THE 2016 referendum and events since then have shown that, so far as our place in Europe is concerned, we are a nation divided.

Many of us have strong opinions, one way or another. Too few of us can see the merits of the contrary argument. Many of us, however, are fed up with the delay in finding a resolution to this internal conflict and would like to see it settled.

In the coming elections to the European parliament, we can choose one of three ways ahead.

There are those who would further aggravate hostilities with a second referendum – which will just confirm that we are a nation divided.

There are other parties who, against the advice of most MPs and the wishes of most of the electorate, would have us leave in a disorderly manner (’no deal’), causing considerable inconvenience to many of our citizens and those of the EU and boding ill for our future relationship with our European neighbours.

Only the Conservative party (at the time of writing, the Labour party hasn’t made up its mind) wishes to avoid both of these outcomes.

The party recognises the strength of both arguments, to Leave and to Remain.

The Conservative way – the British way – to resolve such a conflict is to look for a middle way.

The Conservative government seeks to leave the European Union in an orderly manner, on terms agreed with the 27, while retaining many of the advantages of membership.

It is true that, so far, the government has failed to obtain the support of parliament.

History tells us that when you are trying to bring warring factions together you cannot always expect early success. The moral is, don’t give up.

You just have to wait till enough people decide that the time has come to stop fighting and look, instead, for a way of living and working together.

The way we vote on May 23 will send a message: do we want hostilities to continue, or do we wish to bring together a nation divided?