…Yes, it’s going to be a bit anachronistic and sexist, but that’s right on the nose for Brexit, isn’t it? (Also let me say here that I like my mother-in-law a LOT more than I like my wife’s mother-in-law, so this is not directed at anyone in particular.)
The Brexit referendum, “would you like to be rid of the EU,” is a bit like a referendum on “would you like to be rid of your mother-in-law.” And by a vote of 52-48, you decide yes you would quite like to be rid of your mother-in-law. Well, now, how to go about it? Guess you’ll just wait for her to die of natural causes. Oh no, she’s in rude health, going to live to a hundred she is. That won’t do at all.
Welp, suppose you’ll have to kill her. “But I’m not a murderer! I couldn’t possibly kill her in cold blood!” Could always hire someone. “No! That won’t do at all!” Well all right then. If you’re not going to kill her, how else will you be rid of her?
Well, you know, you could always leave your wife, then you wouldn’t have a mother-in-law at all, you’d be rid of her that way. “But I love my wife! I love my children, I won’t do that! I wouldn’t break up my family just to be rid of my mother-in-law!”** Well it’s that or murder her. I mean, you voted.
“Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. It’s not worth it just to be rid of my mother-in-law.” Ah, but that’s what you chose. You can’t reconsider it now, to go back on that decision would be to blaspheme the sanctity of the decision-making process and destroy the fabric of society. You have to do away with your mother-in-law or democracy itself is meaningless.
You see where this is headed?
It’s like Star Trek, and the referendum is the illogical question that Captain Cameron put to the democracy super-computer, and now it’s smoking and sparking and barking out “ERROR, ERROR, CANNOT COMPUTE.” You can chuck Theresa May out the window (and good riddance), you can have a new prime minister, you can call a general election and set the world on tilt (and probably wind up with some sort of coalition government that has the Brexit party as either a constituent or the leading force of the opposition), but it comes down to the same three options: leave with a deal and live with the consequences, leave with no deal and face chaos (and possibly the end of the United Kingdom), or pull the plug on a bad idea and face the consequences of “subverting the will of the people” (as expressed in a nebulous referendum rife with dodgy external influences). There is no door number four unless you’re willing to wait for the mother-in-law to die and hope nobody forces the issue, and there’s a large (but still not a majority) proportion of the British electorate clamoring for someone to pull the trigger right now.
Rock, paper, scissors. The only way to solve it is by making it a decision between two options rather than three, but since nobody knows how to make “a deal” into “the deal”, nobody knows how to sanely reduce it to only two.
**(And in this analogy, the wife is actually the EU and the kids are Scotland and Northern Ireland, and guess who’s getting the kids in the divorce.)