Rupert Macey-Dare, University of Oxford, Saint Cross College; Middle Temple, Minerva Chambers; has published No Deal Brexit and the Wicker Man Strategy. Here is the abstract.
In 1973, shortly after the UK's accession to the Common Market (later the European Union), British Lion Films unleashed singular British cult folk-horror classic: the Wicker Man, whose enigmatic themes have puzzled audiences to this day. In Shaffer and Hardy's Wicker Man, Edward Woodward playing Sergeant Neil Howie, is the lone force of rationality, law and order in a race against time to rescue potential human sacrificial victim Rowan MacGregor from retro pagan inhabitants of the agricultural offshore island of Summerisle. These in turn are led, mesmerized by their laird Lord Summerisle, in a performance hammed up to perfection by Christopher Lee. As the clock runs down to sacrifice day, Sergeant Howie's progressively more animated attempts to avert the imminent crime and rescue Rowan only serve to deliver him instead to the designated trap and ritual immolation in the iconic Wicker Man pyre (interestingly an ancient European punishment originally described by Julius Caesar). Roll the clock forward 46 years from the film, and some may see aspects of the Wicker Man strategy being played out by canny Brexiteers in the current Brexit debate, with prime minister Johnson giving his own masterful interpretation of a demented Lord Summerisle. The legal default position is No Deal Brexit on 31st October 2019, but Johnson argues that he can get a satisfactory Brexit deal through in time, if given a parliamentary free hand. Meanwhile Remainer parliamentary campaigners rush, plan and plot to force Johnson's hand and avert a No Deal Brexit outcome at the 11th hour, and the European Union and European political leaders stick to their hold-up demands on the Northern Island backstop. In doing so the Remainer leaders and European Union may inadvertently be being guided into position to take all the political blame for the No Deal Brexit, when no deal was actually ever really intended. New prime minister Boris Johnson famously quipped that it's time to hear the British Lion roar again. But this may mean the crackle of the reputational flames around whoever else gets blamed for No Deal Brexit- whoever ends up in the No Deal Brexit Wicker Man.The full text is not available for download from SSRN.