Shakespeare’s phrase from Hamlet, one of the great political primers of our civilisation, “hoist with his own petard”, seems all too pertinent for those who rule the country where he was born more than 500 years ago.
Toxic Brexit divisions have rendered Westminster all but as redundant as Stormont.
The House of Commons is now almost a single issue parliament; dysfunction and extremism working hand in glove towards a single, contested objective.
It is as difficult to imagine the final bill for this bitterness as it is to imagine the final outcome of Brexit.
Two weekend polls showing that support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party has soared will hardly help steady the ship. One poll shows support for Farage’s party in the upcoming European elections is higher than that for the two main parties combined.
The Brexit party is on 34%, Labour is at 21%, while the Conservatives have collapsed, attracting the support of barely more than one in 10 voters at 11%.
It is difficult to see how the Conservative party might, in its present form at least, survive such a tumult.
It is difficult to imagine that Theresa May would not be replaced by a single-issue zealot. It is equally difficult not to be concerned for the future character and integrity of British democracy. the stakes are indeed that high.
Which, unsurprisingly, can be described by another line from Hamlet: “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”