After a day during which votes from Thursday’s round of local elections were counted, the news for the Tories was universally grim. The party had lost more than 1,300 councillors, and had lost control of 45 councils. It was their worst performance since the days of “Shagger” Major - and that came in 1995, just two years before Labour posted the biggest landslide victory in a General Election since World War 2.
That shows why the Tories will be handed another drubbing later this month when European Parliament elections come round. The party has no chance of recovering its position in time to credibly challenge Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his one-issue Brexit Party. Farage, of course, will never have to “deliver Brexit”. He couldn’t deliver a fart in a crowded lift. But right now, Theresa May is so weak she cannot raise a finger to stop him.
Just how weak the Prime Minister’s position is right now can be seen not only in the sham attempts by still-loyal ministers to rally round her, in the manner of circling the wagons in the face of humiliating defeat, but also in the ability of former insider James Chapman to lift the lid on Ms May’s state of mind. And anyone seeing the evidence should be worried.
For starters, there was the revelation of what she really promised car giant Nissan. “Might as well reveal it now I have nothing to do with @Conservatives: I was told May told Nissan privately stated aid/subsidy rules would be bent to get round any tariffs so they would agree publicly to stay. Public inquiry required”. That would endanger any post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU. She appears to be making it up on the fly.
Then there was the legitimacy of the referendum, or, as the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr would probably point out, the lack of it. “Security source with deep ties to USIC and UKIC says May was briefed by UKIC after the Ref and told that Russian interference was so extensive in the 2016 Ref that it was neither free nor fair. Allegedly chose to do nothing about that. Who are the real traitors here?” Who indeed. And it got worse.
Rumours have been circulating that the PM has become convinced that God has told her to carry on until Brexit is delivered. Many have been sceptical, concluding that not even Theresa May could believe that. Chapman isn’t so sure. “A journalist with some balls should ask Mrs May if it’s true as alleged by No10 source that she believes God wants Brexit and prays for guidance on how to deliver it”.
Squeaky poised to take advantage finger up the bum time
That won’t be coming from anyone at the Times, Telegraph, Mail, Express, Sun or even the BBC any time soon. But the question should be put: if it was fine for Andrew Marr to ask Gordon Brown whether he was taking “prescription painkillers and pills”, and if it was OK for Pax Jeremiah to ask the sainted Tone if he and Dubya Bush prayed together, then there should be no problem in asking the PM if she seeks divine guidance.
Of course, what Chapman is really exposing is the lack of fitness for high office in the one person holding on to it against all the odds. The Tories, at least in public, are saying there is no need to change leader. But the reality is that Theresa May is not up to the job.
Do they wait until Mr Thirsty and his fellow carpetbaggers deliver another drubbing to The Blue Team? Or do they have to spine to tell her the game is up? Decisions, decisions.
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