There can be little doubt that the process of exiting the European Union is one of the greatest challenges that has ever faced our nation. It's sheer complexity – untangling ourselves from an international political body to which we've belonged for several decades – makes other difficult issues pale in to insignificance.
Even as a Remainer, it is clear that now is the time to cease the arguments of the referendum, and to put ideology and partisan politics to one side on this issue. Brexit is very real, and whether one thinks it's the right course of action is now irrelevant.
What matters is pragmatism, and pragmatism is not what the political class is delivering.
Both the Conservatives and Labour are split down the middle on the debate of hard versus soft Brexit, whilst the Liberal Democrats and the Greens are intent of re-fighting the referendum, and rehashing the same arguments, and UKIP are wedded to their delusional dream of a perfect-Brexit. There is little rational discussion across the aisle based on evidence and facts.
There's almost a "rats fleeing the sinking ship" feeling to it, with Remainers trying to denounce Brexit to such a degree that if (as they seem to believe) it ends disastrously, then they can claim the moral high ground as the "sensible" politicians who tried to stop it. Whilst on the other side, a complete lack of flexibility from Brexiteers puts the success of Brexit at risk.
Brexit could make or break the future of this country. Whether one thinks it was a good idea is not the issue. The issue now is to make use of the facts and evidence that are available to get the best result for all. This means co-operation is needed. The last time this country faced an issue of anywhere near such magnitude as this was the Second World War. And what did our political class do during that future-defining event? They grew up and learnt how to work together.
The country needs a national government – a grand coalition of any and all parties that are willing to work together to ensure that, whatever their initial position, Brexit works for all, and that both Remainers and Leavers are represented in the process.
Our country is divided, but we can't get the best deal if we're not singing from the same hymn-sheet. It's time to put petty, partisan politics past us and unite for government based on evidence, not ideology.
We have only two years to ensure either a final deal or a transitional arrangement are in place before we are ejected from the club of twenty-eight. We have very little time to have the same argument every day. With both the Tories and Labour agreeing that Brexit will happen, the discussion that needs to be had is how it should happen. And, since the result was so close, a consensual approach incorporating the whole population is needed.
A national government would also have several other advantages. Take the EU Withdrawal – or Great Repeal – Bill, for example, and the use of Henry VIII clauses. The Conservative government is accused of attempting to make up for the damaging election results by expanding their powers to change the law without going through parliament. In a national government this would be less problematic as there would still be debate and scrutiny between the different governing parties.
It is time for compromise and co-operation. Brexit is far too important for political point-scoring, ideology, and division. British politics must now grow up and face reality. Remainers: Brexit is happening – lets work with Leavers to ensure the best possible Brexit. And to Leavers: negotiations at the moment are, to be blunt, a travesty. We are too busy fighting with the European Commission to talk in the mature manner that is needed right now. It's time to accept that Brexit won't be perfect or plain sailing, but can be made easier if partisan politics is put aside.