Express & Star comment: New lows for MPs in stalemate
Every day that ticks down to the scheduled Brexit departure date, the hysteria levels rise another notch in the House of Commons.
Just when you think they could not get any worse, they have.
Having demanded an immediate return to Westminster, ostensibly motivated by a desire to run the country, they have argued among themselves just as they had done, and now they are bickering among themselves about how they are arguing among themselves, motivated by a desire to score points off each other.
Round and round and round we go.
This is a situation they themselves created by asking the public a question and then being taken by surprise by the answer. Step back a minute from the political ranting and raving – and it has got to that point – and we can see the core issue is Britain’s future trading relationship with our European partners.
What has elevated the current state of affairs to a full-blown crisis is that Brexit is more profound than a mere resetting of our trading arrangements. The undercurrent is of ideology, national identity, governance, democracy, and Britain’s place in the world.
The conduct of Parliament does none of them any credit. The Prime Minister has a responsibility to lead and set the tone with measured language, within the long-established limits of robust political give and take.
His opponents too have a responsibility. They hardly elevate the tone when they describe Boris Johnson as a lying tinpot dictator, give football-style chants of Shame On You, and characterise the pro-Brexit argument as redolent of the rise of fascism in the 1930s.
The Lib Dems’ Brexit slogan included a word which is at best crude and indelicate, but others would consider an obscenity.
And let us not let the Speaker off the hook. All this is happening on his watch. Perceived by many Tory MPs as abandoning impartiality, he has let lots of little things go, and the cumulative effect is a loss of his moral authority. He should be a major part of the solution, but is a part of the problem.
Inside Parliament and without, anger is starting to overtake reason. In the current atmosphere, the chances of our MPs collectively reaching any agreement on virtually anything look distant.