Theresa May – the PriMINO

March 26, 2019

by Martin Odoni

Yesterday‘s events in the House of Commons were an unspoken acknowledgement of what has been fairly blatant for several years; Brexit just is not going to work out. Oh, I am fairly sure the UK will still be leaving the European Union by one arrangement or another, but it will go poorly, will cause more harm than good, and will not be arrived at by any course the Prime Minister has chosen.

More meaningfully, yesterday was also an unspoken acknowledgement of another reality that will upset few, but worry many by the implications of it; Theresa May is now a PriMINOPrime Minister In Name Only.

Theresa May - PriMINO

Now she has lost all control over Brexit, the last vestiges of Prime Ministerial power have deserted Theresa May.

May’s alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party has essentially been reduced to a bad joke, as the DUP ruled out once and for all supporting her Brexit deal. She lost three more Ministers from her rotting Cabinet – albeit junior Ministers – as they turned rebel to vote against the Government. She faces potentially as many as twenty more Cabinet resignations, and is under pressure from the 1922 Committee to schedule her departure from Downing Street for the near future. But most of all, the House of Commons voted to seize control of the Brexit process from her, a move carried by a decisive rebellion by thirty Tory MPs; the motion was carried by a margin of twenty-seven votes.

Ever since her calamitous performance in the unnecessary General Election she called in 2017, May has been badly hamstrung by the Hung Parliament she blundered into being. There are all sorts of policy areas over which she has had minimal control ever since, and she has experienced some astonishingly bad defeats for a sitting Government. In short, she has barely been a Prime Minister for the last twenty-two months. The one area where she did have a position of dominance, no matter how clumsily and cluelessly she handled that power, was withdrawal from the EU. Given the enormity of that issue, it was sufficient to maintain a convincing illusion that she really is the leader of the nation. Now, at least for a few days, she lacks even that.

Theresa May is therefore only a Prime Minister in name; a sort of ‘Shadow Constitutional Monarch’. She is something that malformed rules make it almost impossible for the ordinary people to get rid of, but that is also so neutered by those same rules that her mandatory presence loses much of its sting. I suggested in December that May had ridden her luck for too long, and it was sure to run out soon. Foolishly running down the Brexit clock as a ‘game-of-chicken’ with Parliament is what has drained that luck away.

Not for the first time, I can almost find it in my heart to feel a little sorry for her, given the hapless, slightly-shrivelled presence to which she has been reduced. But she has to go. For all our sakes, she has to go, and her unstable, log-jammed blancmange of a Government must be dissolved and replaced with one that has function. In times as critical as these, the country cannot afford not to have a Government. It has not really had one for several years. Of course, in many circumstances, that is not necessarily a problem. But with the country on the threshold of leaving the EU, with all the troubles even a ‘Soft Brexit’ (if we are lucky) would cause, these are no such circumstances.

Still, with the Tories clearly now in total despair at May’s loss of control, and at her idiotic, patronising, blame-shifting speech last week, which turned many of them against her, whispers are getting louder about a General Election being imminent.

Gardiner says Election in about five weeks

The Government has pretty much tied itself in knots. An Election is the only real answer.

Everything that has happened, including the near-enough collapse of the Government, was predictable nearly two years ago. Arriving at another Election, as the only way out of the quagmire, has been predictable for at least as long.

3 Responses to “Theresa May – the PriMINO”

  1. hilary772013 Says:

    Reblogged this on hilary77blog and commented:
    I pray that Martin is correct and a General Election is looming, I also pray that my fellow citizens have had enough of our shambolic Government & vote for a Labour Government with enough majority to rule, that would be all my Christmas’s rolled into one.

  2. James Ritchie Says:

    Well said Martin

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