THE Brexit Party rally at Sedgefield Racecourse on Wednesday was frenetic. A strong, chill September wind blew wrappers from the burger stand across the paddock so that they wrapped around the ankles of people caught up in the hubbub, while a Norwegian camera crew ambushed people in the queues, looking for close-ups of the turquoise party shirts as they tried to understand what the hell the British were up to.

There was a far more diverse range of people than I had expected. There were a couple of crackpots in strange attire, but there were also quiet folk-next-door in extremely sensible dress. There were people who had fallen out of the Labour Party and others who’d abandoned the Conservatives. A majority were middle-aged/older people, but there was a young trendy with his long hair tied into a knot and another with an armful of tattoos.

They shared a passion and an anger. A desire to be free ran so deep, with the European Court of Justice regularly namechecked as the oppressor-in-chief, that they were unable to see the potential pitfalls of a no-deal exit – as the venue was a racecourse, it is appropriate to say that they were blinkered against Operation Yellowhammer which they saw as scaremongering.

Above all, there was great dismay and despair at the way they saw politicians blocking their bid for freedom, and this translated into a cold anger. “We are dug in on Brexit ridge,” said one Durham candidate. “We will be there waiting for them whenever the ballot boxes come out.”

Nigel Farage, surrounded by security, was their inspiration – he has a messianic effect on the party in the way Jeremy Corbyn had on his Labour supporters a couple of years ago.

By all accounts, he gave a barnstorming – or at least marquee-blasting – speech. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend, as I had an engagement with the ladies of the WI in Swainby.

By comparison with the frenetic fire of Sedgefield, Swainby was serene. It nestles quietly beneath the Cleveland Hills. When I got out of my car, the air was so still that I could hear the trickle of the brook that ripples the length of the main street, and then a horse clip-clopped its way over the bridge, the noise of its hooves echoing off the old stone cottages and filling the whole village.

It seemed such a great divide – as great a divide as that between leave and remain. If only I had taken the number of the Norwegians that could have seen how, despite the unbelievable twists of the greatest constitutional crisis for a century or more unfolds, British life goes on.

QUITE what the poor old yellowhammer, a farmland bird, thinks of being dragged into the Brexit debate is unknown. The yellowhammer’s song, though, is well known due a mnemonic. It sings out “a little bit of bread and no cheese”, so perhaps it is taunting us about what life will be like after a no-deal Brexit.