By default, without a majority for anything, we leave the EU without a deal. This is a Bad Thing.
(None of this is new, it's been the state since since May invoked Article 50.)
Boris Johnson knows that there is a majority in parliament against No Deal, so he tried to lock the doors and prevent parliament from stopping him getting No Deal. Instead, he pushed people opposed far enough that they passed a bill saying "If you can't get a deal by the 19th of October you have to ask for an extension".
The intention is then to have a general election. Or, at least, the Conservatives want one now, to the point of calling Corbyn a chicken for not giving in to a painfully transparent ploy. The reason for this is that if there is a general election then (a) parliament shuts and (b) Johnson hopes to be returned with a greater majority. (b) is up for grabs. The polls show the Conservatives doing well right now (or, at least, Labour doing very badly), but they looked much the same before the last general election too, and that didn't end up well for May. (a) is what desperately needs to be avoided - because if parliament is shut then MPs can't respond to whatever shit Johnson pulls next.
For some reason, this law doesn't say we want an extension "To have an election", despite this being what is clearly going to happen. With the result the French are saying "We won't give you an extension for no reason.".
Which seems to include refusing to follow the law, and possibly going to prison for doing so. They've also said they would obey the law, while not asking for an extension, and fuck knows what _that_ means.
The question, at which point, is whether there can be a Vote of No Confidence, followed by a Vote of Confidence (which is the process for switching governments without an election) in a Government of National Unity can happen before we run out of time to get an extension.
To sum up:
1) Parliament has passed a law making it clear that No Deal is out of the question.
2) The government has threatened to ignore this law.
3) At which point avoiding disaster depends on whether a Government of National Unity can be formed fast enough to prevent No Deal.
1) The Conservative Party leadership are mostly terrified of their voters going to the Brexit Party. Under a better voting system this would merely be "bad news" rather than "completely apocalyptic". Under First Past The Post a 10% swing can lose you a nearly all of your seats, rather than reducing your percentage of all the seats by 10%. If we had AV (or, even better, AMS or STV) this would be much less bad. Heck, David Cameron probably wouldn't have promised a referendum at all if he hadn't been so scared of a chunk of Conservatives voters going to UKIP back in 2015.
2) The government threatening to break the law is one of those things that is a sign that Everything Is Broken. Frankly, it has been clearer and clearer as we've gone through this process that our lack of a well thought-through constitution is causing a lot of problems. In a sensible country the government wouldn't just be able to shut parliament for five weeks! So much has fallen on to "Here's the convention, and no decent person would break convention", and doesn't cope at all well with people who are willing to burn down everything to get what they want.
3) There still seem to be politicians out there who think that there's a deal with the EU that can get a majority through parliament. And at this point that's so clearly nonsense that I wonder what's going on with them. There's either going to be No Deal or Revocation, as far as I can see. And the only way out of _that_ is either for the Conservatives to get a majority that will push through No Deal, or for there to be a referendum. Which it looks like Revoke would win (according to all of the data I'm seeing, by about 5%) but obviously you can't rely on that.
4) Farage is offering Johnson a deal, if Johnson puts No Deal in the Conservative Manifesto. But that would undoubtedly push some Conservative voters away, while getting some back from the Brexit Party. I'm not sure if that would actually be helpful to Johnson or not!
5) As usual let me know if I've missed anything, or gotten anything wrong.
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.