Theresa May’s weekly media car-crash is now becoming so regular you could set your clock with it. This week’s self-inflicted catastrophe comes in the LBC interview with Iain Dale:

The person in charge of this exercise in national humiliation doesn’t have the guts or the nous to back her own policy.

This is devastating on a number of levels.

First, it’s frankly incredible that a senior politician of any level can go into a media situation so ill-prepared, particularly in the wake of her disastrous conference speech.
Second it’s an absolute gift to the European Brexit negotiators who must be looking at this unfolding fiasco with complete confusion. I doubt they glean any great joy from this chaos but it certainly undermines the idea that they are engaging with some coherent set of coordinated rational beings.
Third it points to a cavernous hole in government leadership.

It gets worse.

120 MPs have signed a letter to David Davis demanding that the government publish the Brexit impact assessments. Public money has funded these impact assessments. It’s outrageous that the Government is keeping them secret.

“Leaving the European Union will have a huge impact on our economy for generations to come,” says the letter, signed by Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP MPs. “We believe it is important that there is a full and frank debate about the impact of Brexit on our economy, jobs, trade and living standards and what can be done to mitigate risks. That is only possible if analysis of the impact of Brexit is published.”

The pressure to publish the advice on article 50 was sparked by a letter from Jessica Simor, a prominent QC, who wrote to May asking her to release the advice under the Freedom of Information Act.

The government is hiding in plain sight, desperately exposed and ridiculous. Damned with faint praise by her colleagues she is now a figure of national ridicule. Presumably she is being kept on the political equivalent of life-support only long enough for her opponents to seize their chance.

Her latest calamity comes at a sensitive time for the Brexit negotiations, with the fifth round of talks under way and progress limited just a year and a half away from the deadline for leaving the bloc.

Her latest statements have included saying:

“While I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for negotiations to succeed, it is also our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality” with the growing consensus that the Conservatives not only don’t know how to succeed in these negotiations, they don’t want to.

On Newsnight a panel of worthy political pundits and senior former civil servants sit around and a seriously discuss a secret group working within the government to scenario-plan around the government collapsing.

This isn’t a normal level of Westminister incompetence.

We are governed by an elite who are drinking the Kool-Aid and enjoying very last drop, an economic death-cult you didn’t elect.

A government and a party who are still riven and divided even after they have inflicted this referendum process.

This is kamikaze politics that can only be understood from within the ideological chamber the Conservatives reside in. While May feebly tries to convey some sense of One Nation Toryism the reality is clearly very different.

As Rafael Nehr puts it: “To make “no deal” sound acceptable, they must belittle the scale of upheaval, yet the only reason for accepting it would be to accelerate drastic change. They do not acknowledge the cliff but they dream of launching from its edge, soaring over the Atlantic once the EU shackles are broken. The psychology of this is rooted in pre-Brexit Conservative folklore. It starts in veneration of Margaret Thatcher’s pugnacious dismantling of state-run industry in the 1980s.”

The Brexit referendum hasn’t lanced the boil of Conservative euro-crisis, nor has it united the country. It has unleashed a new form of turbo-Thatcherism bolted on to a hysterical English nationalism. Brexit will destroy Britain. The challenge is can we escape with a viable economy intact.


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