“The UK’s bargaining power, with A50 untriggered, would have been much greater.”

The title is a quote from a recent Simon Wren Lewis blog on the disastrous Brexit performance of our current, so called government.

I’ve always maintained that Theresa May is easily the worst Prime Minister since the Second World War.

I’m, in an odd way, reassured that Simon Wren Lewis has written an excoriating article to much the same effect.

Although I still hope against hope that we are not, Private Frazer style, “all doomed”.

Regrettably, it doesn’t look hopeful.

The UK’s bargaining power, with A50 untriggered, would have been much greater. Theresa May chose to do the complete opposite of all that, perhaps because she could not contemplate having to take on the Brexit press. She appointed Fox, a Brexiter, to a post that depended on the UK leaving the CU. She drew red lines that were impossible without a hard Brexit. And of course she triggered Article 50 without having done the necessary analysis and with no clear strategy in place. If there was any method in what she did, it seemed to be to appease Brexiters and their press at all costs. And one thing we do know about Theresa May is that once she has chosen a course of action, she sticks to it until it becomes untenable and possibly even after that.

A Zombie PM carrying out a Zombie policy, that could haunt this country for many years to come.

I consider Simon WL is absolutely correct. If you, Brexiter or not, are convinced that this government is upholding UK interests as we elect it to do, then please, please read the rest here.

Comments

  1. Ivan Horrocks -

    A really good article by Simon WL, Peter. However, I have to diagree with the last part of this statement:

    ‘She should have said that she accepted the referendum vote, but she would not implement any deal that would do significant economic harm to the country. No one would have criticised her for such an endeavour.’

    Come on! May would have been crucified by the Brexit press and the Bexit obsessed members of her party (i.e. nearly all of them). It wouldn’t have mattered that she was stating an entirely acceptable and sensible approach – plenty of people have done that and we know the insults they’ve received. Indeed, had she done this I’m sure she’d no longer be PM.

    Let’s be frank, and indeed let’s follow the logic of WL’s piece. There is no logic or any other form of argument that will placate Brexiteers. Period. This is the ‘sin’ of Remainers. They live in a world where if only we can find the ‘right’ argument, make the ‘right’ points, and so on, Brexiteers will see the light and change their minds. They won’t. ‘Brexit means Brexit’.

    So, despite the fact that I agree with you and WL about May – she truly is an appalling PM – she’s certainly does understand the nature of the Brexiteer zealots and where that leaves her. Which put simply is this: accept all they want and remain PM, or challenge them – by speaking the truth, for example – and it’s over.

    Of course, what’s weird about this as far as those of us who take a rational view are concerned, is that she’ll go down in history as the PM who visited significant economic harm on this country through Brexit. But then again, in the short term she’ll be lauded by the right wing press and most of her party so as a short-termist politician (as all politicians are nowadays) I’m sure she’s not much bothered about what history might say about her.

    1. Neil -

      Ivan,

      I had identical thoughts about that sentence when reading the article. May could have done the honourable thing and admitted that as elected representatives in our democracy, the government wasn’t about to cause what would likely be major social and economic harm based on an advisory referendum about which the voters were overwhelmingly ill-informed. She would in turn almost certainly have lost her premiership through a vote of no confidence (likely assisted by scathing tabloid headlines).

      Instead, she had a staggering volte-face on her opinion of Brexit ostensibly because the electorate had decided that it must be so (despite the lack of factual information and a glut of misinformation about the issues).

      As with so many of our politicians, it is unlikely that she personally will be materially affected by Brexit due to her and her husband’s wealth. With nothing to lose she can focus on maintaining her position of power by dragging things out, giving enough crumbs to the Brexiteers in her party to ensure they do not actually follow through with their ideas of replacing her (but with whom is anyone’s guess). Sadly, a number of those who voted for Brexit also thought they had nothing to lose although I fear outcomes for them will be worse.

      Neil

      1. Neil -

        Now I think further on it, her volte-face could have been a condition of the 1922 Committee approving her as party leader. A good deal of the members of that committee are Eurosceptics and I wouldn’t imagine they’d tolerate their party failing to follow through with Brexit.

        Craving the role of PM above all, I’m sure May was only too happy to oblige.

    2. Peter May -

      Good points. She definitely likes the power, and as so often, is not suited to wield it. If its power or the country, power wins.

  2. Andy Crow -

    I’m not entirely convinced by the worst PM title going to Mrs May.

    Leaders have to be considered in the context of their time (Events, dear boy; events) and the party they have to lead.

    The mere fact that despite all the predictions of her detractors she is still in post says a great deal for her ‘qualities’. I don’t like her very much, but I have to admire her tenacity. A house divided is said proverbially to fall, and it hasn’t yet against all the odds. The country is in tatters, but the party is still intact. If you believe that only the Tories can run the country, that is a ‘result’.

    Taking a sporting analogy, the best captain in the world couldn’t make much of a crap team which refuses to cooperate. Corbyn has had much the same problem for much of his period of tenure as opposition Labour leader. The PLP even forced him to re-run the leadership election, they hated him so much.

    That neither of them shows much sign of having a cogent vision of what they would lead their parties towards, and thus lead ‘their’ people is however a very great failing. Neither has actually come out and said, as John Major did that they ‘don’t do the vision thing’.

    Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair and indeed Gordon Brown are all very strong contenders for the dubious accolade of ‘Worst since Churchill’. And let’s face it Churchill was a mixed bag at best, his reputation greatly enhanced by playing with two major nations on his side, claiming credit for their input and success then writing his own version of history. The extent of his achievement was two fold: Inspiring the Battle of Britain which kept us in the game, and his ‘communication skills’ which were great for morale.

    I suppose his third skill was the wit to claim as great victories some of Hitlers worst incompetences. El Alamein in particular.

    As he said, history will be kind to me because I will be writing it.

    Theresa May will be needing a nifty biographer.

  3. Peter May -

    I think Corbyn does vision – after all, for the many, not the few, is vision.
    I actually don’t agree that Margaret Thatcher, Blair or Brown are even in the running compared to May.
    On her watch: taking benefits away from the disabled, closing sure start centres, taking child benefits away from third child, reducing entitlement to free school meals, record homelessness, effectively reduced NHS spending, failing to permit legal immigration with a hostile environment. Keeping 1985 police numbers for a much increased population, privatising probation, Grenfell fire. I could go on – but it’s an enormous charge sheet that Blair and Brown are nowhere near and even Thatcher was starting untried policies which could possibly have worked. Making industry leaner probably has. Destroying it definitely hasn’t!
    To May’s disasters must be added the downright incomptence of her Brexit negotiations.

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