Is it the final last-chance saloon?
Crunch points, pivotal moments and last-chance saloons – it is hard to keep count of just how many have come and gone in Parliament since the Brexit vote.
Few would be forgiven then for doubting whether today’s rare Saturday Commons sitting will live up to its “Super” billing and finally end this protracted saga.
Nor would even a cursory look at the arithmetic justify anything but scepticism of the chances of a long-awaited bout of consensus.
In triumphantly securing what was said to be an “impossible” new deal with Brussels, Boris Johnson found a powerfully symbolic gauntlet to throw down before MPs.
Because of it, they now face unprecedented pressure from a public desperate for respite from the incessant arguments over how to respect the referendum result.
Perhaps, against the odds, they will provide it and the nation can breathe at least a brief sigh of relief.
Brief because the tasks of resolving the practicalities of the divorce process and starting to try to heal the deep divisions wrought by the whole debate will only just have begun.
But with the revised plan opening at least as many cans of worms as it sealed up, yet another period of uncertainty looks more probable.
That would open the door to an extension, likely, for all Mr Juncker’s attempts to play down the prospect, to be granted by EU leaders fearful of the consequences of a no-deal exit.
In turn, that breathing space would remove the objections – from political leaders at least if not from exhausted voters – to a third general election in four and a half years.
Some believe that to be the prime minister’s ultimate aim, a chance to run a populist campaign to replace a dithering hung Parliament with a decisive Conservative majority. That road is by no means guaranteed to lead to clarity, however, far from it when opinion remains too polarised to favour one side or another.
MPs should not be expected to vote for a deal they truly do not believe to be in the national interest. They must though consider all aspects of what that national interest is, including the consequences of teeing up a fresh succession of crunch points, pivotal moments and last-chance saloons. SIR, – What a charmless and incongruous structure the Triple Kirks redevelopment – originally designed to partly house the world’s largest student population – is, more befitting of an industrial estate than a heritage site.
It literally takes banality to new heights and lacks any aesthetic appeal, sense of place or personality.
The only redeeming feature of the Aberdeen development, amongst the grey, metallic gloom – perhaps to complement the uncleaned façade of the revamped Art Gallery opposite – is the refurbished spire of the original iconic building (built in the 1830s). Who would have thought that materials such as brick, sandstone and granite could be so versatile, sustainable and cost-efficient?
Yes, the site was derelict and in a ruinous state – decades of neglect and inaction had that effect – but, oh, for some imagination, decoration (other than the token colour fringes), or the architectural vision of an Archibald Simpson. Erik Bjorkelund, Tillydrone Road,
“They now face unprecedented pressure from a public desperate for respite”