Brexit pantomime would be funny except it’s a tragedy

Chris Johns: Could it spark a recession? Or a banking crisis? It certainly is not over

Brexit worries: Banking crises often come from surprising places.

Brexit worries: Banking crises often come from surprising places.

Brexit as an early Christmas pantomime is the common theme of much current commentary. Entertaining – and as accurate – as that is, it doesn’t offer much insight or analysis as to what to do next, what to expect , how to size up the possible outcomes. That’s understandable: given how the process has twisted and turned over the past couple of years, accurate crystal ball-gazing is next to impossible. But what are the facts? What do we know that might help us think about how things might evolve from here?


One interesting aspect of the last few days is a palpable change of mood: apart from those who now want her job, Theresa May has managed to elicit a remarkable degree of sympathy from the country at large. Whatever her qualities as a leader or prime minister, there is widespread admiration for her resilience. A new understanding has emerged, one that accepts that it is either her deal or chaos. Even hard Brexiteers have displayed some degree of honesty in explicitly calling for a hard Brexit as the only realistic, practical alternative to her deal. The tiny minority of MPs who think that the recently concluded withdrawal agreement can somehow be renegotiated have been widely derided as fantasists.

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