At the time of writing this column, and given the pace at which events are occurring at present, I cannot predict what situation our country will find itself in, at a time when you, dear reader, are reading it.

I shall therefore reserve any comments on the future for next week’s column - in the hope that, by the time I am writing that column the position will, one way or another have become rather clearer.

But I think it is already possible to discern at least some of the fundamental challenges that we will face as a result of the events of the last few months.

Whatever the eventual outcome, one thing is certain: Brexit has divided our nation in the way that nothing else has done for many decades.

Of course, there has been a long-standing division of opinion about Britain’s relationship with the European mainland and it is equally obvious that opinion was sharply divided during the run up to the referendum.

But, immediately after the referendum there was, at least on the surface, a considerable centripetal force at work.

There was an acknowledgement on the part of those who had voted to leave that we would need to seek a sensible and harmonious future trading relationship as well as many other forms of cooperation with our continental allies and trading partners.

Equally, people like me who voted on balance to remain, acknowledged the decision of the majority and participated willingly in an attempt to implement the decision to leave in a sensible and smooth manner.

Alas, almost three years on, instead of everyone moving further toward an agreed compromise, attitudes have hardened remarkably. Large numbers of people who had accepted Brexit as an inevitability following the referendum result have become persuaded that the whole thing should be stopped. And large numbers of people who had assumed that we would leave in a smooth and orderly manner have become persuaded that the best course of action is to leave immediately with absolutely no agreement in place.

This polarisation - and particularly the anger and abuse that has all too often gone with it - is ultimately the most significant of all the many challenges our country faces.