New Delhi: Theresa May is clearly unable to provide leadership to Britain. She should end the agony to herself and to the country by calling for elections. History would probably be charitable to May at least for trying to negotiate a proper Brexit from the European Union. Too many things have gone wrong which could perhaps be set right by an early election.

The Brexit referendum took place at a time when Britain was angry with Europe and unreasonably confident about the future. When David Cameron ordered the referendum and campaigned for Brexit alongwith his cabinet and the irrepressible Boris Johnson, the motley crew was rather unsure of the outcome and wouldn’t necessarily have taken a “no” as a bad thing. They might even have been secretly relieved. “People like them” who led cushy lives in London and in country manors were rather startled when “people quite unlike them” who had to struggle to make ends meet were rather taken in by the Conservative Party con that Brexit would flood Britain with milk and honey.

The British public were also not helped by the fact that the Labour party had passed into the hands of someone as radical and dysfunctional as Jeremy Corbyn. The Brexit referendum came from what appears like a psychological blindsiding of the Tories by Labour. In a bid to prove more radical than Labour, the referendum was approved. Within their hearts, Cameron and Co. perhaps hoped that the referendum would shoot down Brexit. It upheld it, however, with a thin majority, and cast Britain without direction or purpose into an unmapped ocean.

Into this mess played another factor. The British Parliament suffered a panic attack at the impending reality of Brexit without having properly considered the consequences of the referendum. Questions about the constitutionality of the referendum which should have been raised before came after. Wisdom subsequently dawned on Parliament and a large majority of the population that they had sleepwalked into a referendum which could imperil Britain beyond reason. From this grew a demand for a second referendum which was rather beside the point. If the first referendum was unconstitutional or, less pompously, legally deficient, how could the second escape the same taint? Constitutionality cannot be determined by a “remain” or “leave” vote.

Seeing the spot he was in, Cameron bailed out. In the bruising succession war in the Conservative party accompanied by nasty leaks to the press, May beat the likes of Boris Johnson in which all sides tried to out-Brexit the other. Eventually, Boris left, his Rightist hard line getting uglier by the day, and returned to the muck-racking that had brought him in the first place to politics. Johnson’s departure far from lightening May’s leaky ship left it unchanged for a course to disaster. Shuttling between London and European capitals, she was sadly reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain appeasing Adolf Hitler. Now with Theresa May’s Brexit deal defeated for a second time in Parliament, it leaves the prime minister isolated and Britain in a tattered state. Worsening the crisis is Jeremy Corbyn’s unimaginative leadership of the Labour Party.

Fresh elections would be tricky unless they are constitutionally empowered to override the referendum. The benefit of a fresh mandate is that the ruling side has the numbers (unless it is a hung house) and the broad internal consensus to negotiate and get passed better terms for Britain. The outcome may be Brexit-lite or a resounding “remain” vote. The present uncertainty is haemorrhaging Britain.