NEVER in the field of British politics have so many been failed by so few. And this few are about to choose from their midst the two who have arguably failed most. The Tory leadership contenders pitch might be summarised as follows: “This government was crap. I am very proud of the work I did for it. Vote for me to do something totally different, but not too different.”

If you think this is facile, hear the portentous words of one of the front runners. Asked about Scotland, Sunak is reported to have said he was proud of what he had achieved in Darlington.

According to distinguished science writer, Marcus Chown, who starred in one of my TNT shows, it turns out that up to 2% of the DNA of people living is Neanderthal. So, the ­Neanderthals did not become extinct, they ­interbred with humans. At this moment, they are walking among us.

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I am no expert, but this may help explain the behaviour of the European Research Group (ERG) that now runs the Tory party. Driven by a stone age mentality and deeply embedded in a mythical English past, they will likely ­determine the next prime minister. Where they lead, other Tories follow.

The next prime minister will be their ­creature. Wayne or Waynetta will obey their orders. ­Expect the Northern Ireland protocol to be summarily junked, whatever the consequences and huge damage to Britain’s dwindling ­reputation overseas.

It will also place an unbearable strain on the Tory party in Scotland. (No laughing at the back, please). Scottish Tories will see their ­faltering standing further eroded as Scots voice their loathing for the new PM. As if ­Waynetta’s ­ramblings were not bad enough, Rishi Sunak has thrown petrol on the fire in declaring that; “My values are Thatcherite. I believe in family and integrity (gulp). I am running as a ­Thatcherite, and I will govern as a Thatcherite.”

As I said these guys are stuck firmly in the past. Imagine trying to sell this load of old tosh to Scots.

The National:

Lord Offord (above) provides another recent example of the sort of limited strategic thinking – that scientists suggest – is characteristic of Neanderthals. A failure at the polls, Lord Offord gave a real boost to independence by a ­predictable contribution in the House of Lords, when he dismissed any lingering Tory attachment to ­democracy. Only under the failed British ­constitution could a man who “bought” his place, shamelessly pontificate on democracy. Lord Offord, of course, was previously plain Malcolm Offord, a private equity figure who contributed £147,500 to the Conservative party.

To be fair, there are occasional glimpses of clearer thinking among the less brutish British. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, said: “I am still uncomfortable with all Tory ­candidates saying they’d refuse to hold a second vote on ­independence. It’s a difficult balance, but ­usually best to err on side of debate and ­democracy.”

Perhaps the words of W B Yeats may be ­appropriated to sum up this Tory party leadership election:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Martin Lewis, the personal finance guru, ­forecasts “a national cataclysm” at the very time the new PM takes office. He says that there is a “financial timebomb” set to explode in ­September. He warns that he is seeing ­increasing numbers of people calling for a non-payment of bills, adding that we are getting close to a “poll tax moment on energy bills”.

“Once it becomes socially acceptable not to pay energy bills, people will stop paying energy bills and you’re not going to cut everyone off,” he added.

A C Grayling, the renowned philosopher, and another star guest on the TNT show, puts it this way: “That someone of the incapacity of Truss, an unprincipled opportunist and hypocrite of low intelligence, should be in the running for Number 10, is a fitting legacy for Johnson’s ­collapse of the country. Appalling.”

Now, you could argue that one shouldn’t ­interrupt your enemy while they’re are ­making mistakes. But there must come a time when ­vigorous action is required too. It would be ­ironic if the next Tory government were to fall not because of Scottish rejection but through civil unrest south of the border.

As Yates also warned: “Do not wait to strike until the iron is hot. But make it hot by ­striking.”

The TNT show is taking a short break. We are back on Wednesday, August 10, at 7pm. Join us and enjoy meeting novelist Emma Grae