JUST like anyone else our MPs are also independent citizens. Given their trade as politicians it’s reasonable to assume that all 650 voted in the EU referendum. For the rest of us, that was that. But how many ‘Brexit’ votes have our MPs had since then, each one with the potential to change the outcome?

I’ve lost count but it is certainly approaching a dozen. There’s much talk now of what was not foreseen in the referendum. Well, when Parliament chose to over-ride the people’s Leave instruction, it was not foreseen that the “meaningful” final vote it insisted on having would actually be multiple votes, leaving us, the people, as bystanders while MPs sought to twist Brexit this way and that, with the barely concealed aim, by most, of wrecking it.

But of course their “meaningful vote” has delivered the worst shambles any of us has ever witnessed. It is impossible to believe there would have been the present chaos if Parliament had rallied behind the referendum result and presented a united front to the EU. Had Remain won the referendum, by whatever margin, business would have continued as usual the next day. The concerted effort to stifle Brexit is a disgrace.

There appears to be organised brain-washing even in the debunking of a no-deal Brexit. A clue is that virtually every reference to it is preceded by the word “catastrophic”. How different it was back in December. Under the headline “Planning for a no-deal Brexit well underway” a report quoted a senior civil servant, probably briefed by No 10, who said: “Every day there is some fresh claim that we might accept whatever outrageous terms are offered by an intransigent EU because we are not prepared for no deal and it would be a disaster… It is absolutely untrue.” Now, alarms are being raised that make you want to tear your hair out. Typically: dangerous criminals might abscond in the UK if we are excluded from the EU’s system for sharing criminal records . Why would any organisation not off its head even contemplate such a move – or any other valuable co-operation? Through Europol the police shared records before we joined the EU. But Richard Martin, Brexit planner with our National Police Chiefs’ Council, states firmly that no deal on March 29 means the record-sharing system “gets switched off overnight.” So I suggest to you the EU is mad.

CAVEAT to the above. The EU does some good. It has just launched a project to monitor the bloc’s butterflies, key indicators of the environment’s health. Last week, referring to a British bird count, I quoted the 19th-century naturalist Richard Jefferies, to highlight the vast abundance of birds then compared to now. Here he is on insects, including butterflies: “Heath and common, moor and forest, hedgerow and copse, are full of insects. They rise underfoot, a rain of insects, a colourful shower… Legion is a little word for the butterflies…” Jefferies recognised our interdependence with every living thing: “Between the artificial man and the innumerable organisms which live and breathe there is but a thin, feeble crust.” Sir David Attenborough might now be the go-to spokesperson for this kind of thinking. But Richard Jefferies beat him to it long ago.