Conversation yesterday with an old school friend now working at the Foreign Office. He said the UK rejoining the EU was an inevitability, everyone in government accepts that but it would probably take around fifteen years and the UK will have to make many compromises.
He said the first step will be rejoining the Customs Union. This is likely to be within the life of the 2025 Parliament and will be followed by the UK accepting EU rules for the single Market - the "Norway option". the excuse will be "pressure from business and industry"
It will require the UK accepting the Euro but many are confident this can be 'sold' to the public as a benefit. Now that the mainstream media is no longer as influential as it once was the task is not as difficult as it might once have been.
The key to influencing opinion it seems is not another binary referendum or set date for rejoining more a gradual reintegration in line with the UK demographics changing as the old Brexiters die off.
I asked about possible Scottish Independence but surprisingly nobody regards that as in any way likely. As he said,
"We are not stupid enough to give them another referendum"