petej + leadership   510

Theresa May is effectively gone. She is a leader in name only | Michael Heseltine | Opinion | The Guardian
Or, as is much more likely, the Brexiteers will demand significant changes to reflect their own views – views that will appal and frighten much of the electorate when they realise the enormity of what is being done. In essence, Brexiteers want to dismantle much of what we regard as the underpinning of civilised life in the modern world.
UK  Brexit  ToryParty  leadership  MayTheresa  politics  EU  Remain  referendum  PeoplesVote  dctagged  dc:creator=HeseltineMichael 
29 days ago by petej
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 
4 weeks ago by petej
Theresa May’s Brexit lost to the ultimate adversary: reality | Rafael Behr | Opinion | The Guardian
This has been the greatest source of frustration and shock for the rest of Europe: the spectacle of a once serious country, formerly admired for the coolness of its temperament, racing towards perilous choices while turning its face defiantly against obvious realities. That, plus the tragic irony of history creating a vacancy for visionary leadership and then filling it with May.

There is an almost perfect mismatch between the prime minister’s character and the skills she has needed. She was blunt when she should have been diplomatic; inscrutable when she needed to be candid. When imagination was required, she opted for inane repetition. When she should have reached out, she doubled down. She appeased enemies of compromise in parliament and squandered goodwill in the country.

It can be hard to disentangle the disaster Brexit might always have been from the specific mess May has made of it. There are turnings on the road to failure that she did not need to take, junctions that were missed. She did not have to embark on the article 50 route before knowing where it led. She could have drawn different red lines or changed them when they confined her to impossible choices. But while there were problems with the driver, there were also limits to how far she could get with Brexiteer maps, scrawled in crayon on the eve of the referendum with wild, higgledy lines pointing at destinations that don’t exist.

The result is that the country has been driven round in circles. The parliamentary debate on May’s deal today was a gloomier, paler version of the one that was held in January. For much of the day the Commons benches were emptier than last time. The prime minister’s exhausted voice was hoarser. The deal was rejected by a smaller margin not because it has got any better, but because fear and exhaustion are catching up with Tory MPs, overtaking their belief that something better will come along.

As for the implacables who voted against May, they were not jubilant. They inflicted a defeat, but they know also that there was no victory here for any kind of Brexit. A ruinous no deal is still technically possible, but a chain of events has been triggered that could lead to postponement or even annulment of the whole project. The prime minister’s humiliation could rebound on to every Eurosceptic fanatic who urged her ever further and faster down the road to nowhere. Brexiteers have a dangerous adversary that they cannot name. It isn’t any opposition party, or Brussels, or remainers. It is reality.
UK  EU  Brexit  withdrawalAgreement  meaningfulVote  defeat  HouseOfCommons  Parliament  backstop  Euroscepticism  MayTheresa  politics  nationalism  delusion  leadership  failure  dctagged  dc:creator=BehrRafael  intransigence 
6 weeks ago by petej
Robert Peston - We have a Tory government and governing... | Facebook
First, will she stick to government policy and - via a three-line whip - force MPs and ministers to vote to keep the option of leaving without a deal on 29 March on the table?

Were she to do this, she would probably precipitate the resignations of more than 20 ministers from cabinet and lower ranks. Which is the sort of accident most PM's would rather avoid.

But were she to allow a free vote, she would be conceding that on one of the most important questions of this age or any, she and the government used to have a position and a view, but now she doesn't.

Which is not a great look.

Second, if there is a free vote, how would she vote?

If for a no-deal Brexit, then she would probably be on the losing side, which would look very odd (to say the least), though she is racking up these historic losses like a school child collecting Pokemon game cards.

And if she votes against, then she would be betraying what she has claimed for months is in the interest of the nation.

So what will she do? How will she whip her party and vote herself in that historic no-deal vote next week?

I asked her ministers. None have a clue. She won't tell them.

How would they recommend she votes?

I asked one I would normally expect to be less religious on this issue than most.

This is what he said: "she should give a free vote and then vote herself to rule out leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement(without a deal)".

So the recommended position for this prime minister, according to one of her closest allies and supporters, would be to abandon the pretence that the government is in charge of leaving the EU - and also to admit that what she has been telling us about the virtues of no deal have been so much piffle.
UK  politics  Brexit  ToryParty  ERG  LabourParty  leadership  anti-Semitism  withdrawalAgreement  meaningfulVote  CoxGeoffrey  backstop  legal  noDeal  MayTheresa  dctagged  dc:creator=PestonRobert 
7 weeks ago by petej
Don’t pity May. Her immigration obsession helped get us into this mess | Gary Younge | Opinion | The Guardian
The story of the last two years, like the last few days, has been reality intruding on rhetoric in the most inconvenient ways. The actual process of Brexit demands more pain or more compromise, or both, than most of those who voted to leave the EU are prepared to put up with.

“There are two kinds of European nations,” the Danish finance minister Kristian Jensen said last year. “There are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realised they are small nations.” This is Britain’s most public and painful reckoning with its size and influence in its post-colonial state. It’s not pretty. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Absent a change of government, the only thing we can be certain of is failure. Either Brexit will fail and we will stay in the EU or it will succeed in some way we either do not want or had not anticipated, and the country will fail. The politics, at this point, appears to be centred upon who will be blamed for that failure. Few in the polity seem to be talking about what success would look like beyond the narrow litigation of the close result two years ago. The leave victory was not only, in part, the product of alienation; the way in which the political class has dealt with it has produced even more cynicism.
UK  politics  ToryParty  Brexit  MayTheresa  leadership  noConfidence  immigration  hostileEnvironment  xenophobia  incompetence  delusion  dctagged  dc:creator=YoungeGary 
december 2018 by petej
Theresa May is now a lame duck – too weak to take back control of her party | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
More profoundly – much more profoundly – this vote was a wake-up call about the terminal sterility of a certain kind of Conservative vision. It’s a kind of Conservatism that is a confluence of two different traditions, and the Tory party is too respectful to both of them. On the one hand, there is a white establishment tradition, largely English rather than British in mentality, that has not come to terms with the loss of empire, dislikes foreigners, and which somehow equates Brexit with the restoration of British superiority and power. On the other, there are Thatcher’s children, often self-made, self-confident, petit bourgeois, anti-foreigner and anti-state, flirting with Ukip, beguiled by the Great in Great Britain and irreconcilable to any European engagement.

May’s critics are genuinely hopeless at politics. They can cause a lot of trouble. But they cannot, will not, take responsibility for practical action in government. They appear to believe that there is a Commons majority for their faith-based, crash-out, free-at-last, ourselves-alone Brexit if only they can install a true believer and bring the DUP back onside. The vote confirmed that is not true. The naivety is breathtaking. Such a Tory leader would lose any Brexit bill or confidence vote. Luckily for the Tory party, most MPs proved today they are not so foolish.

In the end, it’s the recklessness over Ireland, an instinct that lies deep in the DNA of part of the Tory party, that is the most frightening piece of foolishness. These fanatics, playing footsie with a DUP clique that puts sectarianism above the wider needs of a Northern Ireland that voted remain, are the direct political descendants, though with half the talent, of people such as Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1890s, FE Smith in the 1910s and Enoch Powell in the 1970s. All of them tried to play the Orange card. All of them did so with awful results for Ireland and Britain alike. As Talleyrand said of the Bourbons, they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing – and they proved it again this week.
UK  politics  ToryParty  leadership  MayTheresa  TheRight  Brexit  authority  dctagged  dc:creator=KettleMartin  conservatism  nationalism  xenophobia  Thatcherism  neoliberalism  delusion  Ireland 
december 2018 by petej
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