Despite the parliamentary and governmental chaos, the coronation of Theresa May as Brexit Queen will be accomplished. Somehow, she will win her third meaningful vote. The DUP will be bribed to support her deal with cosmetic legal assurances concerning the backstop, and by the promise of extra cash – the latter being much the more persuasive. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the principled leader of the ERG, who had earlier described May’s deal as ‘the worst deal in history’, says he will follow the DUP’s lead. The sheep will follow his lead. May’s ‘my deal or no Brexit’ gambit – her blackmail – will have paid off. Brexit will be ‘delivered’, and the Conservative party saved. What a master of strategy she has proved to be!
May will be hailed by Conservative MPs as the great leader who has pulled off a seemingly impossible feat. No-one will dare question her right to lead the party and take us forward, with Olly Robbins at her side, and lead us into the next round of trade negotiations – negotiations which will issue in ‘the closest possible relationship with our EU partners’. Naturally this will be at a price of the EU’s choosing – £39 billion was just the down-payment – but that is only to be expected. Very quickly, all talk of Brexit betrayal will be forgotten. The bribery and blackmail, the bare-faced deception, the parliamentary chaos, the national humiliation, will be excused. For Mrs May will have ‘delivered’ Brexit.
The pound will rebound. Hammond will announce a Brexit dividend, and, if she has any sense, May will seek an early election to reinforce her mandate. Despite the anger of conservative party members, who regard her deal as a betrayal and say they will never vote Conservative again, she is ahead in the polls, for Corbyn is her strongest asset. UKIP has destroyed itself as a political force. Brexiteers have nowhere to turn.
In time, normality will be restored. Mass immigration will resume with renewed vigour. The EU will demand free movement as one of its conditions for concluding a trade deal. And why not? EU immigration helps feed our booming economy and fill our skills gaps. That the last set of figures showed non-EU immigration running at record levels tells us all we need to know about the government’s priorities. We will give away our fishing rights – the EU will demand this too as one of its conditions for concluding a trade deal. Hasn’t Macron already made this clear? In any case, who gives the toss about our coastal communities when there are the interests of foreign car manufacturers to consider. And, so it will go on.
Its not exactly Brexit, but as David Liddington, May’s trusted deputy, pronounced last week, those who voted leave in the referendum were really voting for ‘the closest possible relationship with the EU’. And this is what the government will have delivered.
Some will say that the English are not the people they once were. Our old Commonwealth friends are bemused at how a nation that fought on alone in 1940, that once ruled over a great empire, could have sunk so low. But treatments will become available for Brexiteers – the Brexit extremists, the nationalists, the populists – to manage their anger, their sense of betrayal. Brexit anger will be diagnosed a pathological condition. And for those who do not respond to treatment, there is always the possibility of being convicted of hate crime. For no-one can doubt May’s commitment to social justice, inclusivity and diversity.
There is no doubt about it: Mrs May is the great deliverer.