The Portuguese literary giant of the twentieth century, Jose Saramago, wrote a delightful, surreal and fantastical novel in the 1980s called The Stone Raft. It tells the story of a strange occurrence in the Pyrenees along the Franco-Spanish border when a breach opens up in the ground and the whole Iberian Peninsula physically breaks away from the rest of Europe and floats off westward into the Atlantic on a collision course with the Azores and the Americas. Chaos ensues as the authorities, bureaucrats and ordinary people in Spain and Portugal try to come to terms with their new and changing reality. It is an exceptionally entertaining and well-written fantasy.
Brexit on the other hand, is not a fantasy, but rather an unfolding reality with the prospect of a no-deal outcome with just two and half months to go to the October 31st 2019 exit date having risen significantly with the replacement of Theresa May by Boris Johnson at the head of the British government. However, while the United Kingdom may leave the European Union, with or without a deal, unlike Iberia in Saramago’s fiction, Britain can never leave Europe geographically. It will always be there, right where it is now, with France to the south, Ireland to the west and the Low Counties and the North Sea to the east and north.