Is it the fi­nal last-chance sa­loon?

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - AGENDA -

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,

Aberdeen

“They now face un­prece­dented pres­sure from a pub­lic des­per­ate for respite”

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