It seems to be an article of faith among most MPs that Britain cannot leave the EU with no deal. This is presented as an unthinkable disaster which cannot be allowed to happen.
The question is why. For it has become clear that the apocalyptic no-deal scenarios have been much exaggerated.
The reasonable conclusion should surely be that, while problems are inevitable, the country can weather leaving without a deal and that whatever the short-term difficulties, these are outweighed by the greater good. So why is it instead unthinkable?
The answer is surely that no-deal is the real deal. It’s the only way in which the UK really will free itself from the EU — the outcome that Remainer MPs believe reverses the laws of nature and must be stopped.
Aware of the fury, some Remainers protest that they are just as patriotic as any Brexiteer. Well, people love different ideas of what their country is. But, by definition, Remainers don’t love it as an independent nation.
What many seem to love instead is a country they assumed had repudiated the very idea of an independent nation. This viewpoint, associated with profound cultural demoralisation, has broadly been the orthodoxy of our political and intellectual classes for more than half a century.
The referendum was the first time that the people were able to reject that orthodoxy. A flame was lit that day, and some of us dared hope that there was at least a chance that Britain would restore its sense of purpose as a beacon of freedom and independence.
As MPs prepare their final onslaught against the law under which the UK is due to leave the EU this Friday — a law they themselves passed — we are watching that flame gutter and die. And for many of us, that is just unbearable.
To read my whole Times column (£) please click here.