big ben

Big Ben doesn’t bong at the moment. The great clock tower is encased in scaffolding, which is … this is nuts. There’s no point in any sort of thematic intro. Any notion of a theme, a strategy, has long gone by the by. The atmosphere is genuinely, now, very slightly hysterical. You can see it in the interviews, hear it in the Commons debates. No deadline really hits until it is in actual view, as god help us, any writer knows. On March 29, April 12 suddenly looked years away. The relief! The time to get something done!

And now…here it is! April 12! It became less than 100 hours to no-deal Brexit tonight, while parliament was still talking about how to talk about it tomorrow. Every second statement tends to be preceded by "look we should have been thinking about this two years ago", and it’s not just writers who recognise that, but everyone who ever had to mug up for an assignment on the causes of World War I at three in the morning...except the nation’s supply of essential medicines didn’t depend on getting that essay in.