There is much talk amongst erstwhile Remainers that we must not anticipate, let alone advocate, an early British return to the European Union. Some, whose grasp of history is limp, even compare our situation to that of the Jacobites following the failure of the ’45. Many of us are certainly depressed. We are weighed down in particular by two considerations: the scale of the damage inflicted by Brexit that might be necessary to persuade the electorate to revisit the issue; and the scale of the change in the electorate’s understanding of the European project that would merit approval for such a return by the EU-27.
The business now being lost to the City of London, which seems certain to eventually destroy its status as the principal financial services centre in Europe, will be very difficult, if not impossible, to recover. Were Scotland to secure its independence, that too will be irreversible. And far too many even very committed and outspoken British pro-Europeans appear to expect that we could be re-admitted to the EU essentially on the same terms as we enjoyed prior to our voluntary departure: with opt-outs from monetary union and Schengen, and from the aspiration of “Ever Closer Union”. Such an expectation is utterly misplaced.
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