Can someone tell me what the hell Mrs May is up to? Whilst postponing a doomed Brexit vote is understandable, rescheduling the date of her political execution isn’t. What on earth is she trying to gain? Does she really think that having the vote in the middle of January is going to change anything? It would have been different had the vote been scheduled for January 2nd next year – the season of good will, New Year resolutions, and all that. She might even have got a kiss from Jacob Rees-Mogg, as the agreement passes unopposed through parliament.
Just to show you how the EU is ready and willing to renegotiate with the UK, the EU-27 member states are busily preparing themselves for a no-deal Brexit. The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, being from a country particularly astute in business matters, is the first to enjoy a last breakfast with Theresa May, whilst the bill is still being footed by the EU. Asked if Theresa May would be welcomed to refine the Brexit agreement, Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok replied, “you cannot refuse her a cup of coffee, but it won’t be easy.” Poor Theresa, she can always come to my place for a cup of hot chocolate, and discuss what actually went wrong.
If Mrs M. thought she had it bad in the Netherlands, that ain’t nothing compared to the Germans, who tried to stop her getting out of her car. One exit too many, I guess.
Her brief stop-over in Brussels wasn’t much better. How can you convince Jean-Claude Juncker, whose middle name is Federalism, that the UK can do away with borders and still remain outside the single market whilst, at the same time, having access to it? When Donald Tusk was asked by Theresa May if he could do something to help her government to accept the deal, he amusedly replied, “what government?”
To cap it all, before leaving London, Theresa May forgot to ensure that her post was collected during her absence. On the doormat, more than 48 unopened letters were waiting to be read. All were asking that Theresa May’s fate be decided by her party.
Exhausted by the one-hour time difference between London and Brussels, shocked by the leadership challenge, Mrs M. still mustered up enough courage to fend off her adversaries within her own party by a massive 83 votes, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. But what about the withdrawal agreement? Whilst she can expect those who voted to maintain her as prime minister to also vote for the agreement, that still leaves more than 500 MP’s who will most likely vote against her. The math is simple, and figures rarely lie. The date of the vote does not matter.
In deferring the vote until 2019, at least Theresa May can boast that 2018 was a good year. In 2016 and 2017, we had the Brexit vote and Donald Trump taking office, respectively. In 2018, there was the EU withdrawal agreement. It’s a withdrawal, yes, but at least it’s an agreement.
Theresa May’s latest outing to the EU may well result in her bringing back unconvincing assurances from Brussels, just as David Cameron and Harold Wilson had done in their time. Just as long as she doesn’t step off the plane, à la Neville Chamberlain, brandishing a crumpled A4 sheet of paper signed by Michel Barnier, and shouting to the awaiting paparazzi, “and here is the paper which bears his name on it as well as mine…”