Lionel Shriver Lionel Shriver

Dear Remainer parliament: you won. Now revoke Article 50 – if you dare

Dear Remainer parliament. Although we’re the voters who spurned the petition for this very course of action, we the undersigned formally request that you please revoke Article 50 at your earliest convenience.

For Philip, Oliver, Dominic, Amber, Greg, et al (forgive the familiar first names, but over the last few months we’ve come to feel we know you so terribly well), this appeal from your nemeses may come as a surprise. After all, it was to appease us knuckle-draggers that you invoked the Article in the first place. Apologies for seeming so fickle. But in what Charles Moore has aptly dubbed Europe’s contemporary ‘empire’, all roads lead not to Rome but to Brussels. In the interest of geographical expedience, we would eschew driving a byzantine spaghetti of motorways and roundabouts and still ending up in Belgium. We’d just as soon take the shortcut.

As for the long way round, we Leavers have quit anguishing over whether Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement is worth supporting in order to achieve some fingernail clipping’s worth of our agenda. As oft observed, this agreement would put the UK in a hopelessly disadvantageous negotiating position. In subsequent trade talks, the EU would have all to play for. A helpless supplicant once more, Mrs May or her successor would be obliged to give away the store.

For thanks to your help, we’ve been blinded by a veritably Biblical vision of what any resultant trade agreement is bound to entail. Sacrifice of our fishing grounds. Acceptance of freedom of movement. Membership of the single market, or at least full regulatory alignment, which would amount to the same thing. Subjection to the rulings of the ECJ. Restored, if perhaps farcically reduced, annual contributions to the EU budget. And of course, the UK would fall into a customs union by default, if we hadn’t already joined that too.

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