Even veterans of British politics say they have known nothing like it, so highly charged is the atmosphere inside and outside parliament, so deafening and ubiquitous the noise, so impassioned and uninhibited the arguments. It is hard to believe that MPs have been back in Westminster only a few days since the festive break.
In becoming fixated on individuals and points of procedure, however, there is a risk that the big picture loses focus. And the big picture – the whole reason why tensions are running so high – is that next Tuesday, or if not Tuesday then sometime before 29 March, the future of the UK will be decided. The process set in train by the June 2016 referendum will reach its conclusion. And no one knows – let’s be honest – how it is going to end: deal or no deal, “people’s referendum”, “snap” general election, “government of national unity”. We are sailing into uncharted waters, towards terra incognita.
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