In a speech delivered in Grimsby, Theresa May has once more declared that it is not her fault, that the rotten ghastly foreigners need to listen up and move in her direction, and that everyone has to back her Brexit vision, whatever that is. The problem is that the EU and its negotiators don’t know where she stands - because nor does she. So her call to back whatever it is she is selling this week is predictably lacking in persuasiveness.
She stopped short of presenting a dog with a gun held to its head, but made it clear that if we didn’t listen, the dog would get it anyway. “Back it and the UK will leave the EU … Reject it and no-one knows what will happen. We may not leave the EU for many months. We may leave without the protections a deal provides, we may never leave at all”. Never leaving at all would be one heck of an improvement on what she’s offering.
So what else did the BBC report on the speech tell us? “It was in neither side's interest to prolong the uncertainty by ‘carry on arguing’ about Brexit, she said, claiming any delay beyond 29 March only risked ‘creating new problems’”. Who’s arguing? EU negotiators have made it clear they will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement. She keeps going to Brussels to ask for something she won’t get. She’s utterly deluded.
The less than enthusiastic reception she received from pundits showed that the repetition was beginning to take its toll. Serious and detailed proposals? Ian Dunt had been there before. “Proposal one: Give me what I want I'll figure out what it is later … Proposal two: Please help me … Proposal thee: Fuck you this is all your fault”. Well, quite.
Simon Nixon of the Murdoch Times also sounded weary. “Theresa May says her deal means an end to freedom of movement, CFP, CAP, big payments to EU budget etc. Of course it guarantees none of these things. It allows for a ‘spectrum of outcomes’. Straightforwardly and characteristically dishonest”. Also known as a “Blind Brexit”.
James Melville brought a Scottish perspective. A weary and exasperated Scottish perspective. “Theresa May called an unnecessary election, lost her majority, bribed the DUP, triggered Article 50 too early, wasted 2 years of negotiation time, crafted a terrible Brexit deal and ran down the clock. She blames everyone else, but she’s the chief protagonist of this awful mess”. He was, it seems, equally unconvinced.
As to blaming the EU for the Tories’ foul-ups, Nick Cohen had also had enough. “Here we go. It will not be Britain's fault if our decision to leave the EU and the single market and the customs union ends in disaster but the fault of the people who wanted us to stay. We are led by bawling toddlers”. That one also directed at Jeremy Hunt.
Richard Corbett, leader of Labour MEPs, was equally weary. “Nothing new in Theresa May‘s Brexit speech in Grimsby! Blind stubbornness heading towards catastrophe is no virtue. Admitting you’ve made a mistake is no vice. Time to switch to the latter”.
And Alastair Campbell, who knows a little about Prime Ministers going to Brussels to negotiate stuff, concluded “She knows full well that her deal doesn’t ‘get it done’ at all but leaves us open for years more or division, divisiveness, uncertainly, lack of clarity and nothing but Brexit on the agenda”. Got it in one.
The UK is 21 days from disaster. Theresa May will not achieve any change in the meantime on issues like the Irish Backstop, which so enraged her awkward squad that they voted against her deal last time round. The Irish Backstop that her own side dreamt up in order to meet the rules-based order of the EU.
Worse, there are only 12 (yes, TWELVE) days between now and March 29 when the Commons is due to be sitting. Yet she continues to chant her mantra as if on a tape loop. Like a demonic talking doll that had gone badly wrong. Her deal was decisively rejected last time, yet she keeps on bringing in back in the vain hope that it will pass next time.
And her cabinet just sits there and does nothing to stop her. We are truly led by donkeys.
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