Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The long, dark teatime of Theresa May's soul

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And Nurse came in with the tea-things
Breast high 'mid the stands and chairs-
But Nurse was alone with her own little soul,
And the things were alone with theirs.
(Betjeman, 'Death in Leamington')


Theresa May has been given till teatime today by the Chairman of the 1922 Committee (the trade union of backbench Tory MPs) to say when she intends to resign. 

What a very British sort of ultimatum. The long, dark teatime of the soul, to quote the title of a novel by Douglas Adams. 

Which reminds me of someone asking Henry James if he believed in the immortality of the soul.
Yes, for those who have them. Most people don't, you know. 
I wonder whether he would have credited Theresa May with a soul, devout liberal Anglican though she is, had he known her. 

I doubt it.

Unfortunately, she won't go till forced to do so and I think the 1922 and Sir Graham Brady are too weak to force her. But nothing can be done until she goes. Instead I think she will say she will stay on till the party conference in September in order to prevent Boris Johnson becoming leader. It is very clear that she remains a Remainer.


She can't make a deal with Labour or the EU, since they do not know if her successor will honour it, and she for certain cannot persuade the Tories, the House of Commons or the electorate to believe in any policy she comes up with.

The European Parliament’s Liberal leader and my least favourite politician anywhere outside Syria and Iraq, Guy Verhofstadt, is the subject of a documentary on the Brexit negotiations to be shown on BBC 4 tonight . The Sun which has seen a preview says he swears at the TV screen and calls Theresa May “pathetic” and “insane” for failing to secure DUP support for the proposed Brexit deal in December 2017.

Mr. Verhofstadt is filmed watching Theresa May’s “Dancing Queen” entrance to the Tory party conference speech last autumn. An MEP beside him notes:


“When Barnier enters, we should play ‘The Winner Takes It All.’” 

That, unfortunately, would be very apposite.
“That would be sexier” 
replies Mr. Verhofstadt.

European politicians, though no great shakes themselves in many cases, all seem to find the British Prime Minister embarrassingly ill qualified for her job. 


So do we all.

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