The act of national delusion continues: today, delayed by power problems at 10 Downing Street - there’s a metaphor to savour - Theresa May stood at the lectern, two Union Flags behind her, to deliver yet another pointless speech on the progress, or lack of it, with Brexit negotiations. It was so well received that Sterling tanked on the foreign exchange markets. It was supremely pointless. It addressed no issues. And it solved no problems.
As the BBC has reported, “In a statement at Downing Street she said for EU leaders to reject her plan with no alternative at this ‘late stage of negotiations’ was ‘not acceptable’”. They were supposed, perhaps, to allow her crock of crap to be considered as a serious negotiating position, as well as flagrantly bypassing Michel Barnier.
There was more. “A defiant Mrs May added: ‘I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country.’” But no-one was asking her to do that. Then came the part of the speech for domestic press consumption only. “At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals. So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress”. Christ on a bike, they told you two years ago.
What happened yesterday in Salzburg was the entirely predictable result of several factors: proposals that had already been dismissed as unworkable; trying to short-circuit the negotiating process by attempting (unsuccessfully) to pick off member states one by one; trying to cut out Barnier; not bringing proposals forward until the last minute.
Also, the duplicitous nature of some ministers did not help, especially Michael “Oiky” Gove claiming the final agreement could be reneged upon at will. Nor did all the futile braggadocio over “not paying the divorce bill”. Some of the Tory right still think that the prospect of No Deal is A Very Good Thing. The currency markets think otherwise.
But one conclusion in inescapable: Theresa May’s credibility is now shot. Her leadership is a contradiction in terms. Her party is a shambolic rabble. Many in her own cabinet are “on manoeuvres”. Many outside the cabinet are manoeuvring to get rid of her. She cannot deliver on Brexit. Worse, she is unable or unwilling to contemplate any common sense alternative - such as extending the Article 50 period, or not doing the deed at all.
As she has outlived her usefulness, there is only one option left for Theresa May, and that is for her to go. The manner of her departure matters less than her getting on and doing it. She could, of course, if she believes she has the country with her, call a General Election, in which she and her rabble of a party would be soundly thrashed.
Blaming the EU will no longer work for her. Nor will blaming Labour: they are not in power; it is not for them to ride to her rescue. Nor will any other kind of blame-shifting. Nor will calling on sympathetic media outlets to shill for her.
We see you, Theresa May. You are no less inept than your cowardly predecessor. Your party has screwed over our country. You have no idea how to extricate yourself from this mess. You have reached the end of the road. In the name of God, go.
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