A similarly pressing worry, though, is this government's lack of concern for irreconcilable division amongst the wider voting public. This from Chris Grey is insightful:
"Perhaps the most important reason why it is inane to expect remainers to ‘get behind’ Brexit is the way that the government has quite deliberately chosen a path which treats remainers with contempt. One might have thought that the leaderly thing to do after so divisive a period would have been to seek to bring the two sides together, and to reach out to the losing remain side - a group which includes most business leaders, professionals and what might diffusely be called the intelligentsia and which numbers almost half of those who voted in the referendum."
I think he is correct. His blog approaches Brexit from a different angle to mine and that particular post calls on Remainers to resist an exit from the EU at all costs. The highlighted quote above is not itself an argument for remaining, but it does draw attention to the lack of inclusivity with which the government has approached its exit strategy. Brexit, remember, is not an event. It is a process. By definition it must be a part of something bigger. An EU exit by itself, with no complimentary domestic or international action, is largely pointless and will mean wasted opportunity.
One critique I have always had of large numbers of Brexiteers is their annoying habit of treating Brexit like some sort of personal plaything. Many forget that EU withdrawal is a national effort with consequences for the nation. They prefer to dismiss scrutiny and reasonable criticism as mere obstruction and frustration of the people's will. I particularly dislike the term 'remoaner', which appears to have taken on a life of its own and serves only to dismiss and belittle individuals who use their democratic right to express diverging viewpoints. Brexit voters, of anybody, ought to recognise the value in democracy. No longer do I have any patience or time for soundbites and namecalling. It was fun during the referendum campaign, now it merely distracts from the seriousness of wandering hopelessly through the Article 50 period.
The referendum result was not a hammering. It never was going to be. 48% of the public opted to remain in the European Union, and I suspect that figure is still somewhere similar now. Many such people will be frequent travellers, either for business or personal reasons, drivers and shippers involved in cross-border transportation of goods or recipients of funding for EU-related initiatives. There are livelihoods on the line and such importance clearly transcends the need for mockery and narrow mindedness. That referendum divide will likely never disappear, one way or the other. This is why leaving in the right manner is so vital to national interests.
It is not just the question of Brexit which promotes internal division in the UK. The question of participation within the Single Market also has profound electoral implications. Though EFTA EEA is about so much more than just compromise, it is the best way of healing a fractured, possibly frightened population. It respects the mandate provided by the referendum and takes into account the economic concerns of almost half of the country (and perhaps a large number of Leavers). Most Remainers don't care too much for ever closer union, they were just understandably unnerved by the prospect of stunted trade flow and a possible recession.
Equally, most Leavers aren't especially interested in the trading terms provided by the Single Market. They care largely about immigration, which can be unilaterally halted under Article 112 of the EEA Agreement, unlike within the EU where such an action requires unanimity. The EEA is imperfect and needs reform, but one major benefit of pursuing it is the calming effect it could have on economic instability, expats and immigrants and the voting public, who are likely to use the Single Market as an indicator of who to vote for at the next election. Stability needs to be the name of the game for the foreseeable future.
We have a responsibility to listen to people with concerns and promote domestic peace. If Brexit is not pragmatic then it has no future. Any pig's ear made of these negotiations will come back to haunt Leavers, as support for re-entry into the European Union will fester once more.