The Man Trying to Make Sense of Brexit Is Tired and Would Like to Stop Now


LONDON — By day, Jon Worth works as a communications consultant for European politicians. By rest-of-his-day he makes Brexit flowcharts — 27 versions since January, to be exact.

Brexit has become a tangled, often confusing web of decisions and possible outcomes that change almost daily. It is both the perfect candidate for diagraming what happens next and a Sisyphean task of trying to outline every possibility.

Here’s just a portion of his latest:

“In the beginning people were like, ‘What the hell is he doing?’ and then people were like, ‘Wait, it’s actually a really useful way to understand Brexit,’ ” Mr. Worth said. “And now people ask me, ‘Where’s the next version of the diagram?’”

But he’s exhausted. After more than two dozen updates to his flowchart, he’ll take a break on April 12th, the deadline for Britain to leave if Parliament does not approve Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal — regardless of what is happening with Brexit. He says he can’t keep going at this pace.

[Interested in our Brexit coverage? Join the conversation on April 1, and hear how our reporters in London are tracking these updates.]

Jon WorthCreditClear Europe

Mr. Worth has become a bit of a cult hero among the Brexit flowchart community (if the dozen or so of us that have attempted to make visual sense of Brexit count as a community). He’s admired more for his commitment to keeping up with every Brexit turn than any graphic design sensibility.

Still, he said he has photographic evidence that officials in the British government like his diagrams so much they are printing them out and hanging them up on their walls.

Mr. Worth’s flowcharts also try to do the impossible: assign a likelihood that each Brexit scenario will occur. At this point, he thinks the most likely single outcome is a no-deal Brexit on April 12th.

For those considering entering into the Brexit flowchart game, Mr. Worth has some salient advice: have a clear objective before you start drawing, and think about what you’re trying to achieve.

“My aim is to see Brexit decisions as predictable and see these decisions flow from one to another,” he said.

It is a reasonable, fleeting goal. Now, onto version 28.

“To be honest I kind of hoped we might have had a solution by now,” Mr. Worth said. “But if there’s one thing that’s predictable about Brexit it’s that when you think you’re going to reach a solution, you never do.”



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