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An incident of breaking news

You have to smile sometimes. Yesterday mid-morning I was out, driving to the shops upon an errand, when I tuned to a radio discussion in which – chaired by the programme host – a guest panel of Leave and Remainer politicians were knocking six bells out of each other in reaction to a ‘breaking news’ development of which (at the time) I knew nothing.

Rusters will have got there before me, of course, so I apologise as I begin for re-heating the current state of play on Brexit.

We have reached a stage in proceedings which everyone knows is ridiculous because, although (as night follows day) there are two sides to every story, any willingness to conduct a sensible discussion seeking out common ground was abandoned about eighteen months ago and we are left reduced to playground exchanges of the “You did!” … “No, I didn’t – you did!” … “No I didn’t!” variety:

To the Remainers’ allegation that they lied during the Referendum campaign, Leavers respond either “No we didn’t”, or “Both sides did”, or even “No political party has ever gone into an election with a manifesto it actually believed in or indeed ever then gone on to deliver upon to the letter, so what’s your problem?”

To “Nobody voted for a no-deal Brexit, or one that would make them worse off …”, Leavers respond “The Referendum question put was ‘Stay or Leave?’ and the electorate voted Leave’ – what part of that binary choice don’t you understand?”

I could go on, but won’t.

Yesterday’s ‘issue of the moment’ on the radio was that of which side’s conduct was the bigger affront to democracy – Leave’s revisiting of the EU Withdrawal Agreement whilst slamming the prospect of a no-deal Brexit back on the negotiating table (under new Premier Boris Johnson) or Remain’s hordes of parliamentarians, who were doing everything they could to thwart the decision of ‘the People’ to leave, by any means at their disposal … and thereby hopefully remain in the EU.

Some ten minutes after ‘joining’ the discussion I was still none the wiser as to the identity of the ‘breaking news’ development that had caused it to take place: what’s more, by then I had parked up beside a parade of shops and was determined to stay with my vehicle until and unless I found out.

The shopping could wait.

Eventually it emerged. Boris had let it be known that he was going to prorogate (or suspend) Parliament until a formal Queen’s Speech on 14th October.

You’d have thought World War Three had broken out, judging by the communal protests of hysteria/outrage dialled up to 11 out of 10 being aired by every Remainer who could get near a microphone.

Barely ten minutes into the BBC1’s News at 1.00pm I had grown bored enough to move on to other things, having gained the impression that our burghers of ‘the Mother of all Parliaments’ were engaged upon little more than an argument over the rules of a parlour game over in which the winning team was that which could find the best procedural device to thwart the goals of the other.

Meanwhile the rest of us were simply trying to get on with our lives.




About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts