No matter what happens now with Brexit, everybody loses

Terrific, perceptive Guardian column by Rafael Behr:

The people’s vote campaign often gets the argument about how to keep EU membership and whether to do so the wrong way round. Anyone who wants a second poll already hates Brexit. People who liked Brexit in 2016 but think it might have gone sour need something more positive to believe in than parliamentary process and referendums. The pitch has to open with the image of a happier, confident Britain, relieved of the grinding burden of endless Brexit bickering, taking its rightful seat at the top table of continental power, ready to lead. If enough people think that is the country we want to be, the case for a public vote makes itself as the way to get there.

That doesn’t mean everyone should learn the Ode to Joy and paint their face blue. It does mean that remainers must challenge the conventional wisdom that British voters are culturally immune to pro-EU arguments. There are too many MPs waiting for the architects of Brexit to soil themselves so thoroughly in absurdity and paranoia that their cause is ruined and their ideas discredited forever. But the humbling of leavers and the obstruction of their plans is not all good for remain. Not if it can be cast as the work of a conspiracy by Brussels, Whitehall and parliament.

Extension to the article 50 period is the most probable next move, which looks like a tactical gain for pro-Europeans. But engineering a situation where Britain’s EU membership survives beyond the original 29 March deadline was the easy part. The hard bit is making it look like a victory for common sense, not a defeat for national pride. Otherwise a setback for leave is no advance for remain. The crisis in British politics is severe enough that both sides can be losing at the same time.

Yep. The crisis is systemic. Even if we had a second Referendum and Remain won, the toxic divisions will continue to fester. And vice versa.