Another week, more uproar in Parliament. The House of Commons is a lively place at the calmest of times, but some of the language and behaviour now becoming routine is concerning. Verbal sparring is spilling into abuse. Scuffles, however minor, are not part of our political culture.
All of this confirms what many of us have been saying for some time – we have to draw a line under this saga. The longer this drags on, the more strain our democracy and constitution is put under. Old certainties start to fragment.
That’s why, as I was saying to a group of residents in Pittville Park on Tuesday night, getting a moderate, compromise deal is the best way through this. A second referendum would be a divisive and pointless disaster, not as one Westminster leader has admitted she would refuse to accept the result if she didn’t agree with the winning side.
The penny is starting to drop with MPs on all sides who opposed compromises in the past. This week, around thirty Labour MPs, as well as respected Lib Dem Sir Norman Lamb indicated they would now vote for a deal. They recognise that this could be the last chance for the centre in British politics to hold – or the vacuum risks being filled by more extreme voices.
I believe there is a chink of light. The Irish Government is now actively engaging with the British Government on amendments to the backstop, which could include all-Ireland arrangements covering agriculture and phytosanitary products. Given that the French seem unlikely to grant the UK an extension, there is now the strongest possible incentive on all sides to reach a compromise before the Council meeting on 17 October.
A deal which delivers on the will of the people whilst protecting jobs and livelihoods, is a prize we should seize with both hands.