How did we get here?

Richard Cable has a tweet thread on the horrible set of co-incidences that brought us to the current situation.

This Brexit business is a marvel. Genuinely. It’s borderline miraculous. Bear with me. 1/

As a culture, we focus on those finely balanced moments when, against all odds, the stars align perfectly and great things are achieved. You know, Miracle on the Hudson type stuff. 2/

We tend to ignore those equally rare moments when it goes completely the other way and events and people conspire perfectly to turn everything to utter shit. 3/

The conspiracy of circumstances that has led us to this moment is just so wildly improbable, you could probably live multiple lifetimes and never see something like it again. It’s a unicorn riding through a blue moon on Halley’s comet. 4/

The whole show is kicked off by a Conservative PM doing what Conservative PMs never do – take wild gambles. Clue is in the title. 5/

Followed by an exercise in direct democracy, which we hardly ever do, in which a nation collectively overcomes the insanely powerful status quo bias to vote leave. 6/

With a technically decisive margin of victory that is just small enough to be psychologically and emotionally anything but decisive. 7/

The person chosen to implement the deal didn’t actually vote for it. Instead, we get a deeply weird politician whose truncated imagination is only matched by her utter intransigence. When history called for a great conciliator it gave us Theresa May. 8/

Who then did what, until recently, Conservative PMs never do – took a wild gamble and threw away her majority, placing the whole nation in hock to the most reactionary, one-eyed, uncompromising headbangers in British politics, the DUP. 9/

Which simultaneously created an intractable problem over the Irish border that a British govt with a healthy majority would have breezed past, in that typically high-handed and dismissive way the English have always dealt with the Irish. I’m not saying this is a good thing. 10/

Meanwhile, across the chamber you have Corbyn, a leader of the opposition who refuses to lead the opposition, but can’t be removed because last time they tried they botched it so badly, they basically made him leader for life. 11/

As all this unfolds, the EU plays its hand with the same uncompromising, dead-eyed rigidity that helped precipitate Brexit in the first place. A classic and unequal clash of homegrown pragmatism and continental ideology. There’s a reason we don’t do written constitutions. 12/

As a sidebar, this simultaneously delegitimises any and all valid criticism of the EU, kicking any chance of desperately needed reform into the longest of long grass. Don’t worry, I’m sure this won’t come back to haunt us. 13/

So an isolated rump govt negotiates a deal that cannot pass and cannot be renegotiated, in the knowledge that they cannot be replaced because the only thing worse than the current calamity is Corbyn as PM 14/

And with Parliament almost perfectly deadlocked, we’ve blundered into a situation where we’re barrelling towards a choice between civil war, economic disaster and all points in between 15/

The upshot is that we have with two party leaders who command nobody’s confidence but can’t be removed, fighting over a deal that nobody wants but has to be made, against a deadline that nobody can meet but everyone is insisting upon. Like I said, it’s a bloody marvel. 16/