Does She Really Mean Brexit?

During the US presidential campaign, a theory surfaced that Donald Trump was actually attempting to derail the Republicans by presenting them as a farcical option that no-one would vote for.

The strongest argument for this theory was that if you were in his position, and you wanted to ensure a Democrat win, you would conceivably do almost everything he did during the campaign. He was scarcely credible as a candidate, represented an appalling regression of decades of civil rights and equalities, and provided one dreadful gaff after another. Many found themselves wondering just how bad he had to get before people would stop supporting him.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Theresa May had been appointed the new Prime Minister whose key focus had to be the process of leaving the EU. The referendum had been and gone, as had its feckless progenitor, David Cameron. May had been a staunch Remainer, just extremely quietly and with as little fuss as possible. Is it possible, somewhere under the layers of misdirection, that May hadn’t given up all hope of staying in the EU?

As with Trump, the argument follows the lines that if you were in May’s position and you wanted to derail the Brexit process and end up with a fresh referendum, but were faced with a population that narrowly supported Brexit, you could conceivably do much as May has done.

You’d have to support Brexit in the beginning, firstly to get elected and secondly to get the support of the wider population behind you. Having achieved this, it would be sensible to push Brexit negotiations as far back as you could realistically justify, to provide a chance for the dust to settle following the referendum and the change of Government, and allow the new order to become the status quo.

What next? Well, as the determined Bremainer-in-charge you might then choose to show what kind of impact Brexit could have on the economy. By announcing that the UK will go for a hard Brexit, it not only further stirs up the volatility of the markets and mollifies the more hardcore Brexit preachers, but encourages more statements from business leaders and economists who foresee the problems ahead. Many members of the public would start to get nervous as food and fuel prices increase while wages continue to stagnate, and as inflation surges up the prospect of interest rate rises threatens to increase mortgage costs. And many would see that this is likely to be just the beginning.

But then comes the most audacious part of the plan; and this really is a humdinger. To pull this off would surely go down as one of the sharpest political moves in history. As our new leader you will now attempt to cause absolute chaos amongst the political class, by doing no less than losing your own party’s parliamentary majority. But this is easier said than done; after all, the opposition leader is woefully unpopular with mainstream voters. This will take some serious engineering.

Step 1) Refuse to take part in any televised debates. This is much better than turning up and being rubbish, as you can justify it to your own party more easily, and it creates a sense that you really couldn’t care less.

Step 2) Don’t really bother campaigning. In fact, stop some of your high profile colleagues campaigning as well. Again, this shows you to be aloof and not one of the people.

Step 3) Publish a manifesto featuring really vindictive policies that large swathes of the population will deem intolerable. This carries the delicious irony of being popular with many of your own backbenchers.

Step 4) Create a tagline for your proposed Government that turns out to be comically inappropriate, and that will be relentlessly mocked across the media and social media alike.

And with this process complete, it won’t take much from the opposition to summon enough votes to create a hung parliament, and you can then sit back and watch chaos ensue. In fact, it will be even more brilliant because you carefully ensured that the election would take place just before Brexit negotiations were due to commence.

Finally, let your beleaguered Chancellor start to have his say on the issue, appearing as the more well-rounded and down-to-earth politician who has the people’s interests at heart. The weak and wobbly leader becomes the new personification of Brexit, having stolen the show from all the goons that littered the stage at earlier times. Brexit begins to look like a bad idea, even for many who had previously voted for it.

And beyond that? Let the negotiations commence. There’s more work to do yet, but you’ll be in the best possible position you could have achieved by now to start making Brexit look like a tragic joke.

Of course, there is one serious flaw to this theory. It turned out Trump wasn’t trying to discredit the Republicans so the Democrats could win. Far from it. He’s every bit as much of a disgrace as he showed us during the campaign.

And somehow, I can’t imagine May holds the extraordinary level of genius required to pull off such a spectacular coup. Like Trump, I fear she’s exactly the disgrace that she’s shown us all along.
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Published on June 21, 2017 07:10
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