KIM May certainly knows how to go for the jugular. Even before she’d given her umpteenth statement to the Commons, saying it is still her priority to deliver Brexit – even to her death bed, it would seem – her senior civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill was ordering No-deal Brexit planning to be shut down with immediate effect.
Crispin Blunt, a Eurosceptic Tory MP, described the move as a ‘complete betrayal’ of the referendum, and a ‘dereliction of duty‘. It is without doubt another abuse of power. It is premature. The Statutory Instrument needed for the latest extension has to be approved by Parliament. It has not been. The Cabinet should at the very least have been consulted about ending no-deal planning. Were they – any or all – at the meeting when Sedwill ordered this? I rather doubt it.
This speaks of a ruthless and shameless operation at the heart of government. Mrs May’s own continuation in office is starting to be reminiscent of Hitler – less of his behaviour in the bunker than of the backroom intrigues that allowed his rise to power and his maintenance of it.
May’s confidence, when she should be mortified, her audacity in telling MPs they would benefit from the rest the recess will give them, is deeply unnerving. If it wasn’t so gobsmacking you’d almost laugh. She reverses and turns everything away from herself and on to other people as though she had nothing to do with it. Some wag might have retorted that the only rest they’ll get is when she is gone.
For once Jeremy Corbyn was right. The delay the EU behemoth finally conceded certainly represented a diplomatic failure. Another one, he could have rubbed in, following the failure of her entire negotiating strategy and her thrice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement. If he were half-decent he’d be refusing to do business with her.
Bill Cash MP asked politely if she would resign. It made me wonder if a male PM would have been allowed by his colleagues to get away with what Mrs May has. In response a fully confident Theresa sneered: ‘I think you know the answer to that.’
I have just asked the Prime Minister to resign. pic.twitter.com/sw2rEuCNBY
— Bill Cash (@BillCashMP) April 11, 2019
It’s a reply that should go on record as her one of her rare truthful ones. It said she has no intention at all of resigning. Why should she? She believes she has succeeded, not failed. She has no concern, either, for the humiliation the country has suffered at her hands because she feels none. She understand people are a bit cross, that’s all.
Objectively, as Professor Robert Tombs pinpointed yesterday, never was so much embarrassment caused to so many by so few. Unlike any past national humiliation – the 1956 Suez crisis, the collapse of sterling or the IMF bail out in 1976, even the Munich surrender to Hitler in 1938 – ‘There is a frivolity and stupidity about the present situation that makes it humiliating in a manner perhaps unique in our history: this is black comedy, not drama’.
Yet had our rulers (and that has to include the non-resigning Cabinet) shown a modicum of honesty, consistency, judgment and courage, he goes on, we would not be where we are today. So true.
The Cabinet still has a chance to dissociate itself from the frightful Mrs May and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Bill Cash and the senior Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are reported to have urged the Prime Minister to quit, in a concerted bid to make Mrs May go.
After this latest abuse of power by Number Ten, this has to be their last chance to redeem themselves. They will not be able to escape the responsibility of their own inaction – a country locked into May’s abusive yet zombie premiership which, by her own admission in her statement yesterday, can and most likely will extend indefinitely beyond the new 31 October deadline as she negotiates ever further extensions.
Emasculated and ashamed, they will bear the ignominy of May consulting Labour ahead or instead of them, of the inevitable betrayal of the Tory manifesto and chaos and confusion over the elections for the EU parliament, which no one will know how seriously to campaign for, and in which their party will be wiped out. All this is to come in the next act of this bad dream if they don’t make her go.
There is an alternative that half the country and more – had they not been subjected to panic brainwashing – favour. It’s called a No-deal Brexit. It’s their and our only passport to freedom. The EU’s extension gave it a lifeline and they must grab it.
But they need topple May now (and beware her wiles).
We at TCW are counting the days till they do.
Today is Day Eight . . .