The Tory Party was a great adventure, but it is over. From its remote origins in the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1679-81, through its reinvention in the wake of the 1832 Reform Act, rumours of the Conservative Party’s demise have repeatedly been discredited, garnering for it the reputation of being the longest surviving and most efficient mechanism of political power in world history. It has gained an aura of immortality and, with it, a false sense of security.

That hubris has undoubtedly contributed to its imminent dissolution. Even a cat has only nine lives and the Conservative Party has demonstrably, as used to be said of effete Chinese imperial dynasties, exhausted the mandate of Heaven. This time there will be no road back. That is not to say that a nominal Tory Party, in some attenuated form, will not linger on the benches at Westminster, like a ghostly revenant haunting the scenes of its past triumphs.