The Brexit negotiations are a mess, and the reason is simple: the Brexit campaign failed.
It doesn’t matter how many speeches Theresa May delivers in Florence, or anywhere else, she can’t change that fundamental truth.
And that truth will undermine Britain’s position however long the negotiations last.
Brexit enthusiasts had over 40 years to work out what Brexit means, and to convince a genuine majority that it’s a good idea.
They failed on both counts.
If they had succeeded we would have a widely accepted description of what a successful Brexit negotiation outcome would be.
Instead, we have a lame duck Prime Minister at the head of a lame duck Conservative government.
Fifteen months after the referendum they are still arguing among themselves what Brexit means.
The EU negotiators know all this, and they wonder how we can be so stupid.
If the government still doesn’t know what Brexit means, hat chance did Brexit voters have?
When they put an X in the Leave box, how could they possibly know what they would get?
If Brexit supporters had succeeded in persuading a genuine majority, then the country would come together and take a unified approach to negotiations.
Instead they only persuaded 37 per cent of the electorate to vote for an undefined objective.
The vote was heavily influenced by a tabloid press who printed, over a period of many years, grossly misleading stories about the EU and complete lies about immigration.
A tabloid press owned mainly by people who aren’t even British citizens, or who live abroad and pay no UK taxes.
Yet Brexit supporters describe the outcome as “the will of the people”.
They think it’s fine for foreigners to influence the outcome of a British referendum.
So much for “taking back control”; this is very far from democratic.
Brexit isn’t a re-run of the Battle of Britain, when we stood alone against a foreign foe, however much our sham patriotic MPs and the tabloid press would have us believe.
Brexit is an act of national humiliation.
We are the laughing stock of the world.