If there is to be a second referendum on membership of the EU, as I hope there will be, then prepare for controversy galore. The original question on the ballot paper – This or Not This – may have been vague, but it was simple and the campaigning straightforward. I can think of a number of significant and unavoidable differences next time round that will rustle a few feathers. The most obvious complication being caused by a potential third choice on the menu – May’s eventual deal with the EU, when and if that ever comes. Remain, Leave Hard or Leave Deal.
In 2016, the UK held a referendum on our membership of the EU. Problem number one: the question was vague. It was a this or not this binary option. At no point was a choice offered on the wide spectrum of possibilities encompassed by the not this option. But that’s not to say that the various Leave campaigns failed to provide opinions on what they believed would happen. They were often contradictory, regularly disreputable and sometimes just downright untruthful. But a picture was painted, even if the result did rather resemble a Rorschach test. A test that elicited visions of joy and prosperity from 17 million participants, and doom and gloom from the other 16 million people who took part.
We are reaching the end of the road. We know not exactly where the road ends, as this is unchartered territory – not even Google has a map to get us out of this tangle. There are several ominous looking junctions ahead though. We do know when it will end, providing Brexit doesn’t crash and burn before then. And at the moment, Brexit is careening is a most alarming manner. To the casual observer, it looks almost out of control. Is the driver asleep at the wheel? Will she bail before it goes bang? We might be about to find out.