Is Theresa May the worst Prime Minister any of us has ever seen, combining the social skills of Gordon Brown with the charm of Edward Heath and the quick-wittedness of James ‘crisis, what crisis’ Callaghan?
Or is she, in fact, a strategic and tactical mastermind who is today on the verge of delivering what she always intended: Britain’s submission to permanent membership of the European Union?
After all, she always claimed to be a Remainer, even if her contribution to the 2016 referendum campaign was all but invisible. Albeit fractionally more evident than that of the other theoretical Remainer who is currently leader of the Labour Party.
Being currently about two thirds of the way through Tim Shipman’s excellent book on the aftermath of the Brexit vote, Fall Out, I find it very hard to discount the abundant evidence that Mrs May is a socially dsyfunctional incompetent who is utterly and hopelessly out of her depth at 10 Downing Street.
The one brief meeting I had with her myself, many years ago, also inclines my thoughts in that direction.
And yet here we are having had her version of Brexit now voted down twice by the very people who campaigned for us to Leave the EU, with the guarantee that what will follow is either a much softer version even of Mrs May’s Brexit In Name Only; or another referendum, in the hope that the racist idiots who failed to heed their voting instructions last time will have learned their lesson by now; or a general election that may yet deliver us into the hands of the closest thing to a communist government Britain has ever seen.
Any of these achievements would surely be enough to guarantee Mrs May an honoured place in the pantheon of Utterly Useless Prime Ministers, right up there with Lord North, Spencer Perceval and Anthony Eden.
Oh, and of course David Cameron for thinking that he could resolve Conservative Party differences over Europe via a referendum in the first place.
But perhaps, as a self-effacing Christian with a deep dedication to public service, this is what Non-Mother Theresa planned all along. Sacrificing her own reputation to ensure that her country’s future is no longer that of a nation, but of a compliant province of the rapidly evolving United States of Europe.
The late Auberon Waugh was famously convinced that our native politicians were so useless and corrupt that the country would be best governed by a junta of Belgian ticket inspectors. I suspect that even he might have baulked at the prospect of placing our fate in the hands of Guy Verhofstadt, but nothing that has occurred in the fateful years since the General Election of 2015 would surely have raised his opinion of the British political class one iota.
We have entered a parallel universe in which The Thick Of It would seem like a dull and serious documentary, compared with the total omnicatastroshambles that is the British Parliament today.
How is it possible that someone of the serial and apparently limitless incompetence of Chris Grayling is still in a job – any job? That John Bercow somehow clings on as Speaker? Or, indeed, that someone with the intellectual limitations and dubious past associations of Jeremy Corbyn is apparently within reach of becoming Her Majesty’s First Minister?
Apart from the absence of the Luftwaffe popping over with nightly deliveries of high explosive and incendiaries, we appear to be in almost as desperate a mess as the one we faced in May 1940. With the difference that the best we can expect to replace our failing Prime Minister is not Winston Churchill, but Boris Johnson
It’s a grim time to be alive, by any standards, and even a blue passport fan and bring back £sd diehard like myself is getting to the point of thinking and saying Please Just Make It Stop.
So for a moment I shall attempt to rise above the misery and reflect on the rich irony that, in a hundred years’ time, pigeons may well be relieving themselves in Council (formerly Parliament) Square on the statue of the genius who cemented Britain into Europe by making such a hopeless hash of her pretended efforts to take us out of it.