The Pied Piper of Brussels

The real prime minister

Some of us predicted the DUP would cave in, succumb to government bribes and threats, and support Mrs May’s dreadful deal. The threat of a Corbyn government is a potent weapon if you are a beleaguered Unionist in Northern Ireland. But the Unionists showed themselves to be men and women of their word, unlike May, and stood firm on the backstop. And for good measure, they put the boot in. The party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, accused May of ‘inexcusable failure’ in her negotiations with the EU, and of a humiliating retraction of her pledge to leave on 29th March. And, so, they will not be supporting her deal next week.

Latest indications are that the third meaningful vote will now be pulled, because without the DUP’s support, there is no chance of it winning. No doubt it will be resurrected hours before we are due to leave on 12th April, after the House has failed to agree a way forward via a series of indicative votes, or the government has rejected the House’s preferred option – the softest possible ‘Norway’ style Brexit – because this would destroy the Conservative Party. What will happen then is anyone’s guess.

Yet, shorn of any authority or respect or honour or goodwill, despised and pitied in turn by her colleagues and her opponents, by the EU (who can blame them!), and now by the DUP, the pitiful deluded figure of Mrs May staggers on.

What motivates her? In a perceptive piece in The Guardian yesterday (if one discounts the obligatory rabid pro-EU stance), Rafael Behr, wrote that what infuriates everyone who has to deal with her is that they are allowed no glimpse of her calculations, no ‘window into the workings of her political brain’, not even a ‘peek at her soul’. ‘They get nothing’. Behr suggests, ‘She is unable to communicate with others because she has lost the ability to be honest with herself’, that she ‘has crossed a line from stubbornness into megalomania’.  

This is probably right. Except I am not sure the terms ‘honest’ or ‘dishonest’ can be applied to Mrs May. Behind the mantras, the mechanically delivered texts, the programmed responses, there is nothing. No political philosophy, no strategic view, no sense of history, no empathy, no imagination and no moral compass. Only one thing motivates her. Survival. She must stay in power, whatever the cost. No amount of humiliation, or injury, or ridicule, will deflect her from this.

In short, she is perfectly qualified to lead the modern Conservative party.   Subscribe

1 Comment on The Pied Piper of Brussels

  1. “She is unable to communicate with others because she has lost the ability to be honest with herself”. Thus opines one Rafael Behr quoted in this article. That, in my view, sums up not just our current political class but also our current generation of political journalists. With all their relentless moralising (and journalists love to position themselves as our moral mentors) I see little sign of a genuine moral compass at work.

    News reports and discussion on the bickering and manoeuvring in parliament have about as much gravitas as the football news. There is endless speculation on parliamentary performance – who is likely to win, who has the best strategy, which parliamentarian is standing by his principles and which one is caving in to pressure from… wherever.

    Remainers calling for a second referendum like to claim that the people are now much more aware of what Brexit really means and are in a position to make in informed decision on whether or not to leave the EU. Oh really?! I would bet that average person, trying to keep up with events has only a sketchy idea of the exact nature of May’s deal. They only know that it is held in contempt by large numbers of MPs. That, in the opinion of our media class, is all they need to know. Similarly, the electorate are never given the benefit of any serious examination of what leaving without a deal would mean.

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