People are angry with Parliament of course. I completely get that.
The impasse is maddening when people and businesses need certainty to plan their futures.
In my experience, the MPs I meet, of all parties, are not bad people. By and large they are decent, hardworking, principled representatives who want the best for their country. The problem is, too many find it hard to face up to a basic political truth: if you don’t have the numbers in Parliament to support your particular viewpoint, no amount of iron will and conviction will deliver your ideal outcome.
The most successful politicians recognise that readiness to compromise is not weakness, but a sign of mental strength. Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s 19thcentury iron chancellor, famously said “Politics is the art of the possible”. President Ronald Reagan said to one opponent “I will take half a loaf today, but I will come back for the other half tomorrow.”
And putting this behind us would mean we can start once again to talk our country up. There’s much to celebrate. Employment is at a record high nationally, with Cheltenham’s figures above the national average. The national living wage has gone up to £8.21, and people now don’t have to pay any tax until they earn over £12,500 – putting more money into people’s pockets.
Meanwhile, Forbes business magazine in its survey of over 130 countries, recently concluded that the UK was the best place in the world to set up a business. And respected analysts at the Commonwealth Fund recently ranked our NHS the world's best healthcare system.
We’re going through a tough time as a nation, no doubt. But our fundamentals are strong and our potential is huge. With cool heads we can and will emerge. And when we do, the future for our country will be bright.