If Britain genuinely wanted a good last-minute Brexit deal, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt should probably not have compared the European Union to the USSR. His comments, at the autumn conference of Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party on Monday, sparked predictable outrage from other European leaders. That was probably his intention: Hunt is one of several seen positioning to run for party leadership. Like his predecessor Boris Johnson and Donald Trump before him, Hunt looks to have calculated that outrageous language grabs attention and internal party support, even if it makes what the government needs to do increasingly impossible.

Almost everywhere one looks in Western politics this autumn, one finds ambitious politicians deliberately frustrating policymaking in the hope of personal or partisan gain. You see it in the rise of the far right in Germany, Austria and Sweden, the politicking around refugees in Italy and, of course, in the U.S. Congress. Weaponi...

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