Theresa May has shown a desire to avoid conflict and to seek consensus wherever possible. Recent polling suggests she has achieved the precise opposite.
A YouGov survey for The Times has shown for the first time the clear rejection of May’s vision for a so-called ‘Brexit’ deal, with just 13 per cent believing it to be good for Britain.
Stop and think about that for a moment, because at the referendum 48 per cent thought that remaining in the EU would be best, so even the remainers are unimpressed.
A massive 42 per cent think that the Chequers deal is bad for Britain, and fewer than a quarter (23 per cent) believe that it respects the referendum vote – again that represents fewer than half of those who voted remain at the time.
Just 13 per cent believe that the government is handling Brexit negotiations well – probably the same deluded 13 per cent who believe it’s a good deal!
Worse still for the Tories, May’s performance is so comprehensively poor that Labour have now taken the lead in the latest poll, two points ahead. This is on top of other polls which show a similar fall in support for the Tories post-Chequers.
Tory party high command must be well aware of these figures and their implications, and yet appear determined to steer Britain on a course for disaster. The inescapable conclusion is that something other than electoral success is driving them.
Whatever the motive, the Prime Minister has made a bad misjudgement. Perhaps she should remind herself of Aesop’s fable The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass, which leads up the moral: Try to please everyone, and you end up pleasing no one.
But does she care? Certainly not enough to resign. What price accountability?