ABOUT eight months ago, this column observed the impossibility of avoiding a Brexit metaphor when viewing a poster in a Paris metro station advertising LES FAUX BRITISH Une vraie comédie catastrophe. The production is still running. And the bill posters in the Paris metro system have been updated.

What is most eye-catching about the new posters is the message, ‘L’Aventure Continue. Tout l’été’. The UK’s Brexit “adventure” surely has continued all summer, with the drama reaching epic proportions this week as Boris Johnson has suffered defeat after defeat in the House of Commons. It has been heartening to see his drive for an October 31 departure from the European Union, “no matter what”, resisted strongly by a significant majority in Parliament. At least most MPs seem to realise the catastrophic effects of a no-deal Brexit, even if he does not.

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Back at the turn of the year, former prime minister Theresa May had seemed to believe she could complete one part of her Brexit “adventure” by the previously planned exit date of March 29. But her withdrawal agreement with the EU, which would have brought a still-very-damaging hard Brexit although not a situation as chaotic as the no-deal scenario which seems to hold no fear personally for Mr Johnson, was defeated several times in Parliament.

The latest poster for LES FAUX BRITISH, at the Théâtre Saint-Georges, continues to feature the “H” falling off the end of “BRITISH”, as well as a sword stuck in a burning armchair. One leg is off the armchair, which has a spring coming out of it and is propped up with some books. A side-table is also missing a leg. The side-table continues, eight months on and one prime minister later, to look as precariously balanced as the Conservative Government.

Deep divisions within the Conservative Party are, thankfully, helping keep the country a little bit back from the abyss, along with the sterling efforts of many MPs in the SNP, Liberal Democrat and Labour ranks. The likes of former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke deserve great credit for opposing the dangerous “do or die” Hallowe’en Brexit road which the Prime Minister is so hell-bent on pursuing. Mr Clarke was joined in opposing Mr Johnson by a more recent Conservative chancellor, Philip Hammond.

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For Mr Johnson, and his Hallowe’en dream, the original title of the production at the Théâtre Saint-Georges, The Play that Goes Wrong, seems most apposite right now. The play, of course, has nothing to do with Brexit. It is about seven lovers of English noir novels who decide to create a show when they have never been on stage. However, it is set about a century ago, which is notable given many Brexiters’ seeming wish to turn the clock back. And Mr Johnson, given this week’s votes, has perhaps found the lead role to be more difficult than it looked.

When boarding a plane at Charles de Gaulle airport on Tuesday evening – ahead of big defeats in Parliament for Mr Johnson later that night and the following day – it was interesting to see the Prime Minister was the main story on the front pages of the major French newspapers.

Le Figaro ran with ‘Brexit: Boris Johnson veut imposer sa loi au Parlement’ (‘Brexit: Boris Johnson wants to impose his law on Parliament’). Below there was an editorial entitled ‘Boris la Menace’ (‘Boris the Threat’). Pages two and three were given up entirely to the Brexit crisis.

Le Monde’s front page proclaimed ‘Brexit: Johnson en guerre contre son Parlement’ (‘Brexit: Johnson at war with his Parliament’). Le Monde also devoted pages two and three to the UK’s Brexit crisis with ‘Boris Johnson bataille avec le Parlement pour imposer son Brexit’ (‘Boris Johnson battles with Parliament to impose his Brexit’).

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The emphasis on “his law” and “his Brexit”is most appropriate, given Mr Johnson’s utter refusal to listen to reason on the grim effects of no-deal on millions of UK households, even from fellow Conservatives.

LES FAUX BRITISH was, around the turn of the year, in its third season, and had notched up more than 400,000 spectators. The latest posters show it is in its fifth season, with 500,000 people having already seen it. The number of people in the UK watching the Brexit drama with growing horror is, of course, much greater than these albeit-impressive audience numbers. And sadly the UK population cannot escape the unfolding Brexit farce, or more importantly its dire consequences, by walking out of the theatre.

As Mr Johnson appears to revel in the drama, shrugging off embarrassing defeats in his attempt to prevent MPs making key moves to thwart a no-deal departure and his subsequent effort to force a general election, the real-life effects of the Brexit folly continue to materialise.

The pound remains at lowly levels, although it has been buoyed a bit this week by Parliament’s move to rein in Mr Johnson and thwart a no-deal exit. Bloomberg financial journalist Tracy Alloway tweeted a graph of the pound’s tumble in recent months with a super-imposed cut-out of a picture of arch-Brexiter and Cabinet member Jacob Rees-Mogg slouching in Parliament this week, with the comment: “A rare Resting Rees-Mogg pattern spotted in sterling. Bearish.”

Surveys this week from the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply have signalled the UK’s private-sector economy contracted in August, with falls in manufacturing and construction output and services growth grinding to a near-halt.

This prompted warnings of an increased likelihood of recession. The UK economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter so a further contraction in the three months to September would mean it had fallen into recession. And that is even before we get to Hallowe’en.

Confederation of British Industry president John Allan warned last night that the people most affected by an economic shock, or a recession, from a no-deal Brexit would be those who are “already struggling, whose jobs and livelihoods are being recklessly overlooked”.

Many of these people voted for Brexit and continue to believe the fantasy being peddled by Mr Johnson and fellow arch-Brexiters about some wonderful future for the UK outside the EU, deal or no-deal. Politicians of all parties have a duty to protect the living standards of people who are “already struggling” and the population at large from grim Brexit damage, a message that seems lost on many Conservative MPs and a small number on the Labour benches.