I may not have been blogging every day these last two weeks but I’m quite proud of the fact I haven’t mentioned Brexit once during that time, well, not since the 2nd March. How often can you relive Groundhog Day? The only thing that seems to be changing is everyone’s general level of exasperation. But never fear! According to the Bishop on Thought For The Day this morning, what’s happening now is just a normal part of the natural functioning of democracy, and it’s just a question of being patient with our politicians. To a certain degree, I agree. Especially when the politicians have been presented with a sharpened stick which they are then asked to stick up a certain orifice . . . a crude analogy but it suffices.
Westminster and Whitehall are in turmoil, and like the public at large people seem ever more locked into immutable positions. They’re taking their lead from Theresa May of course, who if she can’t get her way must go down as a martyr. I wonder about the quality of the debate within the Commons. Putting to one side the jeering and point scoring, most MPs if they get a chance to contribute to a ‘debate’ will just read from prepared speeches and are obliged only to remain in the chamber to hear the speech of whoever comes after them. Prepared speeches were once considered a no-no but now they are the norm. The objection to coming with prepared speeches is that they pre-empt the idea of genuine debate, where you listen to the other side and respond to it. These days your allotted time is better spent making the points you want to see repeated in the local press or on your blog, or carved for all time into the great monument to democracy which is called Hansard.
Some MPs, who class themselves as orators, manage without notes or written speeches, but they will have nevertheless memorised their points and whilst speaking won’t want to be put off their stride. Sometimes they will want to make the same point over and over as if they were making different points. Such ‘orators’ could be the most automaton-like. John Redwood comes to mind. And what was it they said of Neil Kinnock, why use one word when three will do? Is this a glass, a beaker, a receptacle I see before me?!
The dynamics of the Commons generally precludes cross-party working (except in Select Committees where often a consensus will be reached that the government of the day is doing a crap job). One wonders why in the situation we are in now why more effort isn’t being made to achieve cross-party consensus. I realise that some alliances have been built, and of course there is the magnificent ‘Funny Tinge Group’ – but that largely came into being for an entirely different reason. I suppose (at the end of the day) Corbyn quite rightly doesn’t want to throw a lifeline to a hopelessly skewered Prime Minister. So roll on a general election.