Next week, UK and EU Chief Negotiators get together over videoconference for the next round of discussions over a trade deal following our exit from the EU.
They also did so for a week in April, but you may not have noticed. So all-consuming is the coronavirus challenge, that media has been reporting little else.
And yet, just a few short months ago, you could barely go to a news website or switch on TV news without seeing the word ‘Brexit’ in the first few seconds.
What a turnaround.
Does this matter? Coronavirus is arguably the biggest threat to the future of the UK (and Europe) and our way of life since World War 2. It merits widespread coverage and analysis, and there’s only room to report so much. Some issues inevitably have to take a back seat.
But in reducing their focus on Brexit to virtually nothing, is the media doing the country a disservice?
The role of news media is broad – to inform, to investigate, to make the complex understandable, occasionally to entertain. But it also plays a vital role in analysing policy, questioning the powers that be and holding them to account.
A recent study found that people believe that journalists have been more effective at holding the UK Government to account over how it is handling the Coronavirus than either MPs in general or the Opposition specifically.
And with, as things stand, a trade deal deadline set for the end of this year with the EU, we need the media to be one of the entities analysing and taking a view on the latest progress in Brexit talks.
In many cases, good scrutiny makes for better decision making. Right now, it seems as if this historic move in our economic relations with 27 of our closest neighbour countries is happening under the radar.
I never thought last year that I’d find myself wishing there were more Brexit news. But I do now.
Over to you, media.
Graeme Buck is a consultant at Camargue