Boris Johnson managed the impossible: To increase even more the chaos Britain finds itself in. If only I could make a wish regarding the things to happen during the next weeks….
I would beg the patriots from all British parties to do everything possible to avoid a short and highly emotional election campaign at this point. Such a campaign will necessarily tear the country further apart. Even more, it cannot lead to a final decision, because Boris Johnson will promote a no-deal Brexit as an act of heroism, while it in fact would lead to a huge defeat and national embarrassment.
Instead, I would ask the most experienced people from all parties interested to form a government of unity, leading the country until next summer and giving all political parties a chance to adjust their programmes to reality before a national election. For the meantime, they should agree on a joint plan basically accepting the current situation in all its ambiguity and seeking to gain control of affairs again.
Such a plan could mean to ask the EU to replace the current version of the backstop by the one previously suggested by Barnier, which would leave only Northern Ireland inside the European customs area in case the UK and the EU fail to agree on their future relations throughout the next years. This option could be amended by some of the ideas for a “smart border” prepared by the Johnson government – as these ideas can far better be implemented in the Northern Irish harbours anyway.
If the agreement with the EU went into force like that, citizens and businesses could rely on stable conditions for the next 2 – 4 years. Britain would be outside the Union but inside the market. A British government willing to do so could actively try to establish better trade relations with the rest of the world than the country currently enjoys as part of the EU. And it could start negotiating the future relations of the UK (or parts of it) with the Union based on facts and on the real interest of the British.
The debates in Britain could finally turn to constructive suggestions how to position the country in the international system. And this orientation could help to return to responsible political parties and institutions, based on initiatives by the now highly politicised citizenry. British democracy would gain up to four years to re-invent itself, before finally defining its future role in Europe.