The expected poor showing in the local election results has, so far, shown us that the Conservatives and Labour Party have underperformed whilst the LibDems and Greens have made some gains. Politicians from Tory and Socialist positions are bleating that it was all because of the Brexit chaos that they didn't do so well (though most didn't use the word 'chaos' - that's Bristling Brock's addition). Even Mrs May has bothered to chip in and accuse 'Brexit' of being the fundamental cause of this public rebellion against the established status quo in Westminster.
What does this tell us, the wider British population ? It does acknowledge a Brexit factor in the way people voted but it takes little or no account of that deeper something that has been troubling us all for the last decade - that almost visceral, growing distrust of the established political classes. It's often hard to pinpoint, it's a feeling as much as it is a fact but it's unquestionably there, showing itself in a variety of ways from spoiled ballot papers to slammed doors in candidates faces to frustrated expressions of anger by those being interviewed. It's almost primal, an instinctive loss of faith, a complete and utter disbelief over the competencies of government being so poorly and shabbily displayed. And that touches both Conservative and Labour camps. That there is little recognition of this underlying emotion (and that 'emotion' should not be confused with anything more usually associated with non-governmental issues) suggests that those in Westminster still do not understand what it is that is driving such a widespread disdain for the very functions of government. Yes, many are truly frustrated over the Brexit impasse and that has been a significant backdrop to the punishment of Tory and Labour candidates in local contests, but it is not the only issue and perhaps it is not even the main issue at stake. Some in government accuse the vogue across Europe for populism for this turn against them, no doubt hoping that it is a transient feeling that will revert to classical voting habits when 'real' electoral issues are at stake. BB feels otherwise. What we are seeing in Britain isn't populism - as an electorate we are not that organised and co-ordinated as some European political climates display - ours is undoubtedly fragmented, individualised and rising up from a prolonged period of patience that has reached a boiling point. The British tolerate much, they may grumble and groan but on the whole we are seldom politically active to the point where we take to the streets and shout our rejection of the status quo. Yet that is what is now happening in that uniquely British way.
It is a fatal flaw in our governance - and that embraces the government itself, the Opposition, the political Party structures, the two houses of the parliament and the upper echelons of the civil service. The lack of understanding by all these elements of the establishment as to what it is that underpins a significant body of public opinion is potentially the seed of their ultimate demise. Brexit is but one factor in this; there is corruption, dishonesty, broken promises, subterfuges, the gross inability of politicians to answer questions effectively, the mishandling of foreign and domestic affairs, crass policy making and gross mis-judgement of what the true raison d'être of governance is about - the governance of the people, for the people by the people. The Romans had long since worked this out two millennia ago but it has eluded our current crop of politico's for many a year.
There is a groundswell of feeling that the establishment are perplexed by. That they are perplexed is a measure of their disconnect from the grass roots feelings of the country. Change is coming. It may not be a smooth ride in the short-term and we may not all have the same pathway in mind, but it will come in some shape or another, and history may well record this period as something of 'a very British Revolution'. Within the last 350 or so years that would be a first wouldn't it ?