From the Sunday Times
“I notice an opinion poll has suggested that the people of Northern Ireland would now be in favour of a united Ireland, by a small margin, given their exquisite boredom and irritation at Brexit. I’m all for that if it means a united Ireland under British control. I think the Irish would be delighted to reacquaint themselves with the immeasurable benefits of rule from Westminster.
“I suppose it is possible, if improbable, that the poll meant a united Ireland under Dublin’s control, but I find that hard to believe. Even if some commentators have suggested, darkly, that this was the intention of the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, all along, his unneighbourly intransigence and spite designed to reignite the issue.
“Meanwhile, our own exquisite boredom and irritation is set to continue, perhaps indefinitely, as predicted in a book by the former Labour MP and arch remainer Denis MacShane, [AKA Josef Denis Matyjaszek] the said publication being called Brexiternity
In this unhinged carnival in which we are all participants, willing or unwilling, there is never a definitive answer to the perpetually posed question: WTF will happen next?
[McShane, you may recall, submitted 19 false invoices for £12,900 to the parliamentary expenses authority. In November 2013 he pleaded guilty to false accounting at the Old Bailey. Mr Justice Sweeney sentenced MacShane to six months in prison]. He wrote
“Right now we can say that the prospect of an imminent general election has receded a little and that back on the menu is that old favourite, the second referendum. The thinking at the moment is that it might clear the air, offer us a little certitude. To my mind, the last vote offered precisely that. And when the odious Alastair Campbell, Lord Mandelson and John Major insist that, “Ah, but now we know better what Brexit means”, I would make two points.
“First, you don’t mean “we”, you mean “you unwashed, pig-ignorant dimbo leavers”. Nobody who voted to leave thinks we need a second referendum because, first time around, information was thin on the ground. Only remainers say that, and when asked, they are mysteriously unable to tell us what it is that they now know that they didn’t three years ago.
“Second, my suspicion is that, in any case, we all now know slightly less than we did on June 23, 2016. OK, we know Project Fear was a grotesque and perhaps criminal exaggeration. But we don’t know any more, really, about what Brexit would mean. All we have had is three years of claim and counter-claim between the liberal Establishment and the majority of the people.
“A second referendum might give certainty if the question on the polling card were exactly the same as it was on June 23, 2016. Then, I think, “leave” would win by something approaching two-thirds. Almost all of the remainers I know now want us out, both as a matter of principle and on account of that exquisite boredom I mentioned before.
“But, of course, that will not be the question. It is quite possible that they will get Konnie Huq to formulate the question, which might then be “Do you want to remain in the European Union or do you want to be decapitated, you working-class morons?”
“More likely is a choice of three, crap deal, no deal or remain. But if it were such a patently gerrymandered vote, the boycott of the poll would be such that I doubt the turnout would exceed 40%, and so the enterprise would have no validity or force whatsoever.
“My favourite outcome would be a second referendum based on the original question, and comfortably won by leave, followed by a general election in which Albert Steptoe, that swimsuit woman and the Picts are triumphant and pledge to respect the will of the people (again) while enacting legislation to ensure that we remain within the EU. Then at least it will be clear to everyone that the only impediment to Brexit is parliament, and it always has been.
“Either way, the issue will not recede nor be acted upon decisively. We will stay where we are, wondering WTF, paralysed by a system that acts against the people it is supposed to represent”.