THERE are 195 countries in the world. Twenty-three have women leaders.

This week, one of those women has seized the world’s attention by the extraordinary way she has responded to her nation’s moment of crisis. She has reached out to her people, unified them, spoken for them and, with enormous emotional intelligence, she has already begun to redefine what her country will stand for when the crisis passes.

And one of them is Theresa May.

Jacindamania has swept the globe as the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has handled the shooting at the Christchurch mosques with aplomb. She acted decisively by calling it a terrorist attack, she found the right words – “they are us” – to encapsulate the moment, she threw on a headscarf and comforted the victims’ families. To pitch these things right is not easy – in 2005, US president George Bush was so slow in responding to the New Orleans floods, it almost finished his presidency.

Ms Ardern also acted rapidly to bring in new gun control, and had the presence of mind to tell Donald Trump when he called that the best way he could help was by offering “sympathy and love” to all Muslim communities around the world.

And then there’s Theresa May, in the middle of a very different crisis.

She struggles to make any human connection with her people – when they saw her robotic performance during the 2017 election, they refused to give her a majority.

On Wednesday evening, Mrs May attempted to reach out to her people, to share their pain and frustration at how she had got Brexit stuck in a rut. But unlike Ms Ardern, Mrs May’s emotional intervention was ill-judged, and rather than uniting her fractured people, she divided them further and made the rut deeper.

She has alienated the wavering MPs she was hoping would back her deal when she brings her third meaningful vote (MV3) next week.

Making predictions is as pointless as shouting into a hurricane, but at the second of writing, the most likely scenario is that Mrs May will lose MV3, “indicative votes” among MPs will not produce any solution and so next Thursday, at an emergency summit in Brussels, Mrs May will beg for an extension. The EU will say, not unreasonably, that a short extension will solve nothing, so she will have to accept a long delay. She will immediately resign, her Brexit failed.

Perhaps Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson can save her. His amendment, co-authored with Brighton MP Peter Kyle, is one of the few ideas still standing. It appears to be backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It would have Labour MPs voting for Mrs May’s deal – thus getting it over the line – but only if it were put to the people in a second referendum.

That referendum could have two questions: leave or remain, and, if we leave, Mrs May’s deal or no-deal.

That referendum would not guarantee a solution; it could dangerously divide the country. But it would avoid a no-deal exit and it would move us out of the current debilitating stalemate, whereas Mrs May’s only policy of repeating the same meaningful vote and expecting a different outcome is leading the country into madness.

Oh, for a Jacinda figure of unity and courage as we peer into the abyss of our crisis.