ONE OF the great tragedies of contemporary politics – and there are many – is the rising levels of intolerance as discussion, debate and dialogue becomes more tribal with each passing week.
A polarisation fuelled by Brexit, it makes even harder for those politicians – and there are still some – who want to work consensually with others.
This is exemplified by the rival approaches being pursued by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Rory Stewart. Though both enjoyed privileged backgrounds which enabled them to attend Eton, and then Oxford University, the similarities end here.
Indeed, the growing Tory schism was too apparent when Mr Rees-Mogg, now Leader of the Commons, spoke condescendingly on national radio in support of the prorogation of Parliament without a trace of humility.
Compare and contrast this superciliousness with Mr Stewart who, on the same day, was visiting a food bank in Labour-run Hartlepool and engaging with people who have paid the price for austerity.
A world apart from his own upbringing, and very rural Cumbrian constituency, the fact that Mr Stewart’s walkabouts are dismissed by many as being maverick and unconventional speaks volumes about the decline of political debate.
After all, this is a country where One Nation values were cherished before the more open-minded MPs became usurped by a generation of politicians – from all parties – incapable of considering alternative perspectives because of a misplaced superiority.
More’s the pity. For, if more MPs did so just occasionally, they would almost certainly become better leaders, and legislators, as a result.