THERE’S an iconic scene in the Oscar-winning film No Country for Old Men. It features Tommy Lee Jones as a grizzled sheriff in modern day Texas. He and his young deputy saddle up and ride out to a desert location where a drugs deal has gone very badly wrong. All around them are bodies, mostly human but also a few dogs, all shot to pieces, together with half a dozen vehicles similarly blasted apart.

The two lawmen consider this carnage for a long time without speaking. Eventually the deputy says; “Looks like a real mess, sheriff.”

The sheriff pauses and replies laconically: “Well if it isn’t; it’ll do until a real mess gets here.”

In many ways this description pretty much sums up the UK today. And it is a real mess that is only likely to get worse. Indeed, some have said that this may be the last UK election. Pollsters suggest that the two “main” UK parties have fewer true adherents than ever. Years of ignoring the voters and supporters alike have finally taken their toll.

Moreover, even stalwarts within these “main” parties have increasingly lost their belief that they are right. If this continues and there is no reason to feel that it will not, then the future suggests there may be two Labour and two Conservative parties.

Astoundingly, even the prospects of gaining power after years in the wilderness has not helped to unify the Labour Party. Many of its senior members hate each other and loath their leader. It has pursued policies based on polling data that suggests they need to be all things to all men (and women) on Brexit.

Instead of taking a firm anti-Brexit position they have arrived at a mish mash of conflicting notions.

Their current offering to the electorate, as best as can be understood, appears to consist of re-negotiating a new Leave package with a fed-up EU. Then submitting this new settlement, assuming the EU agrees, to another referendum, alongside the option to remain.

This offers the extraordinary prospect of some Labour chiefs arguing against the very package that they have just negotiated. All of which reminds one of the old adage: “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

Not to be outdone, the Tories have their own version of insanity. In response to Nigel Farage’s manoeuvring they have now become, in most respects, the Brexit Party. This will fracture them.

Old-style Tories have already signalled their disgust and will not support their own party at this election. Some have resigned. According to press reports their places have been filled by a range of Islamophobes, misogynists and other bottom feeders. So-called One Nation Toryism is dead.

Worse, the UK constitution is in shreds. Its fig leaf of respectability was always reliant upon politicians in the two “main” parties all being “good chaps”. That fig leaf has been removed and we see the reality. The British constitution is simply this. It is whatever the government of the day, with a working majority says it is. Full stop.

This has just awful consequences for us all. Whoever wins the next election will be tempted down the road of further constitutional manipulation.

To govern in a new political landscape consisting of multiple parties requires a very different mindset, and neither the Labour nor Tory parties have any successful experience in operating in such an environment. The last time this was tried in the Tory/LibDem government we ended up with an EVEL result, because they could not trust each other.

Indeed, it would be a delicious irony if we see this time a similar government in which the leader of the LibDems could not vote on much of Westminster legislation.

Because the British constitution is so far beyond its sell by date, it is toxic. If a future government does

not like Supreme Court judgments it can abolish this Court. (Or any other for that matter.) And replace it with a more “friendly” version. The BBC provides a useful model of how easily and effectively this can be done.

This also helps to explain why you may not have read much about these threats to your freedom and rights outside of this column and the pages of this esteemed organ. The media has its line, largely agreed in advance, and this is the “truth” that will largely be broadcast.

To add to the gaiety of the nations, Unionists are urging tactical voting to banish the SNP. It takes this form. Labour supporters propose to vote LibDem. LibDems are going to vote Tory and Tories plan to vote Labour.

It’s time to leave the Wild West to the cowboys.