IT'S at a distance yet we watch with morbid fascination as the Brits lurch toward crisis. This is real drama. Will it be cliff-edge Brexit, non-Brexit or half-baked Brexit? Will Prime Minister Theresa May survive? Is the likely outcome anything like what people voted for or against in the referendum?
May's Secretary for Transport has resigned, no doubt in the knowledge that the country's port and other infrastructure is in no way equipped to cope with a sudden departure from the EU customs union.
Catastrophe could lie ahead, both for the Brits and the EU. The manufacturing exchange built up so successfully over 40 years could be suddenly ruptured.
What has caused all this? Could answers to the snags not have been worked out before even asking the question about Brexit? Had nobody considered the impossible question of the Northern Ireland border? Why was Article 50 – setting in motion the withdrawal process – triggered before answers had been found? Will the politicians ever be forgiven?
History unfolds in Europe in a way it has not since the collapse of communism. The unity and stability of the whole continent could be compromised. And the wonder is that the mess is wholly self-inflicted.
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. There really is no other satisfactory explanation.
A RADIO exchange in the North Atlantic comes this way:
"This is the USS Montana requesting that you immediately divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision. Over."
"Please change your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid collision. Over."
"This is Captain Hancock. You will divert your course. Over."
"Negative captain. I'm not moving anything. Change your course. Over."
"Sir this is the USS Montana the second largest vessel in the North Atlantic fleet. You will change course 15 degrees north or I will take measures to ensure the safety of this ship. Over."
"This is a lighthouse … Hello…"
THE American mid-term elections are not quite over. A late result shows a Democrat has won an Arizona senate seat which had been held by the Republicans for 24 years. Recounts are automatically under way in Florida where the provisional results were was so close that by law they have to look again.
An outcome is being challenged in Georgia. In Mississipi there will be a run-off election in a month because neither candidate got 50% of the vote.
It's all very complicated and a little boring. President Donald Trump himself is sick and tired of it. According to the New Yorker, he has warned that recounts "could set a dangerous precedent of the person with the most votes winning."
"Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said that those in favour of the recount had a 'sick obsession with finding out which candidate got the most votes. Since when does getting the most votes mean you win?'
"Having just returned from the Armistice commemoration in Paris, Trump said that Florida's recount has made America 'the laughingstock of the world,' adding: 'Putin told me they never do recounts in Russia.'"
Yes, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again. What would we do without him?
"DOCTOR, doctor, I keep thinking I'm a racehorse."
"Nonsense. Just take one of these pills every four furlongs."
Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.