What is May’s Game?

BY JOHN ISMAEL

What the hell is Theresa May playing at?

Yesterday’s speech in Downing Street was good. Very good. It was clear and strong. It showed the EU up as the gangsters they are. May was Lancaster-House-good. She made clear that leaving the EU was all she was focused on and that she was not for turning – music to Brexiteers’ ears.

So, why hang on to the corpse of the Chequers deal all these weeks while her ministers resigned and she took so much abuse for it from the Remain section of the Conservative Party, from the Brexiteers and from the EU? Surely Theresa gets out of her bunker occasionally? Do her advisers avoid public transport? Close their ears to public opinion altogether? Never venture out into the countryside or to local Conservative associations to listen to how much the Chequers Plan was detested by all?

I think I have Theresa May worked out. I think she’s like my old classmate Edward who would say one thing to the school bullies and then another to the rest of us. His chameleon-like survival strategy worked up until he was cornered by the bullies one morning in the playground and forced to thieve crisps from the satchels of the other boys in the year. He was caught thieving. After that he was widely unpopular and left the school soon after.

With the party conference looming, Theresa May sees her head on the block. A speech like yesterday’s might just give her the benefit of the doubt from the baying hordes who gather in Birmingham?

Am I being too cynical? The poor lady has the worst job in politics at the current time, after all? Or are her tactics designed to make us feel sorry for her? Is she pre-planned or chaotic? Who’s to know?

Saying one thing to some, and then one thing to another is a desperate survival strategy. I cannot help but fear that Theresa’s end is looming and will be just like Edward’s.

 

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