Boris Johnson UK Brexit Tories
(Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

It's a big week in the politics of the Anglosphere when one ancient party tears itself apart, a president sacks the foreign policy supremo who was running him, and the prime minister of a third says he'd be happy to give a urine sample. Is there some common process underlying this, other than Pythonesque absurdity? Or are these fundamentally different processes, as separate polities become more distinct, under the pressure of populism?

The obvious temptation is to identify one common theme, which is the structural weakness and collapse of the mainstream right (as part of a wider collapse of mainstream politics). In the UK, Boris Johnson's crisis strategy appears to have been more deliberate than his detractors would claim, but less deliberate than his rapidly thinning band of champions would admit.

The best one can say about Boris is that if this was a conscious strategy, it was one of fomenting total crisis, since the UK PM's two "clean" options -- ahead of being obliged to request an extension on October 19 -- are either to resign or to defy the law. Less clean, he could to try and find some loophole in the wording. Thoroughly debased, he could to try some sniveling reintroduction of a variant of May's withdrawal bill, get it through on a mix of ex-Tory and Labour rebel votes, and go to an election hoping that potential Brexit Party defectors will be sated by actual departure.