FOREVER in hock to a creepy wartime metaphor, Theresa May tells us that she will be “battling for Britain” over Brexit. Mrs May will presumably take to her Spitfire, fly over the white cliffs of Dover and return with the treaty of treaties, solving the question of the Irish border at the last minute. A latter-day Biggles seeing off those damn continentals, and keeping uppity Celts in their place.

In fact, a better wartime metaphor for her is a kamikaze pilot about to crash her plane into the Good Ship Britannia, risking all onboard.

For the umpteenth time, there is no renegotiation of the Irish Border with the EU; it isn’t up for discussion. The idea of a Malthouse Compromise – which sounds like an MI6 honeytrap operation – suddenly solving the issue of the backstop is absurd. The will of the 27 is fixed and no 1940s Tory fantasy will change that.

Downing Street’s one-woman fighter squadron is wasting her time, and ours, as the clock ticks down to March 29 and D-Day. Pick what you’d like the D to stand for– disaster, delirium, devastation, doom, deep in the do-do – it’ll all mean the same to ordinary British people.

Mrs May’s insistence on her vision of Brexit is now in the realms of psychological fixation. It goes beyond ideology. Like those kamikaze pilots, she views the will of the people like the will of the emperor: once uttered, it can never be questioned, or asked for again. This is the mindset of the self-destructive obsessive – and obsessives don’t care who gets hurt as long as they get their way.

The signs of injury are now rising on the body of Britain like great welts, even before Brexit. Nissan won’t be making its shiny new X-Trail in Sunderland, citing Brexit uncertainty. Construction growth is close to stalling as no-deal fears cause building companies to delay new projects. Almost a third of UK companies are considering moving some operations abroad. And finance chiefs say Brexit presents the biggest risk to business, with almost 80 per cent predicting a worsening corporate environment.

Who does all this hurt? The Jacob Rees-Moggs and James Dysons of the world? I don’t think so. It hurts factory workers, builders, office staff, shop-keepers – it hurts ordinary people across Britain. In Mrs May’s martial fantasies, we are the collateral damage – our jobs and families.

There’s even talk of the Queen being evacuated if Brexit turns nasty and there’s rioting in the streets. This takes wartime nostalgia into the realm of performance art – with Mrs Windsor fleeing a burning Buck House in her Winceyette nightie. Exit pursued by a Remainer.

Even if the Queen survives the zombie apocalypse – or whatever emergency planners think might occur if the people go nuts after Brexit Day – just look at the world which awaits us.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have both announced they will withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The treaty brought the end of the Cold War a step closer and has been a foundation stone of international peace. Now it’s dead. The gunmen in Ireland sit quietly waiting for any excuse to start killing again. Already, there’s been a bombing and shootings in Derry.

The world outside the EU will be a cold and lonely one for Mrs May’s Britain. This isn’t a world in which to be isolated. We need Europe much more than it needs us – even if it’s just to eat.

But don’t worry about starving. Charles Moore, an old Etonian who edited the Daily Telegraph and is currently completing his disconnection from reality, wrote in The Spectator of his solution to “the coming shortage of green groceries of which several supermarkets warned yet again”. Moore thinks that a Brexit recipe book might be a good idea “like those comforting wartime rationing ones full of bright ideas for dull things”. He rhapsodises about stored apples “carefully laid out on straw-strewn shelves” – presumably by some noble yokel, escaped from the pages of a Thomas Hardy novel.

Another old Etonian, Boris Johnson, dumped 70 sheets of parliamentary notes – including, with beautiful irony, his own thoughts on Brexit and the fact that there’s no strategy for no deal – into a bin at a petrol station recently. In the notes, this useless master of the universe, refers to the British people as “lions led by donkeys” – another metaphor harking back to war, this time 1914-18 – and he should know. In any braying donkey competition, he would be guaranteed gold.

Other parliamentary idiots would be good for silver and bronze. Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury, couldn’t resist a spot of military rhetoric in an anti-EU rant when he said there had been “no Marshall Plan for us, only for Germany”. In this man’s “mind”, the UK received no money from America’s $12 billion pot to rebuild Europe after the Second World War … even though we got 20 per cent, more than any country.

These are the people to lead us to greatness in the coming Battle of Britain. They are not fit to lead, they are the danger.

Mrs May’s plan will destroy anyone who allies with her. Already, Jeremy Corbyn, who deserves a knighthood for services to ineffectuality, is seeing membership of his party and polling figures crumble as he plays footsie over Brexit. Tory grandee Oliver Letwin has warned that “my party will not be forgiven for many years” if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal. Even Mr Letwin, the architect of the poll tax, knows his party is going to get hammered for its actions. kamikaze May already has her first targets lined up to crash into – her own party and the Labour fools who assist her mad folly in any way.

And all this is why there must be a pause. There may not be a second referendum – though pray that happens – but there has to be a delay in withdrawal now. Surely, even Mrs May can see that, through the fog of her flight goggles. Just before the plane is about to crash, she can still pull up and avoid destruction.

Hit the big red Article 50 button with Abort Mission written on it, and don’t take Britain down with you, Wing Commander.

Read more: The only way to avoid No Deal