Sat Nov 17th, 2018 at 03:23:22 PM EST
I am persuaded that Brexit is essentially a revolutionary English nationalist movement. In so far as social science allows generalisation about revolutions, Crane Brinton's classic analysis concluded that
revolutions followed a life-cycle from the Old Order to a moderate regime to a radical regime, to Thermidorian reaction.
I would suggest that David Cameron represented the ancien régime
, and that Theresa May - herself a eurosceptic Remainer - has led the moderate revolutionary Brexit regime.
Now that her negotiators have reached an Withdrawal Agreement with the EU she faces a backbench rebellion that has until the end of next week to topple her before she can formally agree the WA with the European Council next Sunday. If radical Brexiteers remove her, I would expect a radical Brexit revolutionary regime to follow.
In this context, the rule of the radicals means a hard brexiteer PM, a purge of the moderates, and no-deal Brexit. As the economic consequences of no-deal bite, especially after next April Fools', the radical regime will turn to blaming the EU and the domestic enemies of the people, ushering a period of "revolutionary terror".
It could get ugly. There won't be state-sanctioned violence but there have been plenty of warnings - often taken seriously by, ahem, serious people - that stopping Brexit would lead to civil unrest. If, as is likely, no-deal Bexit leads to immediate hardship, it will be blamed on EU vindicativeness and on a fifth column stabbing the UK in the back. There could be repeats of the murder of pro-Remain MP Jo Cox in the run-up to the Brexit referendum. Soft Brexiteers, Remainers, EU citizens and brown people may be targeted by more or less random hate crimes.
And then, after an unspecified period of time, a Thermidorian reaction would usher in an authoritarian government to restore order and at least partially reverse Brexit.