eu27   68

« earlier    

The EU knows it, so do our own MPs – Theresa May is finished | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
The bankruptcy of May’s overseas enterprise has been coming since the day she set up shop in No 10. The squandering of credibility started almost at once, with the appointment of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary in 2016. Only someone with a tin ear for European sensibilities would have given the top diplomat job to a man known on the continent as a rogue peddler of anti-Brussels propaganda.

Then there was the early negotiating period, during which EU leaders thought May’s robotic, inscrutable manner concealed a deep, strategic intelligence. They came to realise that there was no mask. The inanity – the reciting of “Brexit means Brexit” even in private meetings – was not the cover story for a secret plan. It was the plan.

The point of no return was the summit in Salzburg last September. May was invited to make the case for what was left of her “Chequers plan” to European heads of government. It was late. They were tired. There were other difficult matters to attend to. And instead of speaking candidly, persuasively, passionately or even just coherently, the British prime minister read mechanically from a text that was, in substance, no different from an op-ed article already published under her name in a German newspaper that morning. It was embarrassing and insulting. Many European diplomats say that was the moment when Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and others realised they were dealing with someone out of her depth, unable to perform at the level required for the job that needed doing.

A similar story is emerging from last night’s summit. May was asked about backup plans in the event that parliament rejects her deal a third time. She had nothing. She restated her determination that the deal should pass. This infuriating obtuseness is grimly familiar on this side of the Channel. Cabinet ministers recognise the experience of being desperate for some glimpse of the prime minister’s calculations. People who want to support her have needed some window into the workings of her political brain, maybe just a peek at her soul. They get nothing. It is hard to build trust with someone so closed and hard to stay loyal.

There was a Salzburg-style moment for pro-European Tories on Wednesday night, when the prime minister went on television to berate MPs for obstructing her deal. The spirit was demagogic, even if the style was typically charmless. Here was a besieged leader, emerging from her bunker, presenting herself as the champion of her people against a rotten parliament. This did not go down well with MPs of any stripe. But it was most counterproductive with moderate Conservatives who have voted for May’s deal twice already and both times seen her respond to defeat by borrowing ideas and rhetoric from the hardliners who have given her nothing but humiliation. She rewards enemies of compromise by becoming ever less compromising.
UK  EU  Brexit  EU27  Article50  extension  noDeal  softBrexit  referendum  PeoplesVote  MayTheresa  leadership  summit  intransigence  incompetence  failure  politics  dctagged  dc:creator=BehrRafael  EuropeanCouncil 
march 2019 by petej

« earlier    

related tags

agency  amendments  article50  backstop  barnier  barniermichel  battlebus  bbc  belgium  bercowjohn  bolesnick  borders  bradygraham  brexit  brussels  cabinet  camerondavid  chequers  citizensassembly  conservatism  constitution  constructiveambiguity  control  cooperyvette  corbynjeremy  crisis  customsunion  czechrepublic  davisdavid  dc:contributor=masonpaul  dc:contributor=walkermichael  dc:creator=ashtimothygarton  dc:creator=behrrafael  dc:creator=freedlandjonathan  dc:creator=pestonrobert  dctagged  delay  delusion  democracy  demontchalinamelie  diplomacy  discussion  dishonesty  dup  duration  ecj  eea  election  erg  eu  europe  europeancommission  europeancouncil  europeanparliament  extension  failure  france  freedomofmovement  freetradeagreement  futureofeurope  gdansk  ge2017  generalelection  germany  goodfridayagreement  greece  grievedominic  hardbrexit  houseofcommons  hungary  immigration  incompetence  indicativevote  intransigence  ireland  italy  junckerjean-claude  kennyenda  kramp-karrenbaueranna  labourparty  lancasterhouse  leadership  ledrianjean-yves  legal  liberalism  liverpool  macronemmanuel  malthousekit  may  maytheresa  mcdonnelljohn  meaningfulvote  merkelangela  migration  nationalism  negotiations  netherlands  newsnight  nodeal  northernireland  norway  norwayplus  novara  parliament  peoplesvote  planb  poland  politicaldeclaration  politics  postponement  power  procedure  prodiromano  redlines  referendum  remain  rezession  rogersivan  salzburg  schulzmartin  secrecy  selmayrmartin  services  singlemarket  softbrexit  sovereignty  spain  speech  spelmancaroline  starmerkeir  summit  supplicant  syriza  torybrexitgovt  toryparty  trade  transition  transparency  tuskdonald  uk  varadkarleo  varoufakisyanis  verhofstadtguy  video  weyandsabine  withdrawal  withdrawalagreement  wto 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: