I suppose a turd can only be polished so many times before it’s worn down into nothing, even if the turd that Theresa May has been polishing for what feels like a lifetime wasn’t exactly a prize-winning stool to begin with. You have to hand it to the Prime Minister, though; she keeps polishing away with her duster and can of Mr Sheen, determined the whole country will see its reflection in it sooner or later; trouble is, that turd has only ever shown her reflection, which is apt for a woman who is undoubtedly the shittest holder of her office in living memory. Well, if you can’t be blunt now, eh?
On Tuesday, just 48 hours away from another anticipated annihilation at the polling station, the chronically deluded Mrs May unveiled her revised strategy for finally getting her useless EU withdrawal deal through Parliament; and she’s surpassed herself yet again, alienating everybody she desperately tried to woo with another series of opportunistic promises that will never be delivered and everyone can see through. At times, her behaviour reminds me of a doomed gambler owing a fortune to a mobster that the debt collector knows cannot be paid, offering everything but the kitchen sink in the absence of cash. ‘Take the HD TV set – I’ve only had it six months and it cost a fortune; take my car – it’s worth five grand, easily; take my watch, my mother’s engagement ring, the shirt off my back…’ BANG!
Ironically, Theresa May has at last achieved something that has seemed impossible for the past couple of years: she’s actually united the Commons. Unfortunately for her, she’s united it in opposition. Labour, the SNP, the DUP, the Lib Dems, the Greens, and the majority of her own party – all united against what must surely be the final despairing throw of the dice for this embarrassingly hapless and hopeless Prime Minister. Brexiteers and Remainers alike have turned their noses up at the latest add-ons to the same old deal, the deal that has been rejected so many times that it’s hard to remember which occasions promised which bribes. On one of them, she said she’d quit if it got through; on another, she said the magic money tree in the Downing Street garden would sprout a few notes for deprived communities Oop North if it got through; now, she’s even stooped so low as offer a vote on a second referendum if it gets through, one more U-turn for the book. And nobody is buying it.
After six futile weeks of beer & sandwiches chinwags with Labour that resulted in bugger all, May has publicly announced Corbyn-flavoured compromises I suspect she tried out behind closed doors – workers’ rights, environmental protection, customs union, and (of course) second referendum – yet the response from the Opposition is the same. John McDonnell had a valid point when he compared entering into an agreement with this Government to signing a contract with a company poised to go into administration. Their word is no bond at all because they are on the verge of collapse, and any agreement would be null and void before the ink had even dried. Everyone bar our lame duck leader can see it. She has changed nobody’s mind with this week’s model; by the evening following yesterday’s announcement, not one MP who was opposed to the deal last time round had declared their conversion to the PM’s way of thinking and promised to vote differently.
All of this was pretty inevitable, however. The disastrous gamble of the 2017 General Election was evidence enough that Mrs May was out of her depth on a scale unseen since old Turnip Taylor’s memorably woeful stint as England manager in the early 90s. The Tories did not like that, but when they had their opportunity to oust May last December, they bottled it; the absence of an outstanding candidate to replace her and perennial fear of Jezza grabbing the keys to No.10 persuaded the party to retain a leader too obstinate and perhaps too stupid to realise its decision was not motivated by any faith in her ability to get the job done. Most of this could have been prevented, but the Conservative Party is now paying the price for its failure to show May the door.
The Ghost of Referendums Past in the shape of Mr Milkshake himself has returned to haunt the Tories and send them plummeting to the bottom of virtually every poll published over the last month or so; May had already alienated the party’s blue-rinsed backbone with certain polices outlined in the 2017 manifesto, but diehard Tory voters are now abandoning their traditional voting preferences handed down like family heirlooms and are flocking in their droves to a party that wouldn’t need to exist had Mrs May and her unruly underlings honoured the Referendum result as they told us they would two years ago. Should Theresa May’s pitiful premiership ever lay claim to a ‘legacy’ once it’s put out of its misery, chances are that legacy will be the Brexit Party.
Right now, there appear to be just two parties unashamedly honest in their intentions – Farage’s lot and Old Mother Cable’s wet blankets. The Lib Dem’s ‘Stop Brexit’ posts dotted around suburban grass verges – or indeed their attempt at wooing the proles, ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ – is a rare example of plain-speaking in a political culture wracked with doublethink rhetoric. At least the Lib Dems aren’t masking their Remoaner agenda in unconvincing pretensions to a ‘Brexit for all’ fantasy; that’s been half the problem with May, not to mention Corbyn’s crowd, which is why both are being deserted by once-loyal constituencies that voted Leave in 2016. This is a mess entirely of the political class’s making, and the fact so many members of it still don’t understand – either by demanding a second referendum or simply pretending nobody can discern the fact they’re Remainers in Leave clothing – not only shows they have learnt nothing but that they are utterly incapable of learning anything.
The political class and their ideological allies, the media class, can see the writing on the wall, but they don’t want to read it; so, they resort to clutching at any straw they can magic-up. Indulging in daily smears against their opponents or ordering an investigation into the Brexit Party’s funding that has found no evidence of wrongdoing any different from the far-from saintly way most political parties are funded – none of these tired tactics are working for anyone other than Farage. Every dairy-based beverage aimed in his direction only serves to guarantee another dozen votes for his party come tomorrow; the political and media classes are pouring petrol on the bonfire and can’t figure out why their actions aren’t putting out the flames.
Presiding over the longest unbroken parliament since the English Civil War, Theresa May and her rump rabble will one day give us a cracking six-part Sunday night serial, for the Watergate factor of government-in-meltdown makes for a far more engrossing drama than one about an administration winning landslides. There’s never been a shortage of dramatisations of Thatcher’s fall from power, for example; but who would want to watch one based around the 1987 General Election? At this moment in time, however, we aren’t watching the meltdown of May from the distance of decades and wondering if they picked the right cast to play her motley crew; it’s happening for real right in front of us – and the only definite outcome of this drama is that Theresa is toast.
© The Editor