So that’s it, then. After nearly four years of wrangling, political upset, two PMs losing their jobs, and a Nation split, sometimes even a family split over the issue; it all came to an end last evening, when a burly clerk in white tie and tails ceremonially carried a bundle of papers wrapped in a pink ribbon from the Commons up to the Lords (would not be so easy if they were moved to York) signifying the will of the Commons. After some debate, the Lord Speaker enquired politely if any of their Lordships were ‘not content’. There being none, we left the EU. Phew!
I personally believe that we have done the right thing and left what is becoming an increasingly defunct organisation. But I am also aware that historians a hundred years from now may well conclude that I was wrong, and that the Remainers were in fact right all along. None of us has a monopoly on correctness.
So I rather welcome the low key way that we did it- observing the Parliamentary niceties, and without any hint of triumphalism. Of course, I personally will raise a glass of champagne at 11pm next Friday. I have disliked the EU for forty years since I voted against joining in the first place. I am glad to be leaving, and strongly believe it will be to the great advantage of Britain and Britons.
Yet there is nothing nastier than told-you-so triumphalism. Now is the time for the Nation to come together. For Remainers to become Reluctant acceptors; for Brexiteers to lay down their weapons, and for the Nation to drive forward together.
Parliament certainly feels that way. A feeling of peace, of consensus has settled over us. The new Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has played a key role in calming tempers and returning Parliamentary debate, PMQs and the rest it to how they should always have been - civilised and intelligent discussion of the great issues of the day. The protestors in Parliament Square have all gone home, the tented village of media on College Green has been dismantled, the green handed back to the pigeons. The acrimony and personal rudeness of the last four years has gone to be replaced by the traditional courtesies.
And if we can do all that in this hotbed, this cockpit of political acrimony and debate, so must it be throughout our great nation. Now is the time to put the past behind us and get ahead with the real business of running a better Britain…