James Heappey Weekly Column

I hope that after the political tumult of the last year or so, you have enjoyed a peaceful and relaxing Christmas. Before writing today’s column I had a quick flick back through the archives to see what I said in my first column on 2019. It was bleak reading!

My first column of last year had been written in the shadow of the momentous first defeat for Teresa May’s Brexit Deal. That all seems like a lifetime ago now and we’ve been in to some much darker places since but finally, this week, Parliament is finally making quick progress in delivering the Brexit deal and allowing our country to move on. By Thursday night, the voting will be complete, and we’ll have passed the law needed to leave the EU at the end of the month.

I know from the many letters and emails I’ve received over Christmas that irrespective of how you voted in the referendum and, even, irrespective of how you voted in the General Election, a Government with a majority to finally get things done is very welcome. So too is the fact that politics will now become boring again.

The barometer for how deeply we were in the political poo has been the number of temporary TV studios set up on the Green across the road from Parliament. In the most seismic weeks of last year, there were forty of fifty gazebos housing the world’s media breathlessly reporting each and every knife-edge vote. Today, despite the fact that we’re finally voting to deliver Brexit, there are precisely zero gazebos on College Green.

For political anoraks the demise of wall-to-wall coverage of every parliamentary contortion will be disappointing. For everyone else however, it’s hugely welcome. So here’s to a happy, successful, prosperous and politically boring 2020. Happy New Year