The Prime Minister has reversed herself into an alleyway, with Brutus and Cassius closing in for the final strike. She’ll survive this coup d’etat. And with time running out, her biggest denial could turn out to be a blessing.
Adaptation is the most useful skill any journalist or analyst can have. In the past weeks, many have been eagerly tapping away at their keyboards proffering solutions and opinions. Within a day those solutions have been buried thanks to Brexit. My most recent column suffered this, after I had finished an hour before Theresa May officially called off the meaningful vote. And like a chameleon, politics forces us to adapt to new problems and situations. Nothing like a nice quiet life eh?
I’m sorry Theresa, but what did your day-trip Magical Mystery Tour achieve? Outside Parliament we are forced to guess and wonder at the intrigue of the Westminster tea rooms. Surely it was absolutely clear that the agreed deal was unable for renegotiation? I think every major EU leader must have texted Theresa May on Sunday night telling her “Just don’t even.”
And now the Prime Minister once again enters the labyrinth of Conservative politics. I’m pretty convinced she will win her confidence vote tonight. The ERG won’t have enough troops bashing on the door of Number 10, and more reasonable Tories (if there is such a thing) would fear and even resign the whip out of protest against a Boris Johnson or David Davis as Prime Minister.
Boris was always a candidate, but Davis or Dominic Raab? Caligula had better leadership qualities than a hard Brexiter as Prime Minister. Caligula planned to make his favourite horse a Roman consul. With Boris as PM, we’d have Priti Patel in every ambassadorial role – only because she’s a frequent flyer.
But what’s next for Theresa May? If she wins the leadership challenge, her place as Conservative leader would certainly get a boost of vigour. Her Brexit deal would still be sat there on her desk, stinking like a sewer and winking at her. She has until January 21 to push the meaningful vote through Parliament. Her initial response would be confidence in her deal, even though it’s doomed to fail in the Commons.
And then there’s the Opposition to consider. Dear Jeremy Corbyn has already been prodded to table a no confidence vote and he’s refused, knowing full well that the vote would not pass and his chance for an election squandered. Those who have pushed him are doing so to pressure for a People’s Vote support. Corbyn’s definitely allergic to the People’s Vote. He takes an injection of Bennite socialism whenever it is mentioned.
But say the ERG and DUP both decide to abstain from a no confidence vote. Would the ERG stoop to give tacit support for Corbyn and his raving socialists? The wider no confidence vote would see an election and potential lost seats for the Conservatives. Ironically, Labour would probably fail to win a majority if an election was called. It’s all a bit pointless really, isn’t it Jeremy?
The best chance for Theresa May to survive this onslaught of parliamentary pisstakes is to face the facts and call for a referendum. Think about it, Theresa, your deal versus remaining in the EU. You’d support your deal and force Labour into a corner.
If your deal wins, you’ve got your Brexit and premiership back in business. If remaining is what the people choose, the country would be saved from a horrendous exit. Yeah, you’d resign. But at least the end to the most damaging constitutional crisis in living memory would be damned to Hades. You were a Remainer once, you can relive those happy memories!
The choices that were once available are now thinning with every day wasted. Of course, revoking Article 50 is always an option. It would flatten this shitstorm like a pancake but certainly the outrider to bet on.
Theresa May has repeated the same lines over and over for nearly three years. There’s one phrase she insists on using that is immensely irritating. Time to stick to that phrase Theresa, and call for a People’s Vote – it’s in the national interest, and your ticket off this carousel.🔷
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com)