Over Westminster there hovers, like Mount Olympus’s mythical cloud, a mephitic stench.
Paddington station buzzes with festive anticipation. It is only in SW1 that this noisome pong has parked itself.
Theresa May (pictured in the Commons) warned that a second Brexit referendum would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to Britain
The political class is scrapping for its power and influence. It is fearful, bitter, determined to drag us all down.
Third Monday in succession, Theresa May faced a Chamber that aches to block Brexit. Remainers hurled themselves at her. They were and are and will continue to be the problem.
Forget all that rubbish about the Eurosceptics being the difficult ones. It was the pro-EU nutters who tried to undermine her yesterday. Again.
A little knot of them perched in the top corner near their ally Bercow. Here sat the madly-expostulating Soubry, rich dullard Djanogly, Greening, Grieve, Wollaston, Lee.
Jeremy Corbyn (pictured today in the Commons) abandoned an attempt to call a stunt vote of no confidence in Theresa May in less than an hour today
Those last two are doctors. Lads, you wouldn’t want them to ask you to ‘cough please’. They’d never let go.
I have a private game when these ageing groovers are on their feet. Which will be first to claim to speak for ‘young people’? Yesterday’s contest was won by Soubry. She won’t see her 62nd birthday again.
Have you noticed how much younger Eurosceptic Tories are?
These blue Remainers shook their heads when Mrs May attacked the anti-democratic damage a second referendum would do.
That dim but vain one from Cambridgeshire, Heidi Whatnot, had barged herself on to the bench next to Dr Lee and moved the green reservation card which had been left there by another MP.
She and Lee and Wollaston all laughed and pointed at the name on that green card, seemingly mocking its owner.
It belonged to Stephen Metcalfe, a sturdy Leaver from S Basildon & E Thurrock. When he turned up he chose to be diplomatic and not try to ask Mrs May a disloyal question. Mr Metcalfe may not be a metropolitan sophisticate but I’d prefer him as my MP any day of the decade.
On the Labour benches were equally hectoring anti-Brexiteers: Bradshaw, Benn, McFadden, Sheerman, Cooper, bulging their eyes as though they had just eaten blisteringly hot-hot-hot pigs-in-blankets.
You know the moment. You realise you shouldn’t have holed it in one and when you next take a gulp of vino there is a sizzle as the liquid hits your poor tongue.
Then we had the likes of Caroline Lucas from the Greens – she certainly turns the rest of us virescent – and Joanna Cherry, a squat-frog lawyer from the SNP, over-articulating when they put their questions, addressing Mrs May the way bad primary school teachers speak to half-wit pupils.
They and others screamed, variously, for a second referendum, for parliamentary votes on alternatives to Brexit, and time and again for Mrs May to ‘rule out no-deal’. Why would she want to do that?
John Bercow talks to the Government’s front bench of Michael Gove, Penny Morduant, Stephen Barclay, and Geoffrey Cox as the Prime Minister arrives in the Commons
Millions of us would love no-treaty (as it is more accurately called). It is no secret Mrs May would prefer her own, limp deal, but ruling out a clean Brexit is madness if we want to make the EU think again.
These crazed anti-Brexiteers jabbed their fingers and scoffed and hyperventilated as they raged at Mrs May. What did she do?
What she always does: she went into the sort of defensive ball a hedgehog will assume when being shouted at by terriers. The longer this went on, the more she smiled. There does seem to be an odd part of her that enjoys being beaten up.
Did she tilt slightly towards the Eurosceptic view? Possibly, though it probably signifies little.
Answering questions from Tory MPs Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest W) and Nick Herbert (Arundel & S Downs) she agreed, first, that the recent rudeness of Brussels would only make Leave voters feel they had made the right choice; and, second, that the Leave vote would increase if there were ever another referendum.
Europhile Cabinet minister Amber Rudd was there but vanished after a few minutes.