3 years ago, it was 2016. David Cameron was prime minister and he was shouting at Jeremy Corbyn for not wearing a tie properly. It was serious stuff.
That the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition could appear at the dispatch box so casually, was cause for much heated debate. On one side, people bemoaned Corbyn’s tawdry appearance as a metaphor for the state of the nation; On the other, it was more about “where you’re at, not what you’re wearing.”
Well, just as we were all getting settled into a high minded debate about these important issues, almost totally out of the blue, “Call Me Dave” decided to call something known as a “referendum” to defend his government’s tenuous grasp on power from the ever growing purple faced farce that was UKIP, and it backfired, spectacularly.
Or did it?
You see, there’s a theory that suggests that everything that can happen, does happen. Every junction in reality creates more realities, as every possibility is realised in different, parallel timelines. Billions upon billions, infinite universes, each one as valid and real as all the others, as ours. Every decision anyone makes – or doesn’t make – becomes reality in some other universe, like a tangential fractal, beyond perception, infinite universes all different to the one that we exist inside, each creating billions of different realities every microsecond. Fascinating, terrifying, maybe even comforting to some – perhaps you aren’t such a loser after all, because there’s a universe out there where you’re awesome and everyone loves you.
Some of these universes are very similar – your car might be blue instead of red, or you might prefer a straight mocha to a macchiato. But some are very different indeed. Think of any possible scenario and there’s a universe where that happened, or is happening. There’s a universe where the Romans were never truly threatened by anyone, and the entire world is one gigantic, glorious, hideous Roman Empire. There’s a universe where the Normans lost the battle of Hastings and we all still speak Anglo Saxon. There’s a universe where Elvis is still alive. There’s even a universe where Ed Milliband is the most successful British politician of all time. You get the idea – anything is possible. Anything that can happen, does happen, and this is never truer than within the concept of that currently omnipresent portmanteau, Brexit.
Imagine 2 tiny particles. They are twins, but one is always doing the opposite of the other. One is in a certain state, let’s call it “up”, and therefore the other is in a state of “down.” It doesn’t matter where these twins are in relation to each other, they could be next to each other, they could be on the other side of the galaxy, it doesn’t matter. When one is up, the other will be down.
Always. This is called quantum entanglement, and it’s one of the fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics. That it has actually been proven is not only mind-bendingly freaky, but also blindingly obvious. I mean, why shouldn’t every possible action have a subsequent reaction? Don’t ask how it works though, because nobody really knows.
So now it’s 2019. Jeremy Corbyn has reacted to Dave and is wearing a proper suit. His tie is done up too. He’s won 3 leadership elections, is the head of the largest political party, by membership, in Europe, and he’s even done a gig on the main stage at Glastonbury. He’s a political rock star, and now he’s facing the most difficult gig of his life – balancing that fine line between his core voters who voted to leave, those who voted remain, the parliamentary Labour Party who want a second referendum in the hope of overturning the result of the first, and his own ambivalent (but really we know antagonistic) feelings towards the EU. It’s difficult, but he’ll be ok, because Corbyn obviously knows about quantum entanglement, and his plan is to wait, calmly, until the chaos opposite him burns itself to cinders.
Quantum theory is based on a principle called “particle wave theory” which essentially says that at a macro-universal scale, things exist both as particles and waves – light being a good example. A particle can appear in two places simultaneously (Jeremy Corbyn), disappear completely (David Cameron) or instantly flip out to the other side of the universe (UKIP).
Many MPs have found themselves in a particle wave state called the Duality Paradox. For example: They voted Remain but their constituencies overwhelmingly voted Leave. Theresa May exists in this state too. She’s determined to deliver Brexit even though she doesn’t really want it to happen. Another good example of this is Dominic Raab, the most recent (at time of writing) Brexit secretary to resign. Not long ago, he voted to back an amendment which he originally resigned over in order to vote against. At a quantum level, logic doesn’t care about making sense and has gone off to get blind drunk.
It’s easy, therefore, to apply these basic ideas of quantum mechanics to Brexit, because Brexit doesn’t care about making sense either. The end result of all this, is that probability takes over, and outcomes are generally predicted based on the relative likelihood of them happening.
Of course, what’s possible isn’t always the most likely, and what’s most likely isn’t always possible. For example, it’s possible that parliament could vote to revoke article 50 entirely, but it isn’t very likely. Conversely, it’s likely that we could leave the EU without a plan or a deal, but how that would be possible in reality is anybody’s guess. This is Brexit in a quantum nutshell. The Brexit particle wants to exist in the quantum field on its own but has actually become two distinctly separate ones. One Brexit particle being a “no deal” particle and the other a “revoke” particle. Classic quantum entanglement, you see, and this ultimately means that somewhere, in another universe, the referendum result was overwhelmingly Remain, and Cameron’s gamble paid off. Everyone is just carrying on with their lives in a happy state of coexistence. Someone, somewhere in that universe, is thinking “Wow, there must be a universe where it backfired on him and everything went absolutely batshit crazy, and nobody knows what the hell is going on, and it’s just bloody awful.”
And that universe is ours.