If was some forty years before Suez, and not in the heat of the Egyptian desert but in the cold dark of the North Sea that Admiral Beatty commented, as two of his prized battlecruisers blew up at Jutland, "There's something wrong with our bloody ships today". The nation, schooled in an invincible navy, in a formidable fleet, found the losses hard to swallow. Likewise, in a Britain schooled in the notion of a Rolls-Royce civil service, in which the best and brightest in the land devote lives to the nation, and as highly competent mandarins steer the great ship of state with skill and dedication, we are faced with the abject failure of Whitehall.
There's something wrong with the bastards today. Despite May's manifest stubborn stupidity, despite her lunacy in treating Brexit, as Nick Timothy described, as a damage limitation exercise, they should never have permitted her ignorance and idiocy to plunge the United Kingdom into the greatest failure of Statecraft since Suez, as Allister Heath phrases it.
'Boomer' Cox is a caricature, a character from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera or one of the supporting cast of Mortimer's Rumpole. Skilled neither in this specialist area of the law or in statesmanship, his mission has quite predictably failed. The Commons team of eight legal experts have nothing to scrutinise.
The EU will not move a millimetre because it is their sole aim to damage, hurt and humiliate Britain, a repeat Versailles. In this they are assisted by May's scabrous government and a Parliament that still refuses to accept that a majority of voters, 17.4m electors, sealed a mandate to Leave.
Well, sooner or later they must face the ballot box. Any notion they may have that the public anger at her capitulation, at the failure of my party to prevent it, will be forgotten is naive. We have not forgiven Blair for 2003, nor will we. Our memories are long and we carry a grudge deeply. They will not, they cannot succeed in preventing our exit from a failed EU - we only question how much suffering and humiliation will they inflict on Britain before they realise this. The more they prolong it, the greater the force with which they will be thrown from office.