Rewind to 1642 and a time of civil war

Date: Monday 9th September 2019

NEVER in a lifetime of intense interest in politics, including activism, elected office and teaching government and politics, have I ever seen anything as unfathomably bizarre as the events we are being forced to witness and endure this week.

The politics books on my shelves are now meaningless but, as always, the history books are not.

We are back in 1642 with a civil war, though thankfully without the shooting, threatening to tear this unhappy realm to pieces. No resolution will now satisfy the entrenched attitudes which are being stoked by both sides to further their own political agendas and ambitions. Whatever happens now this nation may never recover from this schism.

Charles I closed Parliament and tried to arrest members who opposed him. Even Boris Johnson cannot summon troopers to do his bidding, though I suspect he would have liked to, so instead he has thrown men and women of conscience out of his party, including the Member for Penrith and the Border, Rory Stewart.

There will be many in this constituency who may feel that their MP has betrayed them and their party. Before they rush to condemn they might consider why a Prime Minister and his Government which began Tuesday morning with a parliamentary majority of one and facing a rebellion by a number of their own MPs, including many former cabinet members, offered them nothing to change their position but threats.

The logical response would surely have been to reveal to those Honourable and Right Honourable members, and I use the word honourable in its true sense, the Government’s offer of the deal it claims it is negotiating with Brussels and which, it also claims, is making positive progress.

The fact that it did not speaks volumes, and it speaks volumes about the honesty and integrity of this Prime Minister. There is no deal, just naked, bullying ambition which, overriding all logic, common sense and simple arithmetic, sees the Government calling for a general election which, by its own hand, it will enter on a count of minus 21.

BRIAN NICHOLLS

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