“IT is,” said the radio presenter at about three o’clock yesterday morning as I listened hazily through my sleep, “a classic EU fudge.” My phone lit up with some breaking news. “Brexit delayed until Hallowe’en,” said a message from the Daily Telegraph, “after fudged EU compromise.”

I fell asleep and dreamed of Theresa May being boiled in a vast vat with copious amounts of condensed milk and sugar and butter and chocolate chips until she became a soft, sweet confection.

By giving Britain an extension that is not too short and not too long, the EU has fudged a solution which keeps everyone happy in the short term but solves nothing in the long term. Come Hallowe’en, we’ll probably be awake with the spooks waiting for another fudge.

I’ve always presumed that a political fudge was the same as a confectioner’s fudge, but the first recorded use of “fudge” as a sweet isn’t until 1896 when the new, American taste was described as “a kind of chocolate bonbon”.

Both types of fudge seem to come from an ancient verb “fadge”, which meant “to fit together”, usually in a clumsy, cobbled-together* fashion. A bodge job might make use of a fadge.

Then in the mid-17th Century, there was a Captain Fudge (apparently Fudge is quite a common Cornish surname), known as “Lying Fudge” because he told the shipowners so many see-through untruths about a voyage.

In 1700, an old seadog was asked to explain nautical expressions, and he said: “There was, sir, in our time one Captain Fudge. who always brought home his owners a good cargo of lies, so much that now aboard ship the sailors, when they hear a great lie told, cry out, ‘you fudge it’.”

Which is probably Brexit in a fudge-tin.

*Last week I was talking a load of old cobblers in this space. I am grateful to Jon Smith, in Barningham, for pointing out that “old cobblers” is Cockney rhyming slang, whereby cobblers’ awls rhymes with a load of old b…

MRS MAY wanted the shortest possible extension to avoid Britain having to hold European elections on May 23, but in the middle of the night, she accepted the EU’s fudge, meaning election preparations will begin.

The 2014 Euro-elections cost us £108.7m to run, a sum which, in this age of austerity, Mrs May whistled up out of nowhere at 3am.

That means on May 2, we’ll have the local council elections, in which fewer than a third of people vote (and councillors on all sides tell me that the most common response on the doorstep is people refusing to turn out for any politician because of the Brexit mess), followed three weeks later by the Euros.

And, with the new MEPs only likely to sit for months, at this moment it looks like the Euro-election will become a proxy second referendum, probably with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party leading the way against Change UK, which is the party that the pro-European defecting MPs hope to form. Labour and the Tories could be battered into third and fourth, and the result will just choke us further as we try to wade through the stickiest fudge.