Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Mrs May’s Machiavellian Moves (8) – Titanic

6 December 2017


I know the title of this blog may give Mrs May too much credit. Nevertheless, she steers the UK from crisis to crisis and makes her job look more and more unappealing to her competitors. Her endgame seems to be a choice between either total disruption, chaos and destruction or succumbing to a Bremain. Hence, Mrs May’s Machiavellian Moves.

Her latest crisis is another stroke of genius. Mrs May’s (10-seat) coalition partner, the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, disagrees with Mrs May’s Brexit border agreement with (the Republic of) Ireland. This agreement was one of the preconditions to accelerate future (post-Brexit) trade talks with the EU.

The psychological cost of this newest crisis is high. Some headlines may explain this. Spectator: “Is the British government about to be held hostage by head-banging biblical fundamentalists?” Guardian: “Hard Brexiters have just discovered Britain is weaker than Ireland”.

Independent: “DUP won’t accept Theresa May’s Irish border deal if it “separates” Northern Ireland from rest of UK”. Additional byline: “Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom”. It’s hard to miss the sarcasm.

Mrs May is doing an excellent job in belittling the UK in the eyes of the public and the voters. This is necessary in order to accept the inevitable choice between total disruption, chaos and destruction or succumbing to a Bremain

A beautiful side effect is that she makes her Prime Minister job look unappealing, perhaps even appalling. This will prevent Tory and Labour competitors from challenging her leadership. Who wants to be the Captain of a sinking Titanic? Mrs May might be a bad Captain in their eyes but who would do better in the circumstances??

Apart from Mrs May’s (in)famous words “Brexit means Brexit“, it’s still not clear for most Brits what Brexit implies. Until September 2017, the UK PM and her Home Secretary still assumed a UK role in EU defence and Europol and “other EU security benefits such as the European Arrest Warrant and shared criminal databases” (Independent).

Ironically, the EU does the explaining. Shortly after agreeing a financial settlement with the UK, Michel Barnier (EU’s lead negotiator) bluntly told what Brexit means: “The UK defence minister will no longer take part in meetings of EU Defence Ministers [] The UK will no longer be a member of the European Defence Agency or Europol. [] The UK will no longer be involved in decision-making, nor in planning our defence and security instruments.” (Independent)

The UK’s humiliation is both self-inflicted and externally driven. The end result is an island adrift, torn apart between (i) the EU and Trump’s USA, (ii) its deeply divided population, and (iii) a possibly corrupted Brexit vote (eg, GuardianIndependentPatribotics). 

Torn Between Two Lovers (1976) by Mary MacGregor – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool

Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules


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