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May is not the only Leader who needs to go...

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 24th, 2019 at 09:17:51 PM EST

Back in September 2018 I wrote in Theresa May: Dead Women Walking?:

Nothing undermines a leader more than having important members of their own side align themselves with the opposition: First Donald Trump rather pointedly remarked that Boris Johnson would make a great Prime Minister. Then Boris Johnson chips in that Theresa May's Chequers proposals represent the white flag of surrender. Now Rees-Mogg praises Barnier for his charm and remarked that Barnier and Brexiteers are agreed that Theresa May's Chequers proposals are "absolute rubbish."

How is the poor woman supposed to conduct a negotiation when her own side give such aid and comfort to the enemy? In a normal democracy, Johnson and Rees-Mogg would be excoriated for betraying their own side. But it seems anything goes when it comes to attacking Theresa May. She is the fall girl for a negotiation they are determined to see fail.

The longer this can be dragged out, the more likely a "no deal" Brexit. But that is a step too far in the machinations of Boris & Co. The first step is to saddle her with an unpopular deal, and then replace Theresa May without risking a general election.

Then sing "Land of Hope and Glory" loud and clear. Threaten the EU with dire consequences in the event of a no deal. Demand an extension of the A.50 deadline if that is required. Stomp your feet and hammer your fist on the table at an EU Summit. Go all apex predator alpha male. Fight them on the beaches...

Then present any deal, if one is agreed, as a major improvement on what May negotiated. The substance doesn't matter much. Presentation is all. You must be seen to have fought the good fight and brought home the booty, giving the Boche one in the eye for good measure...

All silly fun and games really, but also the substance of much politics. Any good stage play needs a villain, a Judas, and a Saviour - a white knight on his charger. The Dramatis personæ of epic struggle: Boris Johnson's Churchill to Theresa May's Neville Chamberlain, caught in the act of appeasement.

This is not a commentary on Theresa May's leadership qualities or her lack of them. It is her misfortune to have drawn the short straw in the Casting Director's allocation of roles in this epic tale.

And now the deed has been done. She has been scapegoated with an unpopular deal and Boris is about to ride to the rescue on his white charger. Little matter that no other leader would have done much better. That the deal represents the balance of power between the EU and the UK pretty accurately, and little "improvement" can be expected. Everything is now blamed on Theresa May and her "character flaws" while Brexiteers are exonerated of all blame.

Boris Johnson or whoever is elected Tory Leader will probably go to the country in the autumn while he is still in his honeymoon period, unsullied by any difficult compromises any further negotiations might require. He will campaign to achieve a mandate for a "no deal" Brexit if the EU cannot be persuaded to be more "reasonable" in the meantime. The argument will be that only the threat of a no deal Brexit will force the EU "to its senses" and bring those pesky Irish to heal.

Faced with the united will of the British people as expressed in the general election, the EU will have no option but to fold, or so the campaign spiel will go... In fairness, Boris Johnson will have little option, because any lesser stance will allow Nigel Farage's Brexit party to split the Leave vote and consign the Tory party to oblivion. The question is whether the British people will buy the Brexiteer snake oil one more time or whether it will turn to Jeremy Corbyn for a more "moderate" stance.

It will be a supreme irony if Corbyn - so long portrayed as the leader of the loony left - comes to be seen as the spokesman for the moderate centre advocating closer ties with an EU he has never supported. It also remains to be seen whether he will be nimble enough to pivot to a Remain stance, because I suspect the public will have lost its patience with the nuances of further negotiations followed by a confirmatory public vote.

It will be all or nothing, a clean break led by Johnson, or a decision to Remain, because the Tories have mucked up the opportunity of a constructive Brexit. Corbyn can argue it was a Tory referendum, called to shore up divisions in the Tory party, and now the Tories propose to ride roughshod over all others and deliver a Tory "no deal" Brexit. This is not what the people voted for and Corbyn can give the people an opportunity to say so by campaigning for a "new relationship" with Europe based on a reformed EU.

But somehow I doubt Corbyn has the strength and vision to do so. Campaigning for a "Labour Brexit" would ensure the opposition is divided, the opposition vote split, and ultimate victory for Boris Johnson. The First Past The Post single seat constituency system does not permit much nuance or uncertainty. Those with the clearest message will win.

Theresa May has been pilloried as the worst Prime Minister in recent history. But handed a poisoned chalice, with few friends and allies and many enemies and traitors she did what she could. I doubt Jeremy Corbyn has the leadership abilities to accomplish even that much. Most likely he will lead a divided opposition to defeat, and all because he has been unable to overcome a lifetime of Euroscepticism at a time when continued membership is clearly in the best interests of the UK.

It is not Labour's job to implement a Tory Brexit. In a general election you campaign for a vision of the future rather than Tory mistakes of the past. The referendum is now part of the history of a failed Tory regime. The people are allowed to change their minds, and a general election is THE occasion when they are normally given the opportunity to do so. It is not only the Conservative and Unionist Party which is in dire need of a change of leadership.

The disaster called Theresa May and the failed negotiations are pretty much her own doing. The chalice was her choice, she knew the position left by David Cameron ... the leadership chalice became poisonous after she alone called for a snap election. The poison was the DUP 🤨. She sent her personal envoy to Brussels to negotiate with Michel Barnier ... a different league. It's the British people left holding an empty bag ... the Brexit lies were the UKIP and Farage. I am sure you would have done a better job at it that TM Frank.

No one can foretell British politics in the coming months ... the second referendum should come in a defeat for Tories in the House of Commons and a general election yet this year. Let's hope the EU election poll will be a catalyst in the downfall of the Brexiteers in the Tory party ... let it be severe!

by Oui on Fri May 24th, 2019 at 09:46:53 PM EST
The Guardian view on Theresa May: a poisonous legacy

Prime ministers do not get to dictate their legacies from a lectern outside No 10, and there was some pathos in Theresa May's attempt today to list accomplishments in government to offset her colossal failure.


She was poorly advised by ideologues who thought a hard Brexit could be achieved at minimal cost, but that is no excuse. She chose to take the bad advice when it chimed with her own prejudices and rejected wiser counsel. She entered negotiations in Brussels ill-prepared and was schooled in brutal realities of economics and diplomacy. That was humiliating enough, but her failure to pass those lessons on to a national audience was unforgivable. If she did understand the cruel calculus of Brexit trade-offs, she did not confront her party with the truth. Nor did she use the amplifying power of her pulpit to shape public understanding of the issues. She preferred vacuity and dishonesty - "Brexit means Brexit"; "No deal is better than a bad deal". She decommissioned the truth, afraid it might be used as a weapon against her.


Leaving the EU is not a vague, malleable objective. It comes down to precise legal choices. Mrs May made her choices and parliament rejected them. Her successor will face equivalent choices in a hostile climate where continental goodwill and domestic public patience are spent. It was once within her power to reframe the debate around goals that were more achievable, but she refused that challenge. So she passes on an insoluble problem to a successor who can only win the job by promising to do the impossible. It is a miserable and poisonous legacy.

Inside Theresa May's Great British Failure | Politico |

The outgoing Conservative leader will be remembered for 'playing a bad hand really badly.'

Breaking News: EU anti-fraud body considering investigation into Nigel Farage

by Oui on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 08:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone is so down on Theresa May at the moment I thought I would go a bit counter cultural and focus not on her (rather obvious) shortcomings but on the almost impossible position she allowed herself to be put in and the role she played in a drama also dictated by others.

It seems to me that putting all the blame on May is a way for others in the Tory party to absolve themselves.

Bad an all as May is, she is surrounded by a horde of complete idiots, imbeciles, nincompoops, and emotional retards.

I have also been surprised at the degree to which quite progressive female friends of mine have been prepared to excuse her performance on the grounds that she was surrounded by even worse...

Personally I try to avoid personality based political analysis unless absolutely unavoidable. However in this case many British delusions about the EU, Brexit and the UK's place in the world are so all consuming it is hard to place all the blame on one person.

Yes, she chose to go for the job, and was as deluded as others. But let's see how much things "improve" under another leader, and even under Corbyn I wouldn't hold out too much hope...

There is a need for a generational, class and cultural shift in UK politics, and merely moving the deckchairs on the Titanic isn't going to change much.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 06:41:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
May was terrible in ways that went far beyond Brexit.

I strongly suspect she won't go down in history as the PM that couldn't make Brexit happen, but as a fascist mass murderer - a sort of semi-half-hearted female Stalin of the far right.

The current total of avoidable deaths caused by changes to Universal Credit and the DWP's quota system for getting ill people off benefits is at least five, and possibly six figures.

These are people who were labelled fit for work while dying of cancer, or in a terminal coma, or clearly severely mentally and/or physically handicapped.

That's a lot of horror. And all of it is absolutely barbaric, unnecessary, and inexcusable. Aside from the morality, which should be self-evident, but is somehow invisible to Tories, the DWP actions were justified on the basis that money would be saved. In reality extra money has been spent - presumably as a corporate welfare handout to the enforcers.

When you combine the DWP and Universal Credit scandals with people in full time work having to use food banks, and the decimation of the NHS, the sudden appearance of a £271bn hole in the public pension account, which was used to strip older women of their retirement benefits, the end of a benefit for couples that will remove more than £7,000 from the budgets of many poorer people, the decimation of the police and fire services, and Grenfell. And Windrush. And the complete loss of international credibility for the UK. And the hostile environment, which is busy deporting EU nationals for completely arbitrary reasons. And the fact that May only had a government at all because she unlawfully bought the support of the DUP. And she was the only PM in centuries to be censured for Contempt of Parliament... it's an impressive record, in a shoddy and low-rent kind of a way.

If May has any kind of strategic sense left she will leave the UK as soon as she can. If she's still in the country ten years from now, I really wouldn't want to bet on her avoiding jail.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 01:39:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Tony Blair still in the UK and not in jail yet?
by Bernard on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 04:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tony Blair's relationship with Saudi Arabia has come under scrutiny following the revelation that the non-government organisation set up under his name has received millions of pounds from Riyadh.

Accounts published yesterday by the Tony Blair Institute confirmed earlier reports that Blair had received donations of up to $12 million from the Kingdom.

The Saudi donation, according to the Financial Times, comes from an organisation called Media Investment Limited (MIL), which is a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group, registered in Guernsey.

Publication of the accounts confirmed July reports that Tony Blair Institute had made an agreement with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, earlier this year to help with a programme of modernisation for the Kingdom.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 05:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should add I'm expecting a major realignment of politics in the UK within ten years. So the current status quo is going to be history by then.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 09:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The script seems plausible all but for some factors other than Johnson's acting abilities. The deal won't be changed by the EU, if at all only in the softer direction. The majority in parliament is still not there for anything. Johnson uniting the Tories? A general election is as unpredictable as anything, especially if preceded by something like (near) no-deal chaos.

Personally, I welcome the chance for the prime Tory buffon brexiter to take charge. In all likelihood it will poison him too. Let him meet his political death. Or if a deal does get through, his premiership will be ground down by even more difficult negotiations and a steady decline in economic circumstances.

This should have happened at the very beginning. So there could be no excuses like "not enough will", "hidden remainer" and so on. Let the leavers eat Brexit.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 08:27:36 AM EST
Did you welcome Trump's election using a similar rationale?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 09:05:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. It taught the Democrats a lesson and stopped them nominating neoliberals like Clinton, Obama, and Biden. Oh, wait a moment.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 09:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Like Hell.  The DNC will ram through another neolib in 2020 and will continue to do so until that entire Clintstone/DLC generation either dies naturally or is mercifully St. Valentine's Day'ed.
by rifek on Mon May 27th, 2019 at 02:06:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, tricky question. Obviously no. Trump doesnt have Brexit as an albatross around his neck. He has a more solid footing -a second term coming?- which is terrifying. The US with a rotten head can do much more damage than the smaller UK (sorry...).

On the other hand, worse means worse, not better. But if there is to be a chance to get rid of Brexitism then it needs to be played to the end. The risk is it's coming down to no-deal or no-Brexit.

The same constraints that befell May are here for Johnson. Can he really sell an unloved deal with his 'charming personality' by pulling enough people from the Tory soft or remain camp, from Labour even? While keeping the Faragists at bay? Can he go for revoke as Matthew Perry suggests? That would be the ultimate 'betrayal' leading to chaotic psychosis. Very unlikely but I'm happy to be surprised.

Then no-deal which has bigger chances than deal. Also unloved by parliament. It's all coming down to an election. Toss the dice some more. Does that make any sense?

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Sat May 25th, 2019 at 12:16:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump can't be removed without impeachment - quite likely during a second term - and will have significant freedom of action until that happens.

$tory_fool has very limited freedom of action without parliamentary support, and can be thrown out with a No Confidence vote at any time. Given that Tory grandees have signalled they're against No Deal, there is almost zero chance of it happening now.

So the wildcard is Corbyn, and after the EU election results he's going to be under huge pressure to come out as supporting a PV.

I won't say I'm relaxed about this situation, but it's not as bad as it could be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 27th, 2019 at 08:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris Johnson to Face Court Questions About Brexit Claims
Johnson has denied through his lawyers that he acted dishonestly.

Ball has raised more than 200,000 pounds by crowdfunding to pay for the private prosecution.

No date has yet been set for a hearing.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed May 29th, 2019 at 03:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably only of nuisance value given the obsequiousness of the Courts to the establishment. However it's not the sort of publicity you want when you are running for leader - even if the electorate is made up of Tories.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed May 29th, 2019 at 06:42:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AP already has the "conservatives" set up, hedging claims to constituencies of the "I don't knows". The grand disclaimer complements ahh uncertain significance of EP proxy votes, weighted by loyalty um factors and assigned by data analysts, to voters' intentions, regardless of party affiliations. ahem.

Contenders to be next UK leader divided over no-deal Brexit
"The race to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May is becoming a battle over whether Britain should leave the European Union without a divorce agreement -- or whether that [should leave] would cause economic and political mayhem."

Whereas, before the election BoJo wasn't much concerned with showing up Farage. Uncharacteristic modesty --"compassion"-- going forward might mollify the 1922s. I really dunno. But 1922s seems to me the constituency holding four-in-hand by the reins 'til 2022.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed May 29th, 2019 at 07:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
24 May for www money markets
Boris Johnson says next British PM must deliver 'proper' Brexit

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed May 29th, 2019 at 07:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Little matter that no other leader would have done much better.
Given May's own red lines. Can't be said often enough.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 26th, 2019 at 07:03:01 AM EST
Once upon a time it was the Democrats and Labour that did their infighting in public (the Democrats most memorably and damagingly at the 1968 Chicago Convention, a fiasco that contributed just as much as George Wallace's Second Secession to Nixon's election that year).  Tories and Republicans did their infighting behind closed doors, then came out and presented a united front to the public.  Those days are long gone for both the Rethuglicans and the Tories, and while no one has matched Der Drumpfenfuehrer's malignant shit-slinging, there can be no doubt Boor-ass will give it the old college try.  And anyone who buys said shit-slinging deserves the government they get.  The thing is, the rest of us don't.  Nevertheless, for the health and safety of everyone, I think it's necessary to give the New Tories however much rope they need to hang themselves.  It's the only chance we have left of disposing of the neolibs and their MSM lapdogs, not to mention exposing the 30% of the population so smitten by said shit-slinging that they really need to take up permanent residence in rubber rooms.
by rifek on Mon May 27th, 2019 at 02:37:47 AM EST

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