Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It's hard enough to construct a scenario as to how the principle actors will behave over the next two years without trying to predict how public opinion will swing as well. As you say, polling on whether the UK should leave the EU since the referendum has been broadly stable and it is only in recent months that a slight swing in favour of remain is detectable.

As you know, opinion polls on contentious issues are often a proxy for general happiness/unhappiness with how things are going, and so this may simply reflect disillusion with how the government is handling the negotiations.

It is by no means certain, based on that data, that a referendum held now would reverse the original result.

I have little doubt that public opinion may well develop in the direction you suggest, but without another general election or referendum there is no direct way that any swing in opinion can re-structure how the talks are being conducted. The Tory government can carry on regardless unless it losses it's Commons majority.

If the Brexit talks were to break down completely and Theresa May's leadership was in imminent peril I could imagine her calling another snap general election to ask whether the people wanted a "clean break" from the EU without any deal. I could see her losing that election and Corbyn resetting the talks provided he had enough time to do so before the A50 period expires.

In that scenario he would look to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union and avoid many of the complications bedevilling the current talks.

My problem with that relatively benign scenario is that (in my view) the talks are unlikely to break down completely until we get much closer to March 2019 and by that time there will be all the problems I instanced above about time extensions requiring unanimous approval.

Unlike fjallstrom , I don't believe the EU Council would simply accept a revocation of the A50 notification if the intention was simply to delay leaving and start Brexit talks all over again. The EU27 have had quite enough of Brexit already.

So if Corbyn tried to revoke the A50 notification, they would ask him simply, "are you in or out?" , and if he wants to stay in they will insist that the UK commits to not invoking A50 again for at least another 10 years.

Would Corbyn be agreeable to that?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 04:00:23 PM EST
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