Any competent leader would have seized the historic chance to deliver a Brexit acceptable to both Remainers and Leavers
THE BBC2 series Icons tells how, in 1915, hero explorer Ernest Shackleton led his 28-man crew from certain death to impossible safety after his ship Endurance vanished beneath the Polar ice.
In a weird twist tomorrow, Theresa May will do precisely the opposite, having taken the SS UK from safe harbour, with a fair wind in her sails, and crashed us into a political iceberg.
Mrs May has frittered away the greatest gift ever handed to an incoming PM — the unprecedented support of more than half the British nation.
Any competent, clear-sighted leader would have seized this historic chance to deliver a self-confident, prosperous post-Brexit Britain acceptable to both Remainers and Leavers.
Instead, for two rudderless years, Skipper May has revolved in ever-decreasing circles, shredded her sails and driven a kitten heel through the ship’s compass.
Tomorrow, she will plunge ahead with a humiliatingly bad deal which is little more than a sick joke at the expense of the 17.4million who voted to leave the European Union.
Her attempts to portray this as some sort of qualified triumph has just been shot down in flames by the very man who filled it with delayed-action booby traps.
German-speaking ex-trade minister Greg Hands reveals the PM has signed a deal carefully designed by little-known but powerful EU officials to punish Britain and break up the UK.
He accuses German Martin Selmayr and others of pushing the loathed “backstop”, which carves Northern Ireland out of the UK for ever and hands it to the EU.
Hands says: “The word from these top EU officials is: ‘Northern Ireland is the price that Britain must pay for Brexit’.”
Selmayr, known as The Monster, denies he is the mastermind. Few believe him.
Last year, he enraged EU chiefs, grabbing a key role as the European Commission’s Secretary-General by stealth and seizing control of the entire Brussels machine and its 30,000 staff.
This puts him in pole position to succeed his boss, Jean-Claude Juncker who lurches into retirement this year as the commission’s supreme leader.
Mrs May, steely-eyed and unflinching at home, has been the first to blink whenever the EU has set out its demands.
Now she has infuriated fellow Tories by flirting with opportunistic Labour MPs and offering concessions to trade union dinosaurs such as Len McCluskey.
“Her first loyalty has always been to the Conservative Party,” says a former ally.
“Yet here she is presiding over its potential destruction.”
The rebellion, led by Tory hypocrite Dominic Grieve, will reach its climax as Tory Remainers gang up with Labour and unSpeakable John Bercow to sabotage Brexit and block No Deal.
A “secret” plan to hijack Commons procedure is being hatched by ex-minister Oliver Letwin, perhaps the silliest clever person in Westminster.
It was Letwin who devised the disastrous poll tax, invited thieves into his house at 5am to “use his loo” and loot his property and casually dumped secret Cabinet papers in a Hyde Park litter bin.
And it was Letwin, “the man in the custard-coloured corduroys”, who drove a stake through free speech in a 2am stitch-up with Labour and the Lib-Dems.
Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith overheard the plotting in an MPs’ cloakroom, perhaps after being alerted by Letwin’s yelping giggle.
He swiftly leaked the scheme to frighten waverers into saving May’s deal.
The rebel rabble have no idea what will happen if they succeed in killing it.
A second referendum giving a clear choice between In and Out might well see an increased vote for Brexit.
Any attempt to fiddle the question would trigger a dangerous backlash.
An emergency election is for the birds. That leaves us with a No Deal Brexit on World Trade terms, which cannot be stopped without a change in the law before March 29.
Forget about the Government’s Apocalypse Now propaganda. Germany is near recession, Italy is already there and France is joining the queue.
Our economy is growing better than most and experts say it will accelerate, whichever way Brexit is resolved.
For that silent 52-per-cent majority, a clean break still seems the right answer.
SHOUTY Remainer Anna Soubry rightly complains about being labelled a “Nazi” by unsavoury protesters.
Yet this publicity-hungry Tory MP is very free with her own insults, casually labelling as “racist” anyone who voted Out – surely a far nastier insult in modern Britain.
Perhaps Ms Soubry should follow her own revolting advice . . . and “just suck it up”.