Honestly? I haven’t a clue. I can’t think of anything else to say to the steady stream of enquirers including several MP friends who ask: what on earth is going on in our politics and more to the point where is it all going to lead?
Actually, what’s going on is that the chancellor announced £14bn of extra public spending last week, which would normally have dominated the headlines and in fact got virtually no coverage because we were all fascinated by the prospect of Boris Johnson going to jail if he refused to delay Brexit.
On property generally, there has been much talk and most of it on how to make home ownership – with which this crew are clearly obsessed – more affordable, but neither Robert Jenrick nor Esther McVey have yet to say anything remotely interesting or enlightening, probably because they know the tenure of a government minister these days in measured in weeks rather than months.
Amber Rudd was no sooner in Johnson’s cabinet than she resigned from it. Many of us wondered why she had agreed to join it in the first place given that he and she patently loathe each other and she’s a staunch remainer.
The really big story last week was the whip being withdrawn from 21 Tory rebels, leading to Boris’s own brother Jo Johnson announcing he was stepping down as an MP, talking of “unbearable tension between family loyalty and the national interest”. Ouch.
When a government loses its majority, the answer is surely a general election. Johnson has said he doesn’t really want one when everyone knows he does. Jeremy Corbyn kept saying he wanted one until faced with the prospect, when he suddenly decided he didn’t. His new ex-Tory enemies don’t want one and nor do the Lib Dems or Scot Nats.
Because of the stupidest act of parliament passed in the last decade, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, unless two thirds of MPs vote for one it can’t happen and so for now it won’t.
So I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen next but I can hazard a guess.
There will be an election even if we have to wait until we pass the 31 October deadline. At that point, we will have asked the EU for an extension of time. They may or may not agree. Macron in particular has made his impatience with the Rosbifs very clear, but let’s assume they do. Parliament has already ruled out no deal.
Ahead in the polls
Yet while the Westminster bubble is transfixed by these daily machinations in the country at large, there is a sense of simply wanting to get this whole Brexit mess over with. It means, ironically, that support for Johnson’s Tories puts them 10 points ahead in some polls.
Now add to the mix Nigel Farage saying his Brexit party won’t put candidates up against nailed-on Tory leavers. He saw what happened in the Brecon and Radnor by-election where had Tory and Brexit votes been added together the candidate would have won. The seat of course went to the Lib (Bollocks to Brexit) Dems. Farage also knows that in so many northern Labour seats that voted heavily to leave, they would sooner stick pins in their eyes than vote Tory, but if the Tory withdrew and left the field to him there would be a good chance of unseating the Labour incumbent.
If that election resulted, as it may well do, in a pro-leave majority prepared for no deal if necessary, then on day one the new government would repeal all this parliament’s efforts to bind its hands and on day two abolish the Fixed Term Parliaments Act for good measure. And then albeit with much still to be done, at least we would be out.
I suspect that however we voted in the referendum, the collective national sigh of relief would be audible from space.
Steve Norris is chairman of Soho Estates and This Land