The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill got the Royal Assent this week. It was then solemnly signed, sealed and ratified by Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the European Commission. We’re finally out.

But you could be forgiven for being unaware of this historic occasion, because it only merited a footnote on news bulletins. No-one is interested in Brexit any more. Nothing to see here.

Yet only two months ago we were in the midst of the most intense period of national disputation since the Winter of Discontent in 1979. Everyone was hanging on the words of the Speaker John Bercow, waiting to discover his latest procedural innovation. Now he’s in civvy street struggling with bullying allegations.

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The Commons chamber echoed with the voices of celebrity Remainers, like Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry, Rory Stewart. They are all now in the wilderness. Gone, too, the flag-waving fanatics outside the Palace of Westminster. BBC political presenters no longer have to compete with the megaphone cries of “Stop Brexit!”.

Well, no-one is going to shed any more tears about all that. The Brexit debate turned into a toxic culture war which had very little to do with the real issues of trade and citizenship. Everyone was too busy calling each other Nazis and racists or unpatriotic appeasers.

Now the Withdrawal Bill has finally passed, everyone has lost interest. It’s about boring stuff like trade. Yet it marks a historic defeat for the Westminster parliamentary system. The endless procedural wrangles and court actions of the last three years were in retrospect a huge waste of time and intellectual effort.

But it’s worse than that. We’ve been left with a legislative horlicks far more damaging than should have been the case. The Withdrawal Act is essentially Theresa May’s Brexit Bill, but without the various concessions offered to Labour, without the Northern Ireland backstop and, most important, without parliamentary oversight.

The protections on workers’ rights and the environment have been removed from the legislation, as has the idea of a regulatory level playing field. Protections for refugee children have been scrapped, along with other Lords amendments.

The option of an extension to the transition period, due to end in December, is now ruled out by the Act. The much-debated Political Declaration is shorn of any legislative significance.

MPs will have no say on the negotiating mandate in the coming trade talks. Parliament will have no role in scrutinising the future trade deal.

And that’s not all. The “Henry VIII” provisions allowing the Government to change laws by secondary legislation, bypassing Parliament altogether, have been beefed up. The courts will not have to abide by the letter of EU law during the transition period.

It’s a comprehensive power grab. The Scottish Parliament will not be getting its ball back any time soon. Those powers over agriculture and the environment will remain in Westminster, even if responsibility for administering them will be returned to Holyrood.

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If the entire UK had remained aligned with the single market, Scotland might have found a halfway house. But Brussels has now ruled out Scotland getting similar concessions to those granted to Northern Ireland. They won’t even talk about it.

None of this was inevitable. Under May’s deal, had it gone through in amended form, Parliament could still have been a major player in Brexit. For three long years, MPs had the power and authority to shape the Withdrawal Agreement – but they blew it. Now, Boris Johnson can do whatever he wants.

Intoxicated by social media flattery and clever arguments from lawyers, Remainer MPs thought that a combination of street demonstrations and court actions could stop Brexit. They should have been working to minimise disruption to supply chains, distress to migrants and damage to trade and investment.

Labour were largely silent this week, probably out of sheer embarrassment. They must know that they helped to make leaving the EU far harder than it need have been. They placed opposing Brexit higher than making the best of Brexit, so they ended up with the worst.

It was common knowledge that most MPs favoured a Norway-style option of remaining in the single market while leaving the political institutions of Europe. Hard Brexiters might have complained that joining the EEA was a sellout, but I’m pretty sure voters would have accepted staying in the single market as the most sensible short-term solution.

Voters weren’t bothered about free trade but about sovereignty and identity. Brexit wasn’t about erecting tariffs but curbing Brussels bureaucracy. It wasn’t really about immigration either. Boris Johnson is already relaxing immigration rules.

And even if Norway proved unacceptable, there could have been a Swiss solution, which basically involves accepting the rules of the single market without actually joining it. This was really what Theresa May’s Brexit deal was moving towards.

It sought “frictionless trade” by keeping the closest possible relationship with the EU.

Her Irish backstop would have kept the entire UK in regulatory alignment with the single market.

But the opposition parties weren’t having it. The SNP which had argued cogently for Norway plus for two years, suddenly turned into hardline Remainers.

The Liberal Democrats went full revoke with disastrous consequences for their leader, Jo Swinson. Labour refused to accept the compromises offered by Theresa May last spring.

Remainers thought they had Boris over a barrel; that he couldn’t reopen the Withdrawal Deal. But he did. His backstop leaves Northern Ireland as a regulatory colony of the EU, but it was undeniably a new deal. Labour condemned it on the grounds that it abandoned Northern Ireland, even though they’d previously claimed the PM was in the pocket of the DUP.

Johnson has wasted no time demonstrating that he is not in the pocket of Donald Trump either by backing a digital tax on Google and by refusing to rule out Huawei’s involvement in 5G. Labour claims that the PM intended to “sell the NHS to Trump” and allow chlorinated chickens to take over the supermarket shelves now look ridiculous.

I know this is not how many of my Remain friends on Twitter see it. To them, Brexit was all about fighting fascism and “nativism”. But the talk of creeping authoritarianism, “dark money”, Russian interference was a kind of paranoid displacement activity – an excuse for not coming to a sensible compromise.

The devolved parliaments last week voted to refuse consent to the Withdrawal Act. But any leverage the Scottish Government may have wielded has been lost by the General Election result. Holyrood will now be sidelined in future legislation on fish and farming.

This week, on the eve of Brexit Day, Nicola Sturgeon says she will give her latest timetable for independence. But the SNP has no answer to the new constitutional reality: it will now be arguing for independence outside the European Union rather than from within it.

We’re out of Europe, and we’re going to stay out for a long time. There will be no referendum this year or next. Brussels is determined to impose a draconian trade deal. Investment in Britain has stalled.

And we’ll have the indignity of going through the “other passports” queue at airports. Brexit really did mean Brexit after all.