THE English Parliament is now well on the way to being a byword for chaos or “stushie”, according to Stephen Gethins (chaos in Parliament as May suffers yet another Brexit defeat, January 10).

As the bulwark of the much-lauded, or perhaps much-deluded Perfidious Albion, the Westminsterites in the past glorified the fact that there is no written constitution and built everything on precedent or, more colloquially, making it up and waiving the “rules” as one dives and ducks to get one’s own way depending on who is in power.

The Speaker for once had a point that relying on precedent, even unwritten precedents, means that nothing ever changes. Of course so many of the Parliamentary “precedents” are contradictory and were situation-conditioned stretching back over centuries ago.

So now the “precedential” genie is out of the bottle at this epoch-making event. The self-appointed custodians of Parliamentary procedures are now seeing a new precedent taking precedent before their very eyes and “they do not like it”; it is not a precedent, they clamour and shout, and so the chaos continues. There are acceptable precedents for change but it depends on which ones fit the issue of the day and Brexit has no precedent!

Now Theresa May is promising that the House of Commons and Stormont, but not Holyrood or the Welsh Assembly, have the power to initiate the backstop, as she hastily seeks to be more inclusive, where she should have been more inclusive before. But there is no precedent for this until now!

So the comic circus continues and, lest we forget, the backstop came as a decision by Theresa May in the first place and is in the Withdrawal Treaty with the EU which is in her deal before Parliament at present. Any unilateral change to that would surely render the Withdrawal Treaty null and void!

The scenes of deadlock at Westminster are reminiscent of the 18th century Polish Parliament which ceased to function effectively and led to a weakened country and society to the extent that the real politik powers of the time, Prussia, Austria and Russia invaded and partitioned it. It led to the Norwegians coining a term, Polsk Riksdag, Polish Parliament, as a byword for chaos.

History does indeed have precedents!

John Edgar

I MET a friend just back from an international mothers and toddlers function. She told me things are different in babyland nowadays. There was one little baby boy in a pram who kept calling out, “I want a wall, I want a wall”. His mother had to tell him, “Look honey, I don’t have the money for a wall.” Not far away, my friend told me, a little baby girl in her pram kept calling out, “I want a deal”, and my friend thought she must have meant ‘a doll’ but that it definitely did sound to my friend like she was saying “deal”.

My friend was quite puzzled by the whole experience and her puzzlement wasn’t lessened when, as she told me, all the babies there were dressed in yellow vests. “I don’t know what to make of it?” she admitted, “Trumps me,” was all I could reply.

Ian Johnstone

ISN’T it Great? The experiment with the parking at Manston Airport has, apparently, been successful. Now we know for sure that the roads of Kent will be kept clear of congestion when the Brexit chaos kicks in.

Apparently, it doesn’t matter that umpteen lorries carrying fresh fish and other perishable produce from Scotland to France and other continental countries will, instead of being able to make their way quickly to their destinations, be parked up in the south of England where their cargoes can be allowed to rot without causing any congestion to the roads.

If that is the best solution to the Brexit chaos that will follow our departure from Europe in March, that this government can come up with, then hell mend us! It doesn’t matter that we are likely to run short of food and medicines, just as long as Kent’s roads don’t get congested with lorries desperate to export to Europe. It doesn’t seem to matter how many firms are likely to go out of business because they are unable to get their supplies to the foreign markets in time, just so long as the chaos and delays are hidden from the public eye by being shunted onto a disused airfield.

The mere fact that the Wastemonster Government are taking steps to prepare for this situation shows that they are already well aware of the harm Brexit will cause to the whole country. Any responsible government would be taking steps to avoid the situation that is likely to cause this sort of disruption to our trade rather than accepting that it will happen and taking preparatory measures to try to hide it. But not this one.

Scotland needs to immediately separate itself from the self- harm that the Tories intend inflicting upon us all. Let’s have that announcement regarding independence, from Nicola Sturgeon, and a new referendum to achieve that as soon as possible.

THE House of Commons has now accepted an amendment that allows Parliament to veto the Irish backstop and any extended transition period beyond 2020 and also to limit the Irish backstop to just 12 months.

What a cunning plan .... we are going to ram the current withdrawal agreement up the unified posterior of Johnny EUchap and Johnny EUchap isn’t going to notice.

This is a plan so cunning it could only have been devised by the Regius Professor of Cunning at the University of Ultimate Cunning, in Cunningshire.

This, I am led to believe, is a University position that has been held by the Baldrick family since mediaeval times.

John McArthur