Letters

The Patriotic Thing, Theresa May, is to Brexit on March 29: Deal, or No Deal

by John Brian Shannon

Either a country is led by a strong leader who controls the narrative or the narrative is controlled by others

And because Theresa May allowed the narrative to be controlled by everyone but her since July 2016, the present moment of government dysfunction is on the Prime Minister’s head. Her talking about the ‘collective responsibility’ of the House of Commons for the ongoing Brexit spectacle is appalling.

She talks about the ‘collective failure of Parliament’ to find a way forward on the Brexit file, yet MP’s are simply reacting to the situation that Theresa May created — or rather, the situation that she allowed to evolve into what it is today.

Whatever is wrong with Brexit at this moment isn’t the voter’s fault, it isn’t the EU’s fault as they’ve been on-message the whole time without deviation (whether we agree with their positions are another matter, of course) and it isn’t the fault of Parliament.

The reason we’re at this absurd moment is because the seeds were set early in Theresa May’s premiership; In her initial feckless attitude towards Brexit, in her so-called ‘red lines’ (which she has now crossed every one of them, so why did she bother?) and in her weakness to a) stand up to members of her own cabinet, and b) to stand up for the UK’s position in Brussels with anything more than supplication and kowtowing.

Assigning ‘collective responsibility’ and ‘collective failure’ on a House of Commons that (practically) had to pull her teeth to gain even tiny bits of news about how the Brexit negotiations were unfolding is a bit rich, Prime Minister!


12-Days From Brexit Day

Europe is now 12-days away from Brexit and nobody, not one person in Europe, knows what’s happening!

The automatic and legally binding default is a No Deal Brexit — as that’s the law in the United Kingdom and in the European Union — as both accepted the final Brexit date as March 29, 2019 early in the discussions.

But if Theresa May is simply ‘going through the motions’ and running down the clock to get to a No Deal Brexit on March 29th she’s still got my vote.

Because, frankly, that’s what The People voted for in the June 23, 2016 referendum, and the referendum result was strengthened by the June 8, 2017 UK General Election where every party that won seats in that election were parties that supported Brexit.

At that time we weren’t talking about Withdrawal Agreements or Political Declarations as Theresa May hadn’t yet begun to confuse everyone with her ‘red lines’, with complicated withdrawal documents, with a plethora of Cabinet-level firings, resignations and hirings, complete with mixed messages between her and her still-employed Cabinet officials, between her and her caucus, between her and the EU and EC Presidents, and between her and the UK public.


Communications Breakdown!

I think I see where the problem is. Prime Minister Theresa May has a communications problem.

That’s fine. New Prime Ministers and new Presidents can sometimes have that problem. But it’s important to rectify it before it blows up the country, blows up Brexit, or even blows up the Conservative Party’s chances of governing ever again.

While she’s done a great job on the economy, on government services, and not too bad on foreign affairs (Brexit aside) nobody knows about that information, anywhere! Even people who work for the government might not know that. It’s a well-kept secret. And that’s the number one sign of a communications problem.

The second sign of a communications problem (in this case) is the present Brexit situation which is looking more a debacle each passing day. Even if the UK does exit on March 29th as promised and as required by UK law, she’ll still receive only half the credit she would for accomplishing that goal on account of the bad optics. Not to mention her remaining challenges.

If Theresa May is in charge of her own communications department she needs to fire herself fast — and if she actually pays someone to keep all her good accomplishments quiet and make her look as inept and as timorous as possible in her dealings with the EU, she needs to fire that person, fast.


The ‘Patriotic Thing’ List for Theresa May

  1. Always own your successes and always own your failures. Don’t try to fob your failures off on MP’s. You created the Brexit situation as it stands, you are the one in charge, it’s yours, own it. Like U.S. President Harry Truman said: “The buck stops here.” And every world leader must live by that rule. Yes, it can be unfair sometimes, but that’s life, and nobody ever said life was fair. It’s why you get paid the big bucks, and nobody forced you into the Prime Minister’s chair. Deal with it.
  2. Hire a communications director. You need help. He or she won’t be able to cover bad policy decisions that you make, but at least they can minimize them, and they can help you keep MP’s better informed all the way along a process so it doesn’t look like you F’d it up partway through and you’re now trying to dump the whole mess on them and make it look like it’s their fault.
  3. Keep your promises, no matter how hard that is to do. You said a million times that Brexit will be completed by March 29, 2019, therefore (too late to change now!) you must keep your promise. The UK must Brexit on March 29th, without fail, or you and your party are toast at the next election. And maybe the one after that.
  4. Even if the UK leaves without a Withdrawal Agreement, Britain will save £39 billion and it will become instantly eligible to sign Free Trade Deals with other countries; Two major benefits right there! And the EU will come calling, of that you can be certain. They need to sell all those BMW’s and Volkswagens into the UK, and a whole lot more than that. Within days and on an à la carte basis, every part of the present draft Withdrawal Agreement will be signed between the UK and the EU, but only because it’s in the best interests of both parties. It will happen organically. Don’t sweat it.
  5. Threatening to cancel Brexit or delaying Brexit, or adding one or two years to the Withdrawal Agreement negotiating process only works to make you look small. It will make you look like you’re not big enough to handle the job and it makes the UK look like a teenager who says he wants to move out of Mom and Dad’s house, yet becomes afraid and then reneges on his pledge. Cancelling Brexit or delaying Brexit for any reason means that you’re not up to the job and that you need to be replaced. Real leaders get things done, while pretenders need more time, more time, more time — until the whole issue goes away and it never gets done. That’s the kind of thing we see in Frontier economies, not in the Top 10 global economies.
  6. Stop acting like the UK is the 120th-largest economy on Earth. The UK is the 6th-largest economy in the world and every country wants to trade with it. The UK needn’t kowtow to any country. It’s time to embrace the world, and it’s time to re-energize our relationship with the Commonwealth countries.

Brexit… Prime Minister May, is not a problem to be managed, it’s an opportunity.

“Two men look out through the same bars; One sees mud, the other, stars.” Frederick Langbridge

MP’s Back Brexit Delay: A Vote for Mediocrity!

by John Brian Shannon

London, March 14, 2019: British MP’s vote on a number of indicative votes in the House of Commons to help the government gain some understanding of where Parliament sits on each potential pathway forward through the final days of the Brexit process.

At least, that’s what we were led to believe.

What actually happened was that Theresa May loaded a Trojan Horse into the day’s festivities and thereby received permission from Parliamentarians for an Article 50 extension.

Which was her only goal methinks, the rest of it was for show.


One Good Thing…

One good thing that came about in the voting was the complete lack of enthusiasm for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ (a 2nd referendum on leaving the EU) which was soundly defeated 334 votes to 85 — a margin of 249 votes.

So the 2nd referendum proposal dies in Parliament allowing MP’s to get on with sifting through the dozens of other indicative proposals in a process that will push the more popular propositions to the top of the government’s priority list. (Let’s hope)


And One Bad Thing…

But not everything went well as MP’s backed the government’s motion (413 votes to 202) to extend Article 50 beyond the promised March 29, 2019 deadline.

It’s the worst thing Parliament has done since Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1937-1940) decided to appease, rather than confront, the mounting threat in Europe. Which (policy) didn’t end well.

Nor will this end well, a vote that rewards Prime Minister Theresa May’s lack of accomplishment towards a viable Withdrawal Agreement (which UK voters didn’t vote for on the referendum ballot) but which Theresa May tells us is of the utmost importance (it isn’t) and which has worked to lower peoples’ perceptions of the quality of government and timeliness of government they receive from their elected officials.

I fully expect at the next General Election there will be a thorough housecleaning as voters won’t forget what they were promised ad nauseam since July 2016, and what The Government writ large has massively failed to deliver.

Let’s remember some of these oft-repeated Theresa May statements that the country was led to believe framed her will on Brexit:

  • “Brexit Means Brexit”
  • “Brexit Delayed is Brexit Denied.”
  • “No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal”
  • “The UK Will Regain Control of its Money”
  • “The UK Will Become The Great Meritocracy”
  • “Nothing is Agreed Until Everything is Agreed.”
  • “The UK Will No Longer be Subject to a Foreign Court”
  • “The UK Will Regain the Right to Write its Own Trade Deals”
  • “The UK Will Regain Control of its Borders and Immigration”
  • “The UK Will be Leaving the European Union on March 29, 2019.”

Rewarding Theresa May and her government for failing to deliver on every promise made about Brexit over the past 3-years by giving her even more time to fail is outrageous.

MP’s should hang their heads in shame and walk humbly among The People wearing only sackcloth and ashes for the next 10-years to atone for their inability to hold the Prime Minister to account and for lowering the threshold of good government, generally.

A well-known truism states that “Every day, we teach others how to treat us,” and members of the House of Commons have just taught Theresa May that incompetence, false promises, and weak government, will be rewarded with more time to accomplish more of the same (which, on the Brexit file, is piss-all thus far) and it’s shameful what MP’s have done.

No government in history has accomplished less in 994-days on their main policy platform than the Theresa May government.

Let me be clear! If Brexit doesn’t occur on March 29, 2019 as promised by the government Theresa May should be fired for non-performance. If you can’t get the job done in 1009-days (June 23, 2016 – March 29, 2019) then you don’t deserve the job!

Is that really so hard for the snowflake generation to understand?


On Top of All That: The EU is Under No Obligation to Grant an Article 50 Extension

It should be noted that the EU is under no obligation to extend the Article 50 deadline and that many senior EU and EC officials have said that the UK government would need to provide a good reason to extend the deadline. Apparently, the EU won’t simply extend the deadline just because British politicians ask for it.

Which seems completely appropriate and I will support the EU if it won’t agree to an Article 50 extension. There’s already been too much economic uncertainty, and for too long.


Brexit: Theresa May’s Job-For-Life

Theresa the Remainer has said all the right things since she accepted the job of UK Prime Minister in July 2016, yet here we are 994-days later, and now she wants an extension to get the job done that she should’ve accomplished within months of the EU referendum vote.

It seems that if you let her, Theresa May will turn the job of securing a Brexit into a job for life — a job that never completes — so that we always need her at the helm to steer it through. (That appears to be the strategy for her to remain as Prime Minister forever)

Micheal Gove could’ve gotten the job done in 1-year although he might have ruffled a few feathers in Brussels. Jacob Rees-Mogg, for another example, could’ve gotten the job done in 2-years and it would’ve been a very gentlemanly Brexit indeed, however, he wouldn’t have understood the Eurocrat mindset which might’ve caused him consternation. And Boris Johnson would’ve made a titanic success of Brexit but may have caused hard feelings between the UK and EU governments.

Still, the job of Brexit would’ve been done and dusted long ago, minus gazillions of tons of uncertainty over the past 994-days were any of those three in the PM’s chair since July 2016. Theresa May certainly isn’t indispensable as regards Brexit.

So why keep her?

As Theresa May herself has said many times, “Brexit delayed is Brexit denied,” and sending an Article 50 extension request to the EU now would kick the Brexit can down the road. Significantly.

People are beginning to tire of all this Brexit talk, it’s already dying of overexposure in the media spotlight at Day 994. Imagine how Britons will feel at Day 1374! (994 + 15 more days until March 29, 2019 + a 365 day Article 50 extension)

As I said at the outset, Theresa May loaded a Trojan Horse into today’s House of Commons proceedings and in the excitement not one person recognized how profoundly she’s changed the Brexit story.

Now she imagines she has a job for life — and for the next 12-months she’ll only fan the flames of Brexit whenever she needs support to stay in power.

Eventually, she knows that Brexit will die of overexposure in the public domain. But not to worry, she’ll have found something else by then to keep her in power, thanks to those MP’s who choose to reward mediocre Prime Ministers.


“Brexit Delayed is Brexit Denied”

Theresa the Remainer was right! Brexit delayed, is indeed, Brexit denied.

I’m beginning to think that Theresa the Remainer decided long ago that the best way to keep her job for the longest amount of time and to stop Brexit was to delay Brexit for as long as possible.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

And her enablers are those MP’s who reward Prime Ministers who can’t (or don’t want to) succeed at their primary (and oft-stated) goal.


Just in Case You’re Interested in What Britons Think About Delaying Brexit…

But it’s likely you aren’t interested in what Britons think if you’re one of the 413 UK politicians who voted for an Article 50 extension in today’s House of Commons vote, but some 43% of Britons don’t want any further Brexit delay, they just want it over and done so as to end the present period of economic uncertainty — while 38% of Britons want to delay Brexit in hopes that Brexit will simply fade away.

Brexit delay vote held March 14, 2019

A majority of the UK people don’t want an Article 50 extension. They want Parliament to get on with the job of Brexit and end the present period of economic uncertainty. So Parliament votes against a ‘People’s Vote’ — but votes for an Article 50 extension. Facepalm! Image courtesy of YouGov.com

Theresa May, Stop What You’re Doing & Read This!

by John Brian Shannon

The elephant in the room that you fail to see, Theresa May, is that the EU wants a People’s Vote Labour Government and your party is bleeding MP’s at a rate of four per month. Do the math!

It’s clearly in the EU’s best interest to delay Brexit in the hope that Theresa May’s party will continue losing four Conservative MP’s/month until they no longer command a majority in the UK House of Commons whereupon Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would contrive a Vote of No Confidence in the government thereby triggering a General Election.

And the spectacle of almost 3-years of Brexit negotiations that haven’t gone anywhere isn’t doing the public mood any good. Therefore, in a General Election, Labour could capture some 325-seats and the Conservative Party would go down in flames.

Jeremy Corbyn (almost) can’t lose now that other opposition parties — including the new Independent Group freshly buoyed with former Conservative Party MP’s — could combine forces to bring down the government. (And it’s conceivable that more Conservative defections could still occur)

Don’t look now, but the sharks are circling, Theresa — and it’s you they’re circling.

If you don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is capable of pulling-off such an upset you’ve seriously underestimated his capabilities!

It doesn’t matter if they don’t agree policy. What matters is that they could work together on an ABM platform (ABM = Anyone But May) to bring down the government.


Just What the EU Wants: Another ‘People’s Vote’

And (obviously) the most direct path to cancelling Brexit is via an Article 50 extension to provide enough time for Remainers, for Remain-fixated media types, for the EU, and for the Labour Party to ‘play’ or ‘game’ the Brexit narrative until they get the result they want — which is a cancelled Brexit and a cap-in-hand UK asking to be readmitted to the EU because it wasn’t competent enough to arrange a viable exit from the European Union.

Jeremy Corbyn is on record calling for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ to further confirm or deny the Brexit that UK citizens voted for. (Notwithstanding that there have already been two ‘People’s Votes’ — the June 23, 2016 referendum and the June 8, 2017 UK General Election where every party that won seats, ran on a pro-Brexit platform)

But Theresa May ‘played’ the Brexit card for too long and will now get burned unless she acts quickly to regain lost momentum.

Just as the frustration level with the (almost 3-year-long) Brexit process is about to peak, Jeremy Corbyn, his Labour Party, and the EU, appear to have played their cards exceptionally well in calling for another EU referendum at this moment and the chance for a Labour election landslide is high should Theresa May try to extend the Article 50 Brexit date beyond March 29, 2019.

You couldn’t make this up if you tried!


BEFORE You Lose the Next Election, Theresa, Consider These Points:

If You:

  1. …continue to try to thrash your amended Withdrawal Agreement and your beautifully-written-but-legally-meaningless Political Declaration through the House of Commons you’ll bleed evermore MP’s and hand the government to Jeremy Corbyn and his party before you realize what’s happened.
  2. ….seek to extend Article 50, you might lose even more MP’s to the Independent Group and Jeremy Corbyn will become Prime Minister before you know it.
  3. …prevent an Article 50 extension vote from occurring tomorrow and instead drop in an EFTA + UK control of immigration option for MP’s to vote on as an indicative proposition, you’ll change the entire Brexit conversation in a positive way! And goodness knows the resolution might actually pass in the House of Commons with a healthy majority. Whereupon, you’d be on the fast-track to Brexit (as the EU has previously approved the EFTA + UK control of immigration option) and your personal life/life satisfaction would dramatically improve and your government could get back to governing instead of tying itself in knots.
  4. …resign your position as Prime Minister and hand the reins of power to Micheal Gove — he’ll get Brexit done and make it look easy — and he’ll do it without losing MP’s. And you could take-up the position of the Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom’s present position) while Andrea Leadsom could move to the House of Lords where she’ll be graciously welcomed to finish out her political career.
  5. …cancel Brexit altogether, at this late date(!) the Conservative Party might cease to exist in the future and such is the present mood of the public that you might lose your seat in Maidenhead and the chance to become a member of the House of Lords at some future date.

Like it or not, those are your choices, Theresa May.

There aren’t any other viable choices, so you’ve got to choose between those five. And you’ve got to decide before 10:00am to allow the Speaker of the House of Commons enough time to be properly informed about what’s planned for the day.

‘Leading from behind’ (or being behind the curve) isn’t an option for you any longer.

It’s time to stick your neck out and make a decision; One that costs you the fewest MP defections and changes the entire, sorry, and disjointed Brexit narrative, thereby putting some power back into UK politics which is looking uncharacteristically weak in recent months.


Bonus Video

Video courtesy of Channel 4 News

Rise, and rise again, until lambs become lions, Theresa May!

 

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What would happen if the UK Parliament rejected Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Plan?

What would happen if the UK Parliament rejected Theresa May's draft Withdrawal Plan?

Click image to listen to the MP4 audio on BBC 4.

UK Prime Minister’s Questions March 20, 2019

The Nigel Farage Show: March 20, 2019

The Nick Ferrari Show March 20, 2019: Andrea Leadsom – Leader of the House of Commons