DO you remember the girl who was made form prefect year after year at school, dear women readers, despite being universally unpopular and not very clever? That’s who Theresa May reminds me of. One in particular at my grammar school, and my personal bête noire. This one got to be head girl ahead a clutch of others with far more prowess (including of course yours truly). She was the teachers’ safe bet – singing to their hymn sheet, totally boring, but to be relied on never to rock the school boat. Smug, stubborn, self-satisfied and insensitive, she was the cling-on with the teachers’ backing who we could never shake off.
That’s May – no idea of when it is time for her to move over, make way and let someone else have a go. It’s not that her heart isn’t in it, it’s that she can’t see that she’s failed. Will she never realise that she is not God’s gift; that quite simply she is not up to the job, as David Blake comprehensively demonstrates this week on Briefings for Brexit. You can read his article ‘What do you do with a problem like Theresa?’ here.
‘The English language has yet to invent the words to describe how uniquely incompetent Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy has been, as well as how uniquely incapable she is of understanding just how bad is the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and Political Declaration approved by EU leaders on 25 November 2018.’
He proceeds to show that NONE of her claims about what ‘her only deal on the table’ will do is true, listing 11 key points from taking back control of our laws to keeping the UK intact. Every day, he writes, new evidence of incompetence emerges. Taking just three examples he first describes a report from the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee which shows that the UK government, as part of the WA, has given up its right to receive £6.6bn in profits and dividends from the European Investment Bank which, when we leave, could have been used to offset part of the £39bn Brexit bill. Then there’s the government’s agreement to pay at least £8.5bn towards EU staff pension liabilities which the EU insists we make. And finally only now, two years after the problem first emerged and less than two months before the UK is due to leave the EU, will UK officials begin to “test the workability” of the alternative to the Irish backstop proposal, which includes using existing technological solutions to facilitate a smooth border crossing without infrastructure.
Rather than recognising her own ineptitude she has, and as any glimmers of hope in recent weeks faded, become evermore set on her failing strategy, not less.
Far from sidelining her civil servant negotiator Olly Robbins, yesterday’s revelations showed him to be still in situ, centre frame in fact, cynically prepared to break the Government’s key promise to leave the EU on March 29th. May’s failure to demote him underlining not just her lack of judgement but her worrying dependence on her civil servant mainstays.
This comes as the sheer size of the Brexit chasm between the political elite and the rest of the country can no longer be ignored, nor the anger of the latter towards the former.
She is not the best Tory compromise nor the only Tory compromise. She is the worst. Like that army officer she is utterly obsessed with building her bridge over the river Kwai for the enemy, whatever the cost and the irrationality of it. Manchurian candidate or sheer incompetent, Mrs May’s time as head girl is surely up.