AS ITHERS SEE US.

Understandably perhaps, the coverage given to the current parliamentary pantomime in Westminster has been given over to obsessive examination of each set of new Westminster entrails. Blink and you might miss amendment J to substantive motion 6. But worry not as a posse of commentators now living in that cable infested, tented city outside the "mother of parliaments" will shortly be on hand with a matched set of commentators and politicians offering interpretation and analysis.

This is anorak city, where those whose function in life is to examine the minituae of Commons business and reduce it to digestible soundbites are having the time of their professional lives. The nations of the UK may be going to hell in a self propelled handcart, but to be a political journalist in these times must be  very heaven.  Sketch writers like the Guardian's peerless John Crace  may beat their breasts in serial horror in print at the carnage being wrought in our name, but, actually, for folk like him this is surely the best of times.  Imagine sitting in the Commons day after day in more normal months searching, often fruitlessly, for something to happen of sufficient moment to sustain a column of comment.

The problem with our being inisistently propelled into daily navel gazing, watching the countdown to orchestrated Armageddon with that  now familiar mix of disbelief and undisguised horror, is that we rarely lift our gaze long enough to watch and listen to the rest of the world.  Not least the 27 members of the club we are apparently destined to depart.  But if you care to take a time out and seek translations of the major European and American newspapers you will access a different but no less frightening reality.

For so many of our erstwhile allies, the UK government is like a once familiar relative with midlife onset dementia, who makes less and less sense as the days go on.  Initially they might have thought to save this cousin from her or himself, but as the weeks and months went on, with a clear deterioration in his/her ability to grasp basic realities, they began to understand that no external intervention will effect a cure.  Not while the patient continues to argue black is white. Not while the patient keeps insisting that the prescription to which they had not only signed up - but had indeed insisted upon - has to be taken back to pharmacy and re-written.

So whilst we are increasingly made aware of the economic and social horrors which would follow what has become termed  in shorthand "blindfold Brexit", we haven't had a moment to consider the collateral damage to what was once a reasonable reputation in the outside world. As the Brextremists chunter on about "global Britain", and that eedjit manchild at Defence announces his intention to send an aircraft-free, aircraft carrier to the South China Seas,  the Chinese governments and others on whom this supposed golden age of new trade deals depend, swiftly stick the UK government back in its box.  Don't call us, we'll almost certainly not call you was the message from China to Williamson's doubtless incandescent cabinet colleagues.

In  France, in Germany,  in the Netherlands, in China, in Japan, in Scandinavia - in almost anywhere in the land of the still sentient, the conclusion is that the UK has gone quite clinically mad. That is the view even in America, currently tholing its own episode of Mad Men. Should they require further evidence of political insanity, our State broadcaster continues to give outrageous slices of airtime to politicians without portfolios - sustained only by their self righteousnessness. Sustained by that overweening sense of entitlement which comes with being educated in private institutions whose primary selling point is that they will groom fresh generations of upmarket idiots. And get them into government.

Imagine, if you will, being  a senior member of a European government or of an international outfit like NATO, imagine being anyone in fact who had the misfortune to deal with Boris Johnson during his gaffe strewn, attention deficited period at the Foreign and Commonweatlh office. Imagine then being assured by the British press that the self same uber blusterer was being seriously punted as Mrs May's successor as Prime Minister.  Or that people apparently diagnosed as fit to plead were mentioning Jacob Rees Mogg in the same breath. Rees Mogg is proof positive that if you spout utter nonsense in a plummy voice and three piece pinstripe, the hard of thinking will assume you have two brain cells to rub together.

So, in the midst of all the other encroaching horrors, the UK stands to lose the last vestiges of respect from the international community.  And respect, like virginity, is not something easily regained.