With another parliamentary election coming in December, Johnson could get the numbers he needs.
Brexit has been delayed, again. The initial vote for the U.K. to leave the EU was in June 2016, three-and-a-half years ago, and the actual act of leaving has been delayed three times now. This is, by nature, a polarizing issue because there are only two possible outcomes: either the U.K. leaves the EU or they stay in the EU.
On account of that, the notion of leaving the EU has seen adamant supporters, fierce opposition and very little of anything else. There are three possibilities for how the Brexit affair could end, those being no Brexit, no-deal Brexit and Brexit with a deal. Let’s look at each of these three, the most likely of which is a no-deal Brexit, and make an educated guess as to when Brexit will or will not happen.
First, no Brexit: Although the initial vote to leave the EU three years ago succeeded with about 51.9 percent voting to leave, one recent poll conducted by market research company YouGov suggests that 49 percent of people surveyed believe that Brexit, specifically no-deal Brexit, would be a “bad outcome,” as opposed to only 22 percent who believe it would be a “good outcome.” A Eurobarometer survey found that 53 percent of respondents would vote to remain if the vote were re-taken. Another poll by another market research company ComRes asked a similar question about “Brexit by any means,” however, and found nearly the exact opposite. This survey found that 54 percent supported “Brexit by any means” whereas 46 percent disagreed with the statement.
On account of this, it seems that a second Brexit vote would be a tossup and could conceivably go either way.
Second, no-deal Brexit: This is what current Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to implement when he put Parliament on an extended recess in September, until the U.K. Supreme Court ruled this suspension unlawful. A no-deal Brexit would invalidate the U.K.’s tariff-exempt status with the rest of the EU; considering that the U.K. gets about one-third of its food from the EU, and tariffs on products like tobacco are as high as 74 percent, this has the potential to substantially impact the U.K.’s economy. This also creates a large issue with Northern Ireland, which would have to establish a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, meaning that about 35,000 commuters would have to either go through customs twice every day or relocate either their homes or their jobs.
This is by far the worst option because it weakens the economy of the U.K. and its U.K.’s allies without attempting to reconcile the alleged benefits of Brexit and the adverse effects of sudden tariffs.
Finally, Brexit with a deal: This is the closest thing there is to “middle ground.” Before Theresa May was replaced as U.K. Prime Minister, she submitted what was basically the same deal to parliament three times and was somehow surprised when it was rejected each time. Since then, there has been little discussion of a deal with Brexit, with anti-brexiteers in a frenzied rage over the notion of leaving the EU and the brexiteers equally bullheaded about the notion of not leaving the EU. If a deal with the EU were reached, some of the aforementioned tariffs could be lowered or negated, and the economic detriments which would be present in a no-deal Brexit scenario could be addressed.
Will Brexit ever end? Eventually, of course, it has to. It seems that pro-Brexit sentiment may be weakening. If Brexit is continually delayed, perhaps another referendum will be held, and the U.K. will abandon this movement. Alternatively, if a no-deal Brexit goes into effect, the economic consequences will be substantial. There’s always the possibility that Parliament will begin representing the will of their constituents and collaborate with Johnson to implement a deal with the EU or perhaps a partial exit from the EU, but then again I suppose that’s really only “possible” the same way that it’s “possible” for an infant to fight Muhammad Ali.