With no significant Brexit news for seven minutes or so, the opinion pages have taken a scattergun approach with topics ranging from how to ‘win’ Eurovision and the failings of ‘smart’ meters to the question of how Donald Trump can have turned out that way when his parents were so nice.

One common theme is a plea for moderation.

The Mail

Some might expect Sarah Vine, wife of Michael Gove, to hit back after former Prime Minister David Cameron described his ex-colleague as a ‘foam-flecked Faragist’ in his memoirs. But the outspoken Mail columnist appears to have adopted the Michelle Obama doctrine: ‘when they go low we go high’.

A lengthy piece titled ‘requiem for a friendship’ waxes lyrical about the two Tories’ wives sharing the school run, joint family holidays and mutual experiences. “Sitting by the roaring fire in the Great Hall [at Chequers], bilious Elizabethans and their bug-eyed mistresses staring down unblinkingly at us from the walks, our children engaged in a riotous game of Capture the Flag, Dave producing an endless supply of White Ladies (he makes a mean cocktail does Dave)”, captures the tone.

There is more than a touch of ‘the lady doth protest too much’ about her conclusions, though: “despite all that has been said and done [that] is how I will always remember Dave and Samantha. As dear friends who were there at key moments of my life”.

The Scotsman

From the death of a friendship to actual murder in the Scotsman where Alexander McCall Smith uses the Bloody Scotland festival of crime fiction to question the realism of the genre. “Writers of crime fiction like to portray themselves as social realists, depicting the true nastiness of life,” he says but the claim is dubious. Murder is a rare and unusual crime, yet is almost a prerequisite of the detective story. “If crime writers were realists, as they claim to be, then surely they should write more about common offences,” says McCall Smith. “Where is the contemporary parking offence novel? Crime writers have conspicuously failed to rise to the challenge.”

In the same paper Tory MSP Murdo Fraser makes a more direct plea for moderation. Claiming Christianity as the source of many ideas about equality and human rights, he bemoans the state of the body politic. “In our febrile debates around Brexit we see something of the spirit of 1919: a digging of trenches, a placing of blame and a refusal to find common ground,” he writes. Words such as traitor and collaborator are used by those more interested in conflict. “We need a new spirit of moderation of generosity and of putting the national interest and unity before narrow political considerations, because the alternative is yet more bitterness and division.”

The Telegraph

Even bookshops are losing the plot according to Melanie McDonagh, who is agitated to learn some are refusing to stock the aforementioned Cameron autobiography. Never mind that she acknowledges they may just be responding to a lack of demand from readers. “One bookseller in Hackney declared – joking I hope – that she wouldn’t be making a big deal of it because she could get firebombed... There’s something genuinely shocking that bookshops feel that they can’t or won’t stock a book by a former prime minister.”

The only question that should trouble them is is it interesting and is it any good, she says. “Once bookshops start to no-platform books we really have lost it.”

One might hope the courts, with their interest in establishing the truth in the public interest might encourage those columnists seeking moderation. But as constitutional law takes centre-stage, Philip Johnston in the Telegraph is not so sure. At the Supreme Court the justices are being asked to decide between an executive acting to uphold the will of the people and a Parliament seeking to frustrate it, he says. “IF that is not a political matter then nothing is. The judges should steer well clear, but I am not sure that they will,” he says.

The Times

Daniel Finkelstein is also looking to the Supreme Court judges to steer a path between “fury at the Johnson government... passion against Brexit”. But if the courts are to be involve din politics maybe the public - through parliament - should have a say in appointing them. “To strike the right balance between the law and politics will not be easy, but at least we are finally beginning to treat the question with the seriousness it deserves.”