The future of British politics is a choice, made either at an early election or, less likely, another referendum, between emulating Norway (which pays to get most of the single market and accepts a liberal immigration regime) or Canada (which has a limited bespoke EU trade deal and its own immigration rules). …
If our options for Brexit boil down to Norway and Canada, I’d take Norway every time: it would make us richer, and might just halt the latest drive for Scottish independence. But it’s not me that has to be persuaded. It’s the rest of the electorate, especially the 17.4 million who voted Leave. The battle to convince Leavers it’s in Britain’s best interests to keep some bankers and some immigrants will divide and define our politics.
Nigel Farage will be against, insisting that nothing less than an end to free movement will do. That could well see Ukip finally make its real electoral breakthrough, winning scores of seats in the Commons. Mr Farage may hope to peel off some Tory Leavers, but Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Dan Hannan and even Nadine Dorries are all signalling that they want Norway, not Canada.
If – and this seems entirely plausible – Ukip does grow into a real national force on an “out means out” ticket, it will be at the expense of Labour in what used to be its northern heartlands. Labour itself would survive only in London and a few university towns, fighting for scraps with the last Lib Dems.
hat-tip Stephen Neil