MOST people start a new year determined to turn over a new leaf, to make up for mistakes made in the past or previous promises broken. Out with the old and in with the new.

Theresa May, on the other hand, has kicked off 2018 by presenting more repeats than the BBC.

She continued her chaotic premiership by defending Donald Trump, standing by the controversial appointment of a blatant misogynist and reactionary to an important education post, grossly offending the sick and hard-working NHS staff and spectacularly mismanaging her Cabinet reshuffle. And the year is only 10 days old.

In an awkward interview this past weekend, our PM described Donald Trump as a “committed” President. Since she was being asked about his mental stability it seemed a strange choice of word. However the Prime Minister was not being dexterous in her language, just clumsy.

While just about the entire world can see Trump clearly for what he is, a dangerous fool with his finger worryingly close to a large (his words) red nuclear button, Theresa May is so focused on her desperation to ensure a trade deal with the US after Brexit, that she chooses to ignore the obvious warning signs.

In her universe, Brexit and hard red lines are all that matters; holding hands with the President, warts and all, is just part and parcel of this process.

Meanwhile in the background, her International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, has been slinking off to private trade talks with the US. With the public excluded from the process and parliamentary scrutiny denied, “approved” individuals can wheel and deal in confidence at these talks, making agreements that bear little resemblance to what benefits the consumer. Expect as a result lots more incentives and tax breaks for enormous, overpowerful corporations to the detriment of food quality in our supermarkets, not to mention animal welfare.

Meanwhile, her government’s new appointment of Toby Young to the board of the Office of Students backfired spectacularly with social media becoming a whirling dervish of righteous indignation at this grown-man’s crude, sexist and discriminatory antics. It beggars belief that anyone with such abhorrent views on diversity could be promoted to such a key role and yet, the PM, although unimpressed with his Twitter record, stood by her man until he finally took the decision to fall on his poison pen.

The weekend also saw May visit hospitals around the country on a PR stunt and apology mission which totally backfired. Watching Theresa May see for herself the incredible chaos and hardship brought on by her party’s woeful handling of our most important public service, the NHS, made for uncomfortable viewing.

It’s hard to believe that someone in such an important position of power can stand there and listen to heart-wrenching stories of relatives dying alone in their homes while waiting hours for an ambulance to turn up and not say out loud, “this is awful, this is not how it should be, I will do everything in my power to change it.” But on the health service, May is more sinning Theresa than saint Theresa.

Instead, she merely apologises for all the operations cancelled and the only affirmative action is to delay her grand scheme of making her hapless health secretary her new deputy!

Meanwhile she turns a blind eye to her friends in high places who squirrel away their wealth in tax havens abroad instead of investing in the health and wellbeing of the people she describes as “normal and hard-working”. It’s disgraceful, disgusting and depressing.

However, the chaos continued this week, with more of an undignified kerfuffle than a dynamic reshuffle when May announced the “heavyweights” in her new Cabinet.

It seemed an exercise in futility given that most of the big names actually stayed in place. This after some hasty and incorrect retweeting and deleting of the new Tory chair announcement by a party employee and some pathetic back-pedalling by the PM who couldn’t persuade anyone to keep in tune to her version of musical chairs.

She even compounded this non-event by giving Jeremy Hunt more power over vulnerable people’s lives by adding social care to his portfolio, a very worrying development given his catastrophic track record so far. This as some sort of reward for Hunt’s defiance of the Prime Minister by refusing to move in the first place.

Once again, when the opportunity came to assert her authority and stick up for the electorate, our PM failed. She even managed to alienate and anger women’s groups by the appointment of Maria Caulfield, an MP famed for her opposition to the decriminalisation of abortion, as the Tory’s new vice-chair for women.

With women’s issues so firmly front and centre of the current global debate in politics, it seems an extraordinary and unnecessary own goal. To cap it all, just about the only decent character amongst this parcel of rogues, Education Secretary Justine Greening, walked when offered the DWP poisoned chalice, leaving May in a half-baked male-centric Cabinet of her own making.

So much for equality and representation and so much for even a smidgeon of competence and leadership. Adrift and friendless, capitulating to the bullies and doing the very opposite of what she promised the voters, it seems extraordinary to imagine May remaining in power for much longer. Yet still she clings on.

Her only small comfort in all this is that she has kept the ever-faithful lapdog David Mundell at her side. After all, he is the one MP she can always rely on to perform “sit”, “beg” and “walkies” to instruction, whatever the cost to Scotland.