You think she’s wearing Brexit shoes these days? Forget it.
What follows is a compendium of opinion put together over the last ten days. In local government, Westminster, the US and Brussels. Among a few backbench Tories, a lobby correspondent, a biographer, a former spin doctor, UKIP insiders, a senior member of a minority Party, and a diplomat.
They’re not “in power”, and to some extent the plan they outline is speculation – albeit informed speculation. But what has struck me is how remarkably consistent the general drift of it is.
For that reason, I choose to present the strategy this group sees coming as one imaginary quote…..although the only things in there are likelihoods mentioned by more than one respondent.
There is however one major belief shared by all of them: that while the Prime Minister is to some extent a puppet, she is capable of turning any and every situation to her advantage….and she does work the media game better than most.
Read on, and see what you make of it.
“It’s important to realise right away that Theresa has no intention of severing our relationship with the EU. She’d like us to have more control, and she’s happy with not being EU members any more, but her idea is to end up pleasing the maximum range of opinion in the Party, among the electorate, and in Brussels.
“Remember, all the key Cabinet posts are held by Remains. The only exception is Boris at the Foreign Office – but Boris is a flake, and she has quite deliberately set out to have three Leaves arguing with each other….which they are doing.
“She is under enormous diplomatic pressure to sabotage Brexit: the FCO is solidly Remain, NATO is opposed to any show of independence by the British, and Clinton has offered her opinion forcibly already: stop Brexit, or else.
“But don’t be overwhelmed by sympathy for her: she will promise anything to anyone if she thinks that’s what they want to hear. And she is in a potentially powerful position domestically. She has a game plan and it makes a lot of sense.
“This is how she would have things proceed in her ideal world. Negotiations proceed with the EU, while every major media combine on the planet ups the ante on what a disaster Brexit would be, and how the EU has the upper hand. She then puts the resultant deal to a Parliamentary vote, and the Commons votes 4-1 to accept what is obviously a diluted Brexit. Unsurprisingly, at this point – perhaps earlier – Cabinet Leaves cry foul and resign.
“Theresa sympathises publicly with the Leaves, but says it isn’t on to have another Referendum so soon. However, she insists that, as the PM, she must have a clear, elected mandate to get tough with Brussels. Privately, she calculates that the eurozone economy will be looking worse, and the euro’s systemic banking problems will be clearly apparent. So we have a General Election.
“May wants the excuse to have an election, because she thinks Labour’s campaign will be sabotaged by the Blairites, and Jeremy Corbyn’s huge popularity among Labour Party members will not be translated into the votes of less active downmarket voters: these people will defect to UKIP in increasingly large numbers. But under the FPTP voting system, this will mean fewer Labour MPs rather than a lot more UKIP members. She thinks she will win with a substantial majority, Labour will be routed, Corbyn will be ousted, and UKIP will be all over the place….as they already are.
“Theresa will then play a far more personal and “heroic”role in the ‘Brexit’ negotiations, get a better deal, and put Boris’s nose out of joint until he resigns. She will present the outcome as more control, ‘associate’ EU membership, and the best of both worlds for Britain’s trade with a maximum share of the globe.”
There are, of course, myriad ways this could go wrong – most notably by the EU collapsing entirely anyway in the face of independence, migrant, economic and fiscal pressures. By Spring next year, Brussels may even have to deal with a French President equally determined to take France out of the European Union.
Although extremely cunning and adept at media manipulation, May herself isn’t that competent in many of the policy decisions she takes….UK immigration control being a classic example.
But if (say) she makes it to 2022, the EU somehow survives the coming reset, and Labour has returned to its more flabby Establishment structure, there will probably be a consensus for retaining some form of EU membership….perhaps even reversing Brexit.
The once-in-a-lifetime chance for Britain to break out and regain its once proud reputation for niche manufacturing will have gone. But far more important (to me anyway) neocon brutalism will go into full swing: the Conservatives might very well retain power until 2027. And by then, the Welfare State will be a memory.
Personally, I think globalist flaws will have overwhelmed all such outlooks by then. But politicians aren’t good at the medium term, and Theresa May is no exception. Whatever does happen, if the above really is close to her game plan, then it’s an appalling outlook for liberty….and one in which anti-neocon forces should be forming a united front. They won’t however – and that’s the real problem.