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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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“Two men look out through the same bars; One sees mud, the other, stars.” Frederick Langbridge
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:
- …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.
- ….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.
- …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.
- …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.
- …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.
Video courtesy of Channel 4 News
Rise, and rise again, until lambs become lions, Theresa May!
London, UK: Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative government loses a historic vote in the UK House of Commons on her cherished (and reworked) Withdrawal Agreement by a vote of 391-242, a margin of 149 votes.
History: On January 23, 2016 an historic vote was held where 52% of those Britons who cared to show up at the polls, voted to Leave the European Union. They didn’t vote for a complicated Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a high-sounding, but non-legally binding Political Declaration.
Britons voted to Leave the EU. Nothing more, nothing less. They didn’t vote for a Withdrawal Agreement, nor did they vote for a Political Declaration.
Subsequent to the EU referendum, the UK held a General Election in June of 2017 where all UK political parties as part of their party platform supported Brexit. Not one party ran on an anti-Brexit platform. And no surprise there, as each party was simply mirroring the will of The People since the June 2016 EU referendum.
Since that time, Prime Minister Theresa May and EU negotiators have been attempting to agree a deal for the UK to leave the European Union over-and-above the simple wishes of the UK electorate and that proposed deal has become known as the EU Withdrawal Agreement.
That’s the deal that was voted down in the House of Commons in January 2019 by a historic margin of 230 votes. Never in British history had a bill been so resoundingly defeated.
Now that same bill with minor changes has been voted down by British MP’s by a healthy 149 votes.
I suspect that much of the failure of this latest iteration of the bill was because MP’s had only a few hours to study the reworked (and incredibly complex) Withdrawal Agreement, as Theresa May presented the new version less than one day before it was up for a Parliamentary vote. Très gauche, Theresa!
Near-Term Parliamentary Process: Tomorrow (March 13, 2019) MP’s will vote on the so-called ‘No Deal’ scenario and on March 14th they will vote on whether the UK should go to the EU (cap in hand) to ask for an Article 50 extension — to give more time to UK and EU negotiators to come up with a deal — notwithstanding that 2.5 years hasn’t been long enough and notwithstanding that not one single issue will have changed in the meantime, and the EU is under no obligation whatsoever to accept an Article 50 extension.
Let me repeat that statement; If an Article 50 extension is requested by the UK, the EU is under no obligation to accede to that request, nor will any issue have changed (nor the opinions behind them) in the meantime. Therefore, what exactly would be the point of the UK applying for, or the EU accepting, an Article 50 extension?
See? There’s no logical reason to extend the Article 50 deadline.
And from the point of view of UK voters, an Article 50 extension would reward mediocrity — the kind of mediocrity that is represented by 2.5 years of limp-wristed and on-again-off-again negotiating that doesn’t deserve another chance.
What Would Margaret Thatcher Do?
Anyone who saw how Margaret Thatcher operated would know that she wouldn’t have done the EU dance, allowing them to call the tune every step of the way.
For tomorrow’s vote, Maggie would’ve simply whipped her MP’s to vote for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit — and that would be the end of the present 2.5 year-long period of economic uncertainty — and it by far would be the best thing for the UK economy and for Britons wondering where all this unguided or lightly guided Brexit will end-up.
Sometimes, You Have to Do the Smartest Thing – Which Can Sometimes be the (Temporarily) Unpopular Thing
And that’s what Theresa May hasn’t yet learned.
Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, learned over her long career that no matter what promises have been made, no matter how uncomfortable the short-term might be, no matter the (short-term) howls of protest, senior politicians must stand up and do what’s best for the country, and do it with a sense of urgency and purpose.
And what’s best for the UK at this moment in history is for Theresa May to ‘whip’ her MP’s tomorrow to support an automatic ‘No Deal’ Brexit and just get Brexit done and dusted — thereby putting a definite and permanent end to the present economic uncertainty.
Her detractors will say, ‘Yes, but Theresa May is no Margaret Thatcher!’ and whatever else anyone ever said about her, Maggie commanded a high degree of respect from her political friends and enemies due to her having the courage to always and without fail do ‘the right thing’ as she saw it — no matter the obstacles.
If Prime Minister Theresa May can summon her inner Margaret Thatcher tonight and direct her Parliamentary whips to force every Conservative MP to vote FOR a ‘No Deal’ Brexit tomorrow, all the uncertainty building in the UK economy would dissipate within a matter of days. And Britons and UK stakeholders could get on with the job of making Brexit Britain an astonishing success story and the EU could concentrate on its internal problems. Phew!
It would be the defining moment of Theresa May’s premiership.
The entire world would thank the Prime Minister and breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, even in Brussels!
Small numbers of Remainers might complain for a few days, but on the whole, being decisive now would solve more problems than continuing along the present course.
Can Theresa May (BPE) the Bureaucrat Par-Excellence make the switch to Theresa May (PPE) Politician Par-Excellence and be the politician that’s so desperately needed at this crucial moment in Britain’s history?
We’ll soon know.