Labour’s bid for leave voters is failing. It must now look to remainers

The voters blow a big raspberry to the two main parties and both react the same way: “OK, OK, we hear you. You just want us to get on with Brexit.” That was the line following Thursday’s council elections across much of England from both the prime minister and the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell – although the latter was quick to clarify that when he tweeted “‘Brexit – sort it.’ Message received” that didn’t, strictly speaking, mean he wanted Brexit to happen, just that the issue needed to be sorted out “whichever way”. So that clears that up.

Ken Clarke: ‘Brexit is like a parody version of student politics’

The twin pillars of Tory pro-Europeanism, the two men who defended that lonely cause in the Thatcher heyday and through the long trudge of the Major years, have responded very differently to Brexit. On one side stands Michael Heseltine, belated darling of the remainers, the lion in winter who won a deluge of Twitter love for his speech before a vast crowd at last month’s People’s Vote rally, where he spoke lyrically of his lost European dream. And there, on the other, is Kenneth Clarke, 79 this summer, not in the House of Lords but still slugging it out as a working MP, on his feet asking pointed questions, moving amendments in nail-biting midnight sessions, even tabling the alternative Brexit proposal – continued membership of a customs union – that came closest to success, falling short by just three votes.

Just societies need referees. We abuse them at our peril

A plea to those of you who are not fans of sport. There might be a little bit of football and, to my own surprise, even some basketball in what follows. But I promise it’s not the whole story. My concern here is with something that goes far beyond sport, that points to a trend spreading into every aspect of our lives and across much of the globe. But, I confess, it begins at the Emirates stadium watching Arsenal.

Just societies need referees. We abuse them at our peril

A plea to those of you who are not fans of sport. There might be a little bit of football and, to my own surprise, even some basketball in what follows. But I promise it’s not the whole story. My concern here is with something that goes far beyond sport, that points to a trend spreading into every aspect of our lives and across much of the globe. But, I confess, it begins at the Emirates stadium watching Arsenal.