My pal Owen Barder has an interesting post on Facebook:
So here is how this could go.
We invoke Article 50 in October.
We negotiate a new deal which is roughly Norway / European Economic
Area. The UK has to accept Free Movement of Labour, and a net
financial contribution. But we lose the rebate and don’t participate
in Single Market rule setting.
There is a general election before the actual exit. A progressive
centre left coalition runs on a platform of remaining in the EU.
The public realises that staying in is a far better deal than they are
getting from exit (which is now an explicitly-defined alternative)
and, satisfied they have give the political class a bloody nose, votes
for the remain coalition.
The new government withdraws the notification of Article 50. There is
no procedure for this, but it is in everyone’s interest to invent one.
This requires common sense but unfortunately it seems 17,000,000 or so lack this trait. Certainly they are not aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Do you think the rest of the EU would let us withdraw from the process once we’d caused everyone so much work and hassle? Would be preferable to actually leaving. But I suspect we’d still be worse off.