Only a rupture with the EU will alter the failed status quo | Larry Elliott

It’s not plausible that either Brexit in name only or no exit at all can lead to radical reform of our broken system

The pound rose, and all was calm on the stock market. As far as the financial markets were concerned, the message was clear: the voting down by MPs of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement means a delayed Brexit, a softer Brexit or perhaps no Brexit at all. Those with serious wealth in Britain have always been worried that Brexit will lead to radical change. They now think that there will be a perpetuation of the status quo – or something not far removed from it. Hence the pound getting stronger.

There’s no question that opting for the quiet life has its attractions. There would be a boost to the economy as companies decided to push ahead with investment plans that had been delayed while the outcome of Brexit was uncertain. And, of course, any economic costs of no deal would be avoided.

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