Government by parliament works when a party or coalition of parties can command a majority of MPs to pass laws.
When they can’t get vital business into law prime ministers are ousted, usually, and governing parties often fall.
None of this applies today in Brexit Britain.
Theresa May does not command the support of dozens of members of the Conservative Party which she leads or from the 10 Democratic Unionists who have been allocated over a billion pounds from taxpayers to give her a working majority in the Commons.
As a result this government has been thrashed twice in so-called meaningful votes on the most important issue to face MPs in half a century – leaving the European Union.
A fortnight before the UK is due to Brexit, this country still has no agreed plan on how to do it. Having repeatedly promised that “We are leaving on 29th March”, the prime minister now wants a delay – if the EU will give us one.
That’s what I meant this week when I said that UK politics is in meltdown (an idea picked up by the Spectator for its latest cover).
The normal rules of politics don’t seem to work anymore and the system is failing to serve the public. I haven’t seen anything like it in the 30 years I’ve covered politics as a journalist.
Politics used to be called the art of the compromise. Instead expressions of anger dominate much of our current public discourse.
Wherever you stand on leaving or remaining, the EU issue has a lot to answer for. People are much more strongly committed to their view on the EU than they are to any political party. That goes for MPs as well. Both Labour and the Conservatives are split on Europe. They can’t cohere around a policy and their leaders won’t risk attempting to cajole…