Express & Star comment: A torrid time for politics
It is a torrid time for our politicians – and the shambles that currently envelopes the House of Commons is entirely of their own making.
Three long years of increasingly bitter debate have brought us here, but despite all the bickering and finger pointing, Brexit appears no closer to being delivered.
It comes to something when the Chancellor’s statement on the Government’s spending plans went by with barely a whimper.
This in the week in which a television programme aired entitled ‘Why Are Our Politicians So Crap?’, and Boris Johnson referred to the Leader of the Opposition as “a big girl’s blouse” during PMQs.
There is no doubt about it, the future for both of our main political parties is now looking decidedly bleak indeed.
For the Tories, divisions over Brexit have resulted in open warfare.
Mr Johnson’s decision to dump 21 MPs for opposing a no-deal departure will, we can presume, allow local associations to fill the breach with Brexiteers.
But is this a positive move for the party in the long run?
Among those to have the whip withdrawn are former chancellors, secretaries of state and the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Nicholas Soames.
West Midlands MP Margot James – an outstanding constituency MP who until recently was widely considered to be one of the party’s rising stars – is another who will not be allowed to stand as a Tory at the next election now.
A wealth of quality and experience is being cast aside purely for party political purposes, the irony being, of course, that the majority of those who are being turfed out have backed the withdrawal agreement each time it has gone before the Commons.
Mr Johnson, who now has no majority in the House, has already started to give the impression that he is moving from one desperate measure to another in his efforts to drive through Brexit.
He says he is making progress in talks with the EU, a claim that many – including negotiators in Brussels – have been quick to dismiss.
If the Prime Minister has a coherent plan to deliver Brexit, he’s doing a very good job of hiding it.
As for Labour, it is hard not to despair at the dark road that the party continues to hurtle down under Jeremy Corbyn.
He spent the early part of the week struggling to articulate whether or not he wanted an election.
Now he has voted against having a poll, despite demanding one for the last two years.
He has failed to put forward a cogent Brexit policy and failed to get to grips with his party’s long-running anti-Semitism scandal.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have always thrived on dissenting voices, on appealing to a range of members who find common ground despite their differences of opinion.
Those days have gone, taking with them the spirit of compromise that has graced our politics for decades.
This move towards extremes may well herald the death of the two-party system in this country.
But without MPs who are willing to make concessions, it is hard to see how the issue of Brexit will ever be solved.
Meanwhile the public looks on in dismay, with many people left wondering whether our Parliament will ever be capable of delivering on the result of the EU referendum.
It is, quite frankly, a disgraceful state of affairs.
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