“Narrow, rigid, unimaginative and sly.” And an armistice in return for continuing conflict. Is that our PM?

There is a devastating opinion piece in the FT from Robert Shrimsley:

Theresa May is:

Narrow, rigid, unimaginative, sly, secretive and wholly lacking in the political skills necessary to win over voters or build alliances, rarely can a leader have looked less suited to the task before them. This is the consensus view of the British prime minister….

If her deal falls, she will have failed utterly, but even if it passes, little is resolved. For although Mrs May’s package is often called a deal it is little more than a standstill agreement. She has bought 21 months of armistice in return for an indefinite continuation of the conflict. Little of the UK’s future relationship with the EU is settled. There is no trade deal, no plan for services, no final destination. Mrs May will soon be gone; these battles are still to be fought. Under Mrs May, parliament and government have torn themselves to pieces for the right to do so all over again. In her early months as PM, Mrs May was widely mocked for saying “Brexit means Brexit”. Nearly three years on, she has still not managed to elucidate. That is the full scope of her failure.

I confess that I entirely agree. And I brook no quarter – this is a British Prime Minister who has unremittingly put party before country.

After months of detailed analysis by her own government of the harm and cost to the UK in lives, chaos and money of No Deal, her response is to shrug her shoulders and say “but I’d do it anyway.”

This isn’t a threat to her opponents, or standing up to the EU. It is threatening her own population with something that will hurt them enormously, but which they have no control over avoiding.

It is indicative of the disastrous state (and ownership) of the British press that, alone, the Japanese owned FT has spoken the truth.

A ‘sneak preview’ of Britain’s card hand is no more than the truth…



  1. Paul Wright -

    You are completely right about our press, the Mail, Express, the Murdochs, and Telegraph in particular are now mouthpieces for hard right billionaires propaganda. Is this really the expression of a free press? Just how free are these journalists to write the truth? Elephant in UK room.
    The florid attacks on our judiciary, the HOC speaker, Milliband, Grieve, Delors, the disabled, et al seem to me like the ravings of demagogy, not democratic discourse.

    I am retired and meet quite a lot of other retirees and I am amazed that many are deeply influenced by such publications, as if such such views were not subjective. To them everything is binary and clear cut – May is right and all others ( never mind any constitutional consideration) are unpatrioticly wrong.

    Simon Wren Lewis picks something of this up in his book ‘The lies we were told’ when he described a furious man in the Question Time audience that was convinced his was the only truth, and that Simon’s researched and validated analysis was simply a ridiculous lie.

    I don’t know how our media can be reformed, but if Brexit has shown us anything then it’s the mendacious nature of our billionaire saturated media pushing its own billionaires agenda.

    Thanks for this blog, it’s very refreshing and very readable.


    1. Ian Stevenson -

      I looked at the European Commission’s list of euro myths. There are probably several hundred and many, if not most of them originated in the four newspapers you mentioned.
      Simon Wren-Lewis says that he thinks Brexit would not have happened without the tabloids(and Telegraph )
      There needs to be an enquiry into the influence of these papers and legislation to ensure some limits to disinformation.
      Today in the supermarket, I looked at a copy of the Mail. There was a two page spread about “Bercow’s racist, gay past.’ Character assassination for political ends. Power without responsibility.

  2. Graham -

    I agree with Paul. The media in this country are a threat to democracy.

    I read the FT on a Saturday. Their World news coverage is usually fairly good. Their economics is mainly rooted in neoliberalism, although with one or two occasional exceptions, and more recently they have been moving away from being the austerity cheerleader. They also tend to be “Metrocentric” and have little idea (or interest) in what happens in Scotland (or other constituents of the UK). Though that is typical of most of the media, BBC included.

    However, this quote from Shrimsley (article is behind a paywall) is an excellent demolition of this most inflexible, incompetent PM (who has a problem with immigration). While Cameron is culpable as the idiot who started this whole unnecessary debacle, May is exactly the wrong kind of person to be in charge of a process that needs flexibility, compromise, and a willingness to reach out to other Parties, other parts of the UK and other voters and to put country before Party. Instead she and her lackeys have treated everyone who is not onboard her sinking ship with utter contempt.

    And the worst of it is, that there is no mechanism to get rid of them. And even a General Election will only produce the same failures elected to parliament.

    1. Peter May -

      No method of getting rid of them is spot on. One of the unintended consequences of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act is that it has knobbled Parliamentary democracy. Without that, this terrible government, which has lost so many essential votes would have gone.

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