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