SAY what you like about Brexit but it has been good for genealogy. I’ve met two ladies recently in Darlington library researching their family trees to see if there was enough Irish for them to qualify for an Eire passport.

One had a Darlington-born son living in France; the other a Darlington-born daughter who had settled in Germany.

Then, after a talk in Thirsk, a woman asked if I could give her a few tips on starting a family tree because...

“It’s for my daughter,” she said. “She was born in Thirsk but now lives in France. She doesn’t want to be Irish, but a passport would be an insurance.”

The number of applications for Irish passports has doubled post-Brexit, and 10 per cent of the UK population is eligible, which is why these people are checking.

A great irony is that Brexit was partly about immigrants coming into Britain but it is making emigrants out of people born in Britain.

I’VE recorded a snippet for Radio 4 about local attitudes to Brexit. It seems that views are now more polarised, entrenched, entombed than ever before. Letters on this page are becoming more vitriolic – “remoaner” is now an insult that is spat hatefully out and we have some correspondents who, without irony, think those who disagree with them should leave the country.

Hear All Sides is mild by comparison with the Daily Telegraph where letter-writers despise the treacherous Theresa May who has betrayed them for not pursuing a brick-hard Brexit. It is amazing that anyone can fill a pen with so much hatred – and Mrs May, of course, is one of their own.

The language on the other side can also be extreme. Redcar MP Anna Turley told The Observer on Sunday: “Asking me to support Brexit is like asking me to punch my constituents in the face.”

How can anyone be so certain? Next spring, when we leave, the champions of the Premier League will be decided. At the moment, Manchester City are slight favourites but Liverpool are on the verge of being a mighty team, Chelsea look impressive when the world’s best player, Eden Hazard, turns out, Arsenal are on an amazing roll and Spurs could yet click into contenders. So five months out, I have no idea how it’ll turn out because I cannot predict the future.

On one hand, I’m eagerly awaiting the Brexit dividend of £350m-a-week for public services but on the other, I’m concerned that Brexit is costing us £500m-a-week. On one hand, I cannot see how anyone can deny a people’s vote on the final deal, but on the other, such a vote would only deliver more delay and division and, probably, another inconclusive result.

On the vitriolic extremes, Brexit is a black and white issue, but I think to most people it is still a slushy grey of uncertainty – that’s why the referendum was a narrow 52/48; that’s why the subsequent general election offered no guidance; that’s why in the House of Commons there is no clear majority for any direction. The vitriol just means that should we ever come out the other side, the divisions will take longer to heal.

AND there are more important things than Brexit to discuss, like is Brendan O'Carroll’s For Facts Sake the worst fecking programme ever to be screened on British television, and why did all of the finalists’ showstoppers on Bake Off look stomach-churningly inedible?