The Tory Government is heading for the sands. This would have sounded a far fetched thing to say even a few days ago but after a complete shambles of a Budget the Prime Minister’s feet of clay are now in clear view. It is becoming devastatingly obvious that her opinion poll command over English politics is based entirely on Labour incompetence and weakness not Tory competence or strength.

Recently a Government source confided to a London newspaper an insight which sets the scene for the series of events which will make a bad Budget the very least of May’s cumulating problems. “It is possible that we will have to face Nicola Sturgeon calling a second referendum, have to bring in direct rule in Northern Ireland and trigger Article 50 all at the same time.”

The most interesting thing about that quote is that it suggests a Downing Street mindset which sees the timing of these things are random acts of fate as opposed the direct result of action and inaction on the part of the Government.

Most people would absolve Theresa May of responsibility for the Northern Ireland deadlock. They would be wrong. If she had invested just a fraction of the political capital of Major and Blair in the province, or appointed a Northern Irish Secretary of any gravitas whatsoever, then this potentially dangerous impasse could have been avoided or at least avoided for now.

Meanwhile the imminent triggering of article 50 is entirely of her doing.

Back last year a guy called Dominic Cummings was running the Leave Campaign. He was trying to knock down the previous Prime Minister’s suggestion that article 50 would be triggered quickly and chaos would ensue. He gave The Economist this revealing reply: “No-one in their right mind would begin a legally defined two-year maximum period to conduct negotiations before they actually knew, roughly speaking, what the process was going to yield.”

He compared it to putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger. And yet this week, almost unbelievably, the Prime Minister intends to do exactly that.

The moment she sends that fateful article 50 letter then the balance of negotiating power starts to move into the hands of the 27 other European countries. As the two year deadline approaches the power will move even further until eventually the UK will be left clutching at any straw deal to prevent no deal at all.

This weekend at the European Council, as the talk of a £50,000 million leaving bill started to crystallise, it should have began to dawn even on this Prime Minister how difficult it is going to be to avoid that cliff edge she once spoke about.

And finally we come to Scotland. A couple of days ago a Tory peer, a veteran Tory “wet” from the Thatcher era stopped me in the Westminster lobby.

“Did you write that speech Alex? Theresa May in Glasgow. Just like old times, eh? History repeating itself as farce. What on earth was she thinking?”

Delivering that lecture last Friday looked like bad politics on the grounds that most Scots have never liked southern based politicians talking down to them and are also smart enough to detect a London power grab when they see one.

One week later the latest health statistics exposed not just the full extent of England’s accident and emergency crisis but the extent to which the Scottish Health service is performing a full 12 per cent better. The bad politics now also reveals a lack of self awareness on May’s part which is mind boggling. Nicola Sturgeon would be well justified in telling the Prime Minister to get on with the day job.

More seriously that clumsy Conference address probably dispelled any lingering notion that the Scottish Government’s carefully crafted compromise on Europe was going to be treated seriously and respectfully by this tunnel visioned Prime Minister.

Scotland is likely to be dismissed with the same contempt that has been reserved for the 48 per cent of the UK who voted remain, her own doubting back benchers, European citizens living and working among us, the House of Lords and everyone else who offers a contrary line to the prevailing wisdom of the Brexiteers.

I doubt if that is the only view in the Cabinet, even among the key Cabinet Ministers, but it is her view and therefore the only one that counts.

During Hammond’s Budget speech he made a throwaway joke about the last Labour Government, suggesting playfully that the Tories would be in power forever. It was a poor line as it smacked of the hubris that always comes before a fall. Lo and behold by this weekend the Chancellor has been taken down a peg or two.

During May’s Glasgow speech she displayed a degree of Tory arrogance which will also soon come unstuck. In the next week or two the Prime Minister may find that constitutional crises, like London busses, can come along all at once and often three at a time.