Theresa May survived a confidence vote from her MPs but now her Cabinet ministers are filing up to stab her in the back, and they know that she will quit before 2022 and six of them are secretly gathering attack teams to bid for the leadership, and should Theresa May flounder before then, some are so enthusiastic they will be keen to make a move even before her body is cold.
Outside the Cabinet, Theresa May has to fend off attacks from ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and two former Brexit Ministers David Davis and Dominic Raab, and inside the Cabinet, the people who have a responsibility to defend her are grinding their knives.
Sajid Javid was already canvassing support for a leadership bid before the confidence vote, and he provokes Theresa May by continually attempting to interrupt her in Cabinet meetings.
But when it comes down to it they’re all an atrocious pack of back-stabbing despicable prey, gathering like a bunch of vultures, waiting for Theresa May to falter, and ultimately, she will, there’s no uncertainty about that, and Theresa May will boot the bucket down the road until the bucket finally goes over the cliff followed by the United Kingdom in a Lemming-like death dive.
And shortly they’ll all be ordering a set of kitchen knives for each other, talk about backstabbing each other, and right now what Parliament requires is a present-day Guy Fawkes because the establishment has become corrupt to the core and most of the house comprises members whose principal purposes are to feather their own nests.
This country needs help as Theresa May’s grasp on power appears to look somewhat uncertain, and for all her tenacity, she’s not a miracle worker, and the impossible demands of Brexiters will eventually seal her fate, and her appearance was as difficult to interpret as ever.
Theresa May portrayed so little of her emotions as she emerged from Downing Street, you simply wouldn’t have known if she was resigning or declaring unity in our time, but perhaps she didn’t really know herself.
Yet even in what may be her closing days in office, Theresa May still has her uniquely stultifying ability to drain a moment of its drama with Ministers sometimes protesting that she chairs cabinet meetings, rather than leading them and that her own viewpoints remain curiously obscure.
But there was a feeling of precisely that indifference when she came to parliament, with ministers plummeting like houseflies, she didn’t even attempt to pretend this was the deal anybody had wanted, rather, she wanted the nation to know that she had done her best in these difficult times, even if some believed it wasn’t good enough.
The overall aim was of a post woman trudging through a snowstorm, simply attempting to achieve what the people had ordered, as if her own feelings hardly mattered, and maybe, in a way, they don’t, and years ago, when Theresa May first started being seriously considered as a prospective leader, Europe was the one subject on which even her closest political collaborators couldn’t be sure where she stood.
The best they could offer was that she didn’t appear extremely inspired, and perhaps deep down she never thought Brexit could ever work, and perhaps if she’d believed harder in the fairies everything would have worked out, but whatever she feels deep down, it’s not the May way to simulate any sentiment, any more than it is to motivate.
Theresa May prevails by grinding people down, wearing them out, pointing out the lack of a better option, and it’s how she became leader in the first place, it’s how she has survived despite her party’s apprehensions, and seemingly how she will now attempt to stave off the attempted leadership challenge now underway.
This time she can barely get away with acting as nothing has altered, but the word is that nothing will be changing, a deal is a deal, and her best bet is to convince her party that anything is better than the prospect of inadvertently placing Jacob Rees-Mogg in Downing Street, before somehow attempting to sell her unloved deal to the country on the grounds that at least this way everyone will know where they are and Brexit will be over.
As she insisted the British people simply want her to get on with it and that most people don’t care how this thing ends, as long as it does end. Yet that end now looks a very long way off really, and there’s something almost immorally hypocritical about continuing to pretend at this time of elevated national jeopardy.
And if negotiations have really reached a standstill, then stopping the clock on article 50 and throwing the ball back to the people in a second referendum arguably seems the best way forth, but let’s not assume that the outcome of a second referendum would undoubtedly be any more welcome than the last one.
And that the defeated side would be any more reconciled to defeat, or that we wouldn’t waste the next 10 years bickering about who lied and plagiarised, and before we get to any of that, the last act of the Tory psychodrama must first play itself out.
Theresa May is not only running out of road on Brexit, relationships with the DUP, which won’t back her deal, have plunged into the deep freeze amid mutterings of private promises betrayed, and she can’t rely on their votes now to push through whatever tattered remnants of her domestic policy are left.
And desperation to keep the Brexit show on the road is now bending the seat of government out of shape, with reports of policy and spending decisions being twisted to keep nervous ministers on board, but if her premiership has been severely lacking in creativity at times, by taking the referendum result so literally Theresa May at least has to present a moment of dreadful clarity about the consequences.
Tory Brexiters demanded the impossible, well, now they have it, a deal that’s impracticable to get through parliament, difficult to sell to leave voters so cynically led to expect something better, and if nothing else, history will surely remember Theresa May more kindly than either the architects of leave or her forerunner, David Cameron, whose catastrophic lapse of judgement landed us in this mess.
They broke it, but she owned it, which explains the odd note of pity that sneaks in when her name crops up in conversation beyond Westminster, so it may now be for someone else to glue the pieces back together.