MY poll card for the European elections arrived the other day. What a fiasco! I was so thankful not to have to vote in the recent local elections and decide who to support.

The two main parties were hammered. They dropped councils and seats like flies as the public (ignoring that this was a local government election) delivered their verdict on the way Brexit was being handled. The Greens, Lib Dems and Independents reaped the benefit, picking up loads of seats.

The parties, pundits and public were all over the news, giving us their spin. “They’re telling us to get on with Brexit and finish the job,” said our discredited Prime Minister, pleading for Labour to help her.

“No,” said the Greens and Lib Dems, “It’s a clear cry that the country wants to remain in Europe – let’s have another referendum.” Labour seemed confused, some calling for another referendum, others for a general election. And the long-suffering British public? An array of interviews told of spoiled ballot papers, citizens not voting, desertion of long-standing loyalties and disgust with the political class and process.

I ruminated on the results over a drink in the pub with a friend. She works in Switzerland, commuting by plane from London every week (I thought I had a long journey!) “What do the Swiss make of it all,” I asked? “They think we’re mad,” she replied. Because of its neutrality (i.e. handling stolen gold and selling Nescafe to both sides during the war…) Switzerland didn’t enter the common market. They have a free trade deal that means accepting free movement of people, regulations decided by the EU and contributing to the EU coffers. “They spent years negotiating it,” she went on. “It cost them dear. They see Britain throwing away the sort of deal with Europe that they would have loved, with the opt outs we’ve negotiated over the years, and replacing it with a worse deal; trying to take on the world alone and abandoning the biggest trading market on their doorstep. They think we’re mad!”

Radio 4 produced an academic who specialised in understanding opinion polls. If the referendum was rerun today, he said, it would return an overwhelming majority for remaining in Europe. More leavers have become remainers than remainers leavers; older voters have been replaced by younger ones. The result, he predicted, would be 60 per cent in favour of remaining.

I have no idea whether he is right. I despair. Our forebears fought hard and even died for the right to vote and participate in the political process. The mother of all parliaments (that first met just up the road at Clarendon Palace – always worth the walk) was once the envy of the world. In just a few years, we have turned it into a laughing stock.