REGULAR readers of these ramblings will know I feel passionately about Brexit…

But I can’t be the only one who is, quite frankly, now bored to death by it. Deadlines, crunch decisions, Red lines in the sand – all have come, gone or been washed away. Meaningful votes have become meaningless. ‘No Deal’; doom and disaster or a new dawn? I do understand the gravity and enormity of what’s at stake, but by now I’ve had it. I couldn’t give a fig. (insert unpublishable expletive of your choice….)

When the news is on, I find myself switching channels, switching off, or wishing I was on another planet. My patience is exhausted. I don’t think I’m alone; I am intrigued as to whether this rapid transition from active participant to abject observer is a symptom of growing wider intolerance – or specifically directed to Brexit. I no longer have any desire to discuss the rights and wrongs; I just want to walk away and abandon the debate.

Can I hide behind a feeling that as a society we are becoming more intolerant? Or do I have to own my intolerance; another unwelcome consequence of advancing years?

Tolerance, of other’s views and beliefs, is considered by many to be the hallmark of a civilised society. “--it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly--that is the first law of nature,” wrote Voltaire. If society is becoming less tolerant is it becoming less civilised?

One of the more worrying comments that emerged recently from the Brexit debate was the warning that a second referendum or crashing out without a deal could lead to civil unrest. The very idea is itself disturbing; a sign of the depths in which we now find ourselves. The intransigence of our current clutch of elected egotists, a complete lack of leadership across the political divide, the rote reassertion of entrenched dogmatic positions and denigration of those with opposing views are signs of a complete failure of statesmanship. It’s ironic that those presiding over the disintegration of our political life should so glibly warn about the consequential collapse of the social order. If tolerance is a pre-requisite for civilized society, then intolerance is the precursor of its demise. Displayed in such flagrant abundance by those elected to set the tone for public debate, we find ourselves caught in its wake.

“Toleration is good for all, or it is good for none” wrote Edmund Burke, (ironically now hailed as the father of modern British conservatism). The intolerance that currently pervades the Brexit debate is culpable and lamentable. But it does serve as a salutary reminder of how contagious intolerance can be; so destructive in our nation’s political life; equally damaging in our own.