'No one knows how Brexit will end. The hopes of more than 17 million people who voted for it have been sucked into the black hole that is now 10 Downing Street.
With Theresa May’s deal rejected by the House of Commons three times over, she is living from day to day. Ongoing negotiations with the Labour leadership have no clear direction. Brexit is in limbo.
At the same time British politics is in a ferment unlike any this country has known for generations. In a paradoxical twist, the thwarting of Brexit is transforming the British political system into something more like that of continental Europe.
An orderly departure from the EU could have inoculated Britain against the forces that are fuelling the march of populism in so many European countries. But any such benign outcome seems increasingly unlikely. The bungled Brexit our political classes have given us is taking Britain into uncharted territory.
As a Mail on Sunday poll reveals today, 40 per cent of Conservative councillors intend to vote for Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party if Britain takes part in the European elections on May 23 – as it must if it is still in the EU.
Ukip has surged before in European elections – in 2014, it emerged the strongest party with more than 27 per cent of the votes. But never before has the Conservative Party been in such a parlous state as at present.
Polls ahead of local elections in England and Northern Ireland on May 2 suggest it will suffer heavy losses despite struggling to steer its campaign away from Theresa May and her handling of Brexit.
If there is any overall winner from the meltdown in British politics, it will be Jeremy Corbyn – leader of what has become by any normal standards an extremist party.
As a historian of political ideas and movements, I have studied the rise and fall of parties and ideologies in Britain and Europe.
Today we are witnessing a meltdown in British politics with no historical precedent. Both main parties are shedding their traditional supporters at an astonishing rate.
According to a ComRes poll published last week, not much more than half (53 per cent) of 2017 Conservative voters intend to vote Conservative at the next General Election.
Even more ominous for the two main parties, a separate YouGov poll last week showed that if Conservatives campaigned on May’s deal and Labour for a customs union, Farage’s Brexit Party would have a ten per cent lead over both of them.
As we all know, polls can be misleading. Voters are extremely fickle at the present time. But there can be little doubt that they are rejecting the old political class.
The Conservatives are being punished for not delivering Brexit, and Labour for turning its back on working-class Leave voters and toying with a second referendum.'
Read more: Today we are witnessing an unprecedented meltdown in British politics. The centre is disappearing and grave danger lies ahead
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