Was there ever a time when we believed in the integrity and downright decency of our politicians ? For sure, there have been plenty of instances when we have looked scornfully at individual behaviours, but have we actually a precedent for viewing political conduct in the way we seemingly do today ? Bristling Brock does not really know the answer to those questions but it is striking that our collective national faith in government and its wider reach of governance appears to have reached an all-time low, a low that has stirred the wrath of a divided land over the subject of Brexit.
Perhaps the immediate response to those issues is that, yes, we as a nation have now such a low regard for the political class that we are reciprocating the contempt that they have collectively - government, parliament and opposition party's, the civil service - shown toward the public and the electorate since the debacle of Brexit leapt into our consciousness. Yet Brexit is more likely the tip of a bigger iceberg. It is the name and the process that touches everyone in the country now but it is that little blanket of snow that conceals the more rugged mountain of dissatisfaction that we as a nation have developed over, say, the last decade or so. We might fancifully argue that politicians in the 'old days' were steeped in honesty, decency and integrity; clearly they were not, as history has demonstrated, but something has changed for us to collectively adopt the negative opinion of the political class that pervades our thinking now. Not only is the general opinion negative, it is now imbued with a passion, an opinion and a sense of partisan division that splits us as a nation into a variety of political camp thinking.
It is popular these days to blame someone for everything. It is never 'our' fault, it is always someone else's fault. That is a cynical comment, perhaps, but where politics is concerned it has a ring of accuracy about it. And that accuracy derives from the evidence we have of our governance - a governance which is ably emphasised by the attrocious mismanagement of the Brexit process. What our government have unwittingly unleashed - through their inept handling of Brexit at every level - is a Pandora's Box window upon the very institutional, traditional and status quo oriented mechanisms of Whitehall and Westminster. To the wider public this window gives view to the rottenness of government, the self-serving interest of the political party system and the complete disconnect between these delusional actors and the realities of public opinion. Now we can equally argue that public opinion should not always be taken at face value, for, if we are truly honest, most of the public have a very narrow and pre-positioned outlook upon our political and national activity; they are not as informed, they are more likely to be traditionally partisan and they are more probably indifferent to any outcome so long as it doesn't have a negative impact upon themselves. Has it always been thus ! That should not, however, dismiss the value and force of public opinion for Brexit has stirred some inner sense of nationhood, some sense of right from wrong (albeit divided between Leave and Remainer camps), some sense that governance cannot, in all reasonableness, continue along its present, indulgent and self-interested pathway. It is truly an opening of the Pandora Box, giving insight into the inner dynamics of a governmental and parliamentary system that is no longer fit-for-purpose.
Yet political change is hard won. The status quo that inhabits Whitehall and Westminster is well entrenched. Something radical, something with a genuine and meaningful purpose needs to challenge the forces of complaceny and lethargy that dominates our governance. Brexit was a potential vehicle for such a challenge but those that would be detractors of the tradition and immovability of our political machinery either failed to grasp the opportunity that the mismanagement of Brexit threw up or they succumbed to the preferred 'safety' of their historic Party homes. Maybe we will never know, but the opportunity for political reform would appear to have passed. What we do know, of course, is that the government, in manic acts of desperation, are colluding with Marxist activists to bring about something - and Bristling Brock emphasises the word 'something' - that will enable the Prime Ministers Withdrawal Agreement to gain acceptance by Parliament.
These are not the actions of a reasoned, thoughtful and strategic thinking government. Whatever the inadequacies of the negotiating process that brought this dire situation about these are the actions of a desperate government and a desperate Prime Minister. And we must lay the blame at the feet of the Prime Minister for this bizarre and undignified scamble to achieve a Parliamentary vote-through. It is irrelevant in the eyes of government as to whether this agreement is as good as it can get - all that matters is the arithmetic of Parliamentary approval.
No wonder our faith in the political class is poor. With leaders such as we have - from all political viewpoints - in any other nationalist minded country there would have been revolution. For we British, grumbling apathy is all we offer.