IT'S almost two years since Britain voted to leave the European Union and there is still no coherent plan for what happens when we do. There is no Plan B - there is no Plan A. It's not just that the British government has a blank sheet of paper - it doesn't even have the paper. In fact, it's been arguing about whether there needs to be any paper at all.

Yet, in only six months the withdrawal agreement has to be finalised with Brussels so that it can be sent to the EU's 27 states for ratification before Article 50 closes in March. The EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, says the Irish Border issue has to be settled at next month's EU Council. But last week the UK cabinet committee dealing with Brexit said, in effect: cheer up, it may never happen.

There is a perverse method to this madness. Avoidance of a plan is the preferred option of a clique of Tory nationalists who don't want any kind of deal with the EU. They are the Punk Brexiteers, mostly members of the Tory European Research Group (ERG) like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who actually favour a chaotic departure from the EU. Like Johnny Rotten, they don't want an agreement, they just “wanna destroy”.

Punk Brexiteers say Britain should ignore the EU, revert to World Trade Organisation tariffs, and forget about things like regulatory compliance. Indeed, some ERG economists want to abolish tariffs altogether. Let everything in, even if unfair imports from low-wage countries like Indonesia destroy British businesses.

This so-called 'Clean Brexit' would mean chaos at the borders, the effective repartition of Ireland, the departure of Japanese car firms and financial services and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. But by golly, it would certainly shake things up! British workers would have to accept developing world wages; public spending would be axed; the NHS would be privatised; there would be a bonfire of health and safety regulations. But out of this would emerge, so the anarcho-Brexiters believe, a lean virile and free Britain ready to take on the world as it did back in the glory days of the British Empire.

Theresa May doesn't subscribe to Brexit apocalypse, not least because it would probably mean the Tories losing every general election for the next half century. But she's held hostage by the anarcho-Brexit clique and is too weak to resist. Last week, in cabinet committee, they imposed what is laughingly called the “Max Fac” solution, which is Brexit short-hand for “maximum facilitation”. This is the theory that various forms of technical make up can be used to disguise the the fact that leaving without a deal means a rock hard border with the EU.

To most of us this is a statement of the bleedin' obvious: a border is what “taking back control” means. However, in the parallel universe that is Brexit, borders are not to be spoken of – at least not in front of the children. There is to be a “frictionless” relationship with the EU that lets in money and trade without any awkward tariffs, non-tariff barriers, health certificates or issues of regulatory compliance. (This lack of friction was precisely what the European Union's Customs Union and Single Market were designed to achieve, but they are not to be spoken of either). Instead, we have Max Factor.

Theresa May's favoured compromise proposal was the NCP – which has nothing to do with car parks, and means New Customs Partnership. This partnership would replicate all the rules of the EU Customs Union, but only for goods going to and from the EU. The problem here is two fold: first, it is a form of customs union, which Tory ministers say is incompatible with Brexit. And second, there is no way round the “rules of origin” problem.

Say that flour is imported customs free from North Africa and baked into Mr Kipling cakes. When they are exported to the EU, how do you identify the flour, which is not tariff-free, from the cake, which is? This is why customs unions have common external tariffs. The Brexit cabinet sub-committee agreed by 6 to 5 that the PM's NCP should be parked somewhere East of Dover.

All this takes us precisely nowhere, since both NCP and Max Fac have already been ruled out by the European Union as impractical, incoherent and unlikely to resolve the border issue in Northern Ireland. It hasn't gone away, you know. The UK cabinet no longer attempts to explain its solution to the problem of avoiding a border appearing between Northern Ireland, which is out of the the EU, and the Republic of Ireland, which is in it. This will be Britain's only land border with Europe - highly-porous, three hundred odd miles long, with some two hundred crossing points, all of which will have to be policed one way or another.

Enter our flexible friend Max Factor again who will wave some cosmetic magic and make the border - puff - disappear. Except that Brussels and the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, aren't fooled and insist the only way to resolve the border is for the North to remain in regulatory alignment with the EU Customs Union. The British government agreed to regulatory alignment as a “back stop” in December, but has since tried to un-agree it, retrospectively. This is a desperate crisis for the British political and administrative class, who have wasted two years failing to avert the apocalypse. But it represents victory for the anarcho-Brexiteers.

Old Etonian Rees-Mogg seems an unlikely anarchist, but he represents a tendency in the Conservative Party that believes the state is evil and should be destroyed so that the free market can work its magic unobstructed by interfering bureaucrats. This view, dressed in academic robes by US economists like Milton Friedman and in the UK by the arch-Thatcherite and ERG guru, Professor Patrick Minford, is generally considered to be incompatible with democracy. This is because it would lead to destitution for millions of people who rely on the state for their health and social security.

But the EU issue has revived this far right dream. In a no-deal departure from the EU – itself wrongly called a “superstate” - Britain would be cut adrift and forced to become a highly competitive, low-tax, low-regulation island like Hong Kong or Singapore. Actually, neither Hong Kong or Singapore, where most housing is provided by the state, conform to the free market myth, but that doesn't matter. Brexit is a chance to throw the economy to the wolves of the market.

Last week, the anarcho-Brexit faction prevented any plan being formulated for renewing constructive relations with the EU. The real Plan B is that there is no plan. We are racing towards the cliff edge in a Mad Max convoy driven by gurning right wing punks who yearn for a chaotic Brexit. Parliament must wake up to this madness and stop them. Labour must get off their backsides and join with the SNP, Liberals, Greens and sane Tories to block a no-deal Brexit, following the motion passed in the Lords last week. It is time for the Opposition to oppose Punk Brexit, before it is too late.