EARLIER in the week, my phone ran out of battery on a train journey home. During that hour without access to rolling news, I felt like I was in danger of missing out on something big. Such has been the onslaught of breaking news and government meltdown that we have witnessed over the past couple of weeks.

The Westminster sexual harassment allegations led to some MPs having the whip removed, incidents being referred to the police, Michael Fallon resigning as defence secretary and one of Theresa May’s closest allies – Damian Green – facing calls to resign too. It is telling that a scandal of that magnitude and seriousness found itself being edged out of the news cycle; at a more stable time, it would have dominated for far longer.

Each accused MP would have had hours of coverage devoted to their misconduct and analysis of their likely future. But no sooner has one piece of breaking news been reported, another emerges, relentless and vying for attention.

Boris Johnson’s incorrect remarks about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – the British-Iranian woman serving five years in jail in Iran after she was accused of spying – in which he suggested she went to Iran to train journalists may lead to her prison sentence being extended.

And when he came under pressure to apologise, he couldn’t even do that properly. Johnson peppered his words with self-serving, egotistical qualification and equivocation while displaying no humility.

The impact of his failure to read his brief or to exercise caution with his tongue could be deadly serious for Zaghari-Ratcliffe. This was a mistake that couldn’t be dismissed as a “gaffe” and there were loud calls for him to resign, with some of those coming from fellow Conservative MPs. At the time of writing, Boris Johnson was still Foreign Secretary, though that, of course, could change, such is the rate at which the Conservative Party is imploding.

Luckily for Johnson, Priti Patel and her freelance approach to foreign policy on her trips to Israel temporarily took the spotlight off him, granting a brief reprieve from what looks like an inevitable eventual demise.

This is the Trump effect. Since he took office, news outlets have struggled to keep up with Donald Trump’s intemperate statements, bizarre actions and unpresidential behaviour. Now when we hear of his outrageous conduct, we are all past the point of surprise. There is certainly no shock. We have experienced a small – albeit decidedly British – version of the Trump effect in the UK over the last couple of weeks.

When we are bombarded with news of ineptitude and dishonourable behaviour from the Government and elected representatives, we eventually become inured to it. Not only is it difficult to keep up with such levels of impropriety, some won’t even want to.

And who could blame them? Many are worried about the increasingly fractious Brexit negotiations. The calamitous spectacle of our Government falling apart makes for grim viewing and only adds to the growing sense of unease at the uncertainty that stems from it. It feels as if, as a country, we are becoming somewhat acclimatised to political chaos. Which is ironic, given that Theresa May promised that only under her leadership could we enjoy stability.

Standards are slipping and “mis-speak” is rife. May – while one of the few Tory MPs who isn’t currently embroiled in personal scandal – is at the helm of this mess. She’s presided over a creeping indifference in our political expectations. Her futile attempts at keeping her Government and party together could have the unintended consequences of potentially damaging our democracy in the future. If one governing party can get away with ignoring the conventions of Parliament – as we’ve seen with their handling of the fabled Brexit impact assessments – then so can the next.

If the level of integrity we insist upon from ministers is diluted or the code of conduct needs to be updated to include patently obvious things like “Don’t arrange 12 secret meetings with a foreign government while on holiday”, then unscrupulous behaviour becomes the new normal.

And on it goes, that gradual spiral downwards where lies become alternative truths; facts are a matter for debate; “sorry” cancels out the need for accountability and politicians put their own interests above those of the people they serve.