
Brexiteers will always be implacable. But it could turn out to be the
least worst option, and so long as we are no better off outside the
club, the EU might accept a messy compromise, saving us from calamity.
We will obey rules over which we have no power, but all alternatives
look worse. Elections will come and go, but at some future date Britain
may vote for a government that advocates returning, humbled, to an EU
that may itself look changed. Not inspiring, but avoiding Armageddon.
But never try another referendum. Haven’t we learned that lesson the
hard way? A crude question divides a nation, driven by emotions not on
the ballot paper, paralysing politics for years to come. If your
confirmation bias draws your eyes only to stories that tell you the tide
is turning, cast your eyes occasionally at how Murdoch, the Mail and
the Telegraph still ply their venom. They would still be there,
poisoning the air, in a second referendum."
Dutiful dirges of Davos
4 hours ago