Is Jeremy Corbyn looking at different polls to the rest of us? He must be, since he seems to be under the impression that he is going to be the next Prime Minister. Speaking yesterday, the Labour leader reiterated that he and his party were “champing at the bit” for a general election. It’s the sort of phrase which rarely works for him, afflicted as he is with the oratorical style of an economics teacher, but the sentiment seemed sincere. There were even briefings doing the rounds that that Mr Corbyn would countenance an election as early as November 28.

Now, we all know that elections are unpredictable things. Look at 2017. When the election was called on April 18, Labour was on 25% in the polls. On election day, Mr Corbyn polled 40%.

But as we also know, past performance is no guarantee of future results. With many voters entrenched in their views on Brexit, such volatility is less likely.

Probably the most likely outcome of a general election, therefore, is another hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party, but shorn of some of their more moderate elements and, potentially, propped up by the Brexit Party.

That would mean game over for any chance of a referendum, and might well spell doom for the British economy as a no-deal Brexit became unavoidable.

We can’t be sure of this, of course. The Brexit Party might fail as Ukip so often did to pick up MPs, leaving Mr Johnson short of the numbers he needs to get legislation through. But from where we stand now, it has to be a possibility.

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Mr Johnson met the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday and the two men said they could see a “pathway to a possible deal”. If so, that would change everything. But both men want to be seen to be trying for the sake of their domestic audiences. Handfuls of salt are required.

And so in the absence of concrete signs to the contrary, a cliff-edge exit remains the most likely outcome.

Let’s just absorb that for a moment: a no-deal Brexit shoved through deliberately by a British Prime Minister.

We all get inured to unpalatable things by habituation: torrential summer rain, unblocking drains, Katie Hopkins. But the attempt by the British Government to normalise the idea of a no-deal Brexit, as if it were a hurricane heading towards the British Isles from which we have no escape, is something which no responsible person in possession of the facts would ever accept.

The evidence of its catastrophic implications is manifold. This week, the Institute of Fiscal Studies reported it would push public debt next year to its highest level in 50 years. The Scottish Government warned of sectarian disorder on Scottish streets mirroring likely trouble in Northern Ireland.

But worst of all, it is now beyond doubt that lives are at risk from a no-deal Brexit. Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England and Wales, said as much yesterday. People could lose their lives because of a shortage of medicines, technology and other equipment necessary for the functioning of the NHS. This is the politics of the wrecking ball.

So what is the alternative? The alternative is an unprecedented effort of courage and goodwill between the opposition parties to create an interim government, primarily to avert no-deal, but also to legislate for a fresh referendum.

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This is fraught with difficulties. Who leads it? Is there a majority in the Commons for a referendum? If there were, how long would the interim government have to be in place in order to oversee the referendum? How would the Government decide policy in other areas, like health, education and home affairs, if pressing decisions were necessary? Would it resurrect Theresa May’s deal to put on the ballot paper against Remain? And how would the public react to the postponement of a general election?

The notion of a government of individuals transcending party tribalism is beguiling but the failure of opposition politicians to agree so far suggests it’s a long shot.

And so what then? Well, then it comes down to Boris Johnson’s whim. Might that ultimately be what prevents the UK crashing out of the EU?

It seems unlikely, I admit, wildly so, but then Boris Johnson can’t possibly want a no-deal Brexit. How could he? What does he really feel, I wonder, slumped on the Downing Street sofa, when he thinks about his legacy? The real problem staring back at Johnson from the bottom of his glass, is public opinion on Brexit. This was always finely balanced, but the signs are that voters’ views, which first shifted decisively in favour of remain in 2017, are continuing to move in that direction.

A YouGov poll-of-polls examining 300 surveys shows that a 51/49 split in favour of remain in 2017 has now widened to 53/47. Slightly more Leave than Remain voters have switched their vote, people who were undecided in 2016 now favour Remain, more young people have become eligible to vote, and elderly people who were more likely to vote Leave, have passed away.

Talk of medicine, food and fuel shortages, and price rises, has not failed to register with voters either. Only 34% back leaving the EU without a deal, according to a BMG poll this week, while 51% want another outcome. Yes, Boris Johnson could push through no-deal but it would be a Pyrrhic victory – think of the debt and the public spending constraints. It would be a prelude to an almighty public backlash, gaining him the ignominious label of Britain’s worst PM.

We don’t really know what Boris Johnson stands for in a whole host of areas. He has no clear philosophy. But we do know what moves him: self-interest. And if his Brexit strategy starts to look as if it will destroy him rather than exalt him, might a different course be possible?

Dominic Cummings, with Mr Johnson’s enthusiastic connivance, has boxed the Government in to a policy that is not in the country’s interests, or Boris Johnson’s, or even, in the long term, his party’s.

He must know this, or at least some of it, but is consumed with the desire to win an election. At some point, he will surely realise that there is something worse than not being Prime Minister: being considered an abject failure. The question is whether this happens before he takes us all over the edge.