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'I will keep explaining it, but a year into the Brexit crisis, the task is only getting harder'

Here we go again. Parliament will hold a vote later on triggering a general election which may or may not succeed. There may be another attempt at doing the same thing with a different timetable - and with the possible support of the SNP and the Lib Dems.

There could be, this week, a possible confidence vote which may or may not happen and, if it does, may or may not succeed.

There are said to be more plans by opposition parties and independent backbenchers to seize the parliamentary agenda. But to do what? And when? And how?

In December I’ll have been reporting on this crisis for a year.

Credit: Adrian Masters

I remember at that time agonising over whether or not to use the word ‘crisis’ but that’s what it was then and is what it is now.

The difference is now that everyone is exhausted: politicians, people and journalists.

The Government is pretending it has solutions and the power to implement them. The opposition parties are pretending that they can implement their proposed alternatives. Neither is true.

I’ve spent the best part of a year trying to explain what’s going on and trying to convince anyone who will listen that this is our parliamentary democracy under intense pressure - but working. I still think the latter, but it is increasingly difficult to do the former - or rather it is increasingly difficult to comprehend why individuals and parties are acting the way they are.

You will see what I mean if you take a step back and look at some of the aspects of this crisis.

Credit: Adrian Masters

Boris Johnson and his ministers have repeatedly insisted that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st- "no ifs no buts" - but have still been insisting on that when the date is in three days’ time and the decision by EU leaders to offer an extension always looked likely and the ability to stick to that date always looked unlikely.

He said he would prefer to be "dead in a ditch" than miss the Halloween deadline. There’s no apology today from the Prime Minister for making that promise, rather just reiterated criticism of "parliament" for making it impossible.

The Conservative government seems to be intent on pursuing a "people vs. Parliament" strategy which may make sense in terms of gaining a possible election advantage, but will surely only undermine the next parliament and government, however that’s made up.

Yes, the opposition is trying to make the government’s life more difficult but that’s what oppositions do: oppose. Whether or not you think it was right for a Conservative government to call a referendum, it was a Conservative government which triggered an unnecessary general election, which botched that general election, which failed to secure support for a deal, whose members rebelled, resigned and overthrew their leader and then lost even its small working majority. Conservatives haven’t acknowledged their responsibility for the situation.

And their party’s shifting position isn’t helping us to understand what’s going on. Government press people brief something in the morning only for it to dissipate in the afternoon. Pull the withdrawal bill in the morning. Pause it in the afternoon. Go on strike in the evening. Pursue a vigorous agenda the next day.

Interview with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Credit: Adrian Masters

It’s not just the Conservatives causing confusion. The Labour Party which has been calling for a general election for so long won’t now back one. I realise that it doesn’t trust the government and maybe some within Labour fear the polls, but that rings hollow after two years when I have been told that an election campaign would see the polls turned around as they did (though not enough) in 2017.

It sometimes feels like I’ve entered a parallel world when I interview Welsh Labour MPs and AMs who tell me there is no difference between the party’s position on Brexit in Cardiff Bay and Westminster when there so obviously is. I try not to overclaim reports of splits but when one section of the party is committed to a referendum in all circumstances and the UK leadership isn’t, what else should I call it?

An interview with the First Minister Mark Drakeford - who has welcomed the latest EU extension until January 2020 Credit: Adrian Masters

Plaid Cymru, a party committed to a Wales standing on its own two feet, now openly says it would prefer to trust one political institution based in Brussels over another in England, even when that institution abandons fellow nationalists in another member state.

The Liberal Democrats, a party in the centre of politics has decided the best way forward is to choose a side. That may make sense in the maelstrom of the moment, but surely will only deepen the divide when, if, the maelstrom subsides.

There is much that shocks me about the way that people are acting.

I am shocked that ministers who have seen official forecasts of the damage a no deal exit could cause are prepared to claim it would not be damaging.

I am shocked that some people who are democrats now think a vote should be overturned.

I am shocked that people who I like and respect seem incapable of seeing beyond certain divisions. Why they believe some Brexiteers aren’t Brexiteer enough. Why some Remainers aren’t Remainer enough. I am shocked that journalists are turning on each other and criticising the passing on of information which is, after all, what we do.

Interviewing guests on ITV Wales' political programme Sharp End Credit: Adrian Masters

I am not done with politics. I am still optimistic that the best in human nature will find a a way through. One MP told me last week he felt sure fellow MPs were genuinely making an effort to be kinder to each other.

Britain is divided on this, the biggest political issue for decades so it is no surprise that, as representatives of British people, parliament is also divided.

I will keep explaining it, but a year into the crisis, that task is only getting harder.