Richard North, 18/10/2018  

While Mrs May was playing away in Brussels yesterday, I was visiting the Musée des Blindes in Samur, perhaps the biggest tank museum in Europe apart from Bovington in the UK.

But while Bovington easily exceeds in number the tanks in its collection, there can be no dispute that Samur has quite the most comprehensive array of historic French tanks in the world – as one might expect.

Pictured is the Char B in the Samur collection – the backbone of the French Army in 1940 when the Germans came invading, and the most powerful tank on the battlefield. Furthermore, when the UK forces were taken into account, the number of allied tanks far exceeded in numbers the Germans were able to field.

In qualitative and quantitative terms, therefore, the allies had the best of the Germans, yet the German Army was still able to sweep to victory, brushing aside the French Army which had yet to learn how to deploy its armour to effect.

And therein, perhaps, lies another lesson for Mrs May: you can have might (and right) on your side but, unless you are able to put your available resources to good use, you are unlikely to win your battles. In fact, you are actually likely to lose, whence you end up in a perilous retreat from Europe.

The trouble is, of course, that Mrs May seems beyond learning. She has gone to Brussels with the same failed strategies that she has presented right from the beginning, with no more chance of success than she had when she started.

The Irish Times is relatively kind to our dear leader, but there is still no deal on the offing and Mrs May has put nothing on the table that can take us closer to a deal.

What is rather worrying though is that the "colleagues" seem to have given up on the idea of an emergency European Council in November, while the parties are actively taking about extending the transition period.

How this could work without a withdrawal agreement in place hasn't been specified but, if there is any truth in it, then we are looking at a glorious fudge, with the cannery being kicked firmly down the road.

We'll know better when we've seen the communiqué later today but, for the moment there really should be a single word in the English language for "I told you so". It would save so much effort on my part, as we confront a European Council outcome more or less exactly as predicted.

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