If May’s near-coup triggers a backlash no one should be surprised

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Theresa May was, by some measures, quite successful yesterday.

She changed the direction of financial markets. This must have been good for hedge funds.

She threatened the EU although she has only hollow threats with which to do so. But at least they can be sure where they stand now.

She tore up all the UK's existing relationships with the EU, leaving us pretty much at the mercy of President Trump, as Michael Gove desires.

And she told parliament they may discuss what she is doing in a data free vacuum as she will supply no costings, and as far as she is concerned they will have no real option to veto whatever she might be proposing. Bizarrely, only Jolyon Maugham is seeking to determine whether there is an alternative here.

The net result is that May thinks she has torn up the basis on which almost all our international relations are defined; has threatened to change the entire cost structure of our economy; has utterly changed our rights to travel and reside elsewhere; has threatened the residence of three million people living peaceably in this country and that of maybe two million more living in the EU; has threatened economic warfare; and has done all this without three things.

The first is a mandate: the referendum clearly did not sanction these actions as they were not referred to.

The second is authority: she is herself unelected.

The third is any apparent idea as to the consequences, none of which she appears to have reasonably anticipated, let alone explained or costed.

What has happened then? It would quite reasonably seem that a government without a mandate has taken power without the necessary authority to do so and is using that power to ensure that the politics, economy and constitution of the state are to be irrevocably (it hopes) changed. I can't quite call that a coup, but it is about as close to one as it gets. If that gives rise to a backlash in the future when the consequences become even more apparent I really would not be surprised. Treating much of the country with the contempt that so much of her language revealed yesterday is not a basis for political stability.

And that worries me almost as much as the near coup itself.