Monday, 21 January 2019


Wonderful word. It’s in ‘Paradise Lost’ and means “place of demons”.

Today it describes a situation where there’s a lot of noise and confusion because people are excited, angry or frightened.

And that’s where we are.

Three things happened in my week. The first when a American friend wrote to me supposing I knew what was going on: 

"I’m sure I’m over-simplifying but surely there’s only two courses of action now ? If we accept that the E.U. will NOT allow time for negotiation (despite Corbyn thinking he can finesse it) only for a second referendum. The steps are:

1. A second referendum or (which will drive some Leavers crazy) or
2. Exiting without a deal. 

Doesn’t that lead us to the sensible option of # 1 - rather than the suicidal option of # 2 ?"

My reply can’t have pleased him and it certainly didn’t please me but the unremitting contretemps led me to say:

"Sorry,  I hope you’re sitting down.

The trouble with a Second Referendum is it actually takes ages to arrange –probably 7 months. Too long for the current situation. And I doubt if it solves any of the deep problems.

Because there are no easy answers to this at all. May’s deal was actually fine because it was EU approved but it was badly sold and presented. Instead, since it cannot be easily presented again, we are into playing political games. But… 

There is no majority for anything.

Cross party agreements won’t easily work - look at the people involved!

The EU won’t give way.

The hard extremes of all parties are implacable and getting more implacable.

Sometimes you just have to tell the patient there is nothing you can do and that they are going to die.

No deal is not an option now. It’s the political reality."

The second thing happened a day later on Question Time in Derby. In the middle of a heated debate Fiona Bruce turned to Isabel Oakeshott (author, journalist and Brexiteer) and asked if she had a solution to the impasse. She replied:

“Well actually I do. Given where we are the only solution I can see is to walk away and have a no-deal exit.” 

The audience reaction was remarkable as they rose to their feet cheering. Jeremy Corbyn are you listening?  Two out of the three Derbyshire seats are held by Labour.

The third thing that happened was a friend wrote to me praising the courteous, good humoured and adept way the Speaker John Bercow had handled the debate. I replied saying I thought he had stepped outside his brief and had gone potty. When my friend deferred to me, mildly saying “I probably knew more than they did” I took stock.

I actually think they were a bit more in tune than me having been watching Parliament TV. Anyway the point wasn’t about who was right or wrong. It was about having a courteous debate.

Unlike Westminster where they’re embracing disruption leading to…


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