GeneralBrexit: May Soldiers On Whilst The Battle Rages

Brexit: May Soldiers On Whilst The Battle Rages


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Lucy Kenningham

The last few months of UK politics have been objectively and absolutely s shit-storm. 

NOW IT’S WAR! screams the web front-page of the Daily Mail this morning – although they’re a bit late to catch on, aren’t they? 

So what’s really changed in the last few days? Despite all the noise, precious little, perhaps. May won’t be leaving (yet), today has seen consecutive EU leaders state that the deal May made will not be re-opened or changed, Labour continue to flail along producing absolutely nothing of significance – and the Lib Dems cannot be heard unless you happen to be following them on Twitter. 

May won her vote of no confidence last night 200 votes to 117. Over a third of her party voted for her to leave. Why would she even want to stay?

To get her grubby hands on ‘my-y-y-y-y Brexit’, as this grim Gollumy-May suggests? 

Originally a vicar’s daughter, with a renowned reputation for stubbornness, perhaps May really does feel a sense of duty compelling her to get her deal through.

If Brexiters who no-confidenced her were to claim that 33% ‘no’ vote should bring their opinion into consideration, provoke an intense disparity in their willingness to discard the 48% of Remain votes from June 2016 ! Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested May had lost her ‘moral and political authority’ after gaining just 60% of the vote

He seems to be on a personal mission to prove the Austrian chancellor, Kurz, accurate in stating ‘it is hard to know what will satisfy Brexiters because their arguments aren’t rational’. 

A War Betwixt Whom, Anyway? 

‘War is a state of armed conflict between states, governments, societies and informal paramilitary groups, such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, aggression, destruction, and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces’ says Wikipedia. 

This Brexit mess i.e. May’s deal, no deal, a people’s vote – involves everyone and is clear-cut for no-one, except possibly the Lib Dems (they’re anti-Brexit, pro second referendum) but (tear-jerkingly) no-one really cares about them. 

There is no obvious policy that parliament would support. The Labour party frankly lack a clear position. Remoaners don’t all back a people’s vote. And what do the ‘general public’ want? What would a second referendum ballot paper ask the public? Would the people turn out to vote? 

Would people really just like to stumble backwards out of this mess?

A Dancing Queen?

Yougov told us May would have been backed by the public 40% to 34%. There is, according to the well-informed and British public, no better alternative leader. This isn’t that surprising considering the crew May resides amongst – Rees-Mogg, BoJo, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove… 

Even the unreliable British public can recognise May’s advantages in amongst a crowd such as that.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Todayprogramme that, ‘nobody was tougher than Mrs Thatcher and the next day she resigned. So, it’s not impossible’. As it was radio, the listener wasn’t able to see him rubbing his hands together with glee whilst anticipating his party’s potential to dismantle the leadership of their second female leader.

There is something to lament in the treatment of Theresa May throughout this Brexit shambles. I think the public generally feel a certain amount of empathy for her. It’s been uncomfortable to watch her struggle through the toxic oils of legislation, ‘ready to compromise’, self-promoting as a ‘bloody difficult woman’ in the lengthy and painful compromises that yielded in a deal she couldn’t bear to even pose to parliament in the end. 

Most of this sympathy lies in the fact that May appears very alone, and surrounded by a pack of wolves – sorry, men – trying to undo her. 

How long she survives is the question many are asking – but for now she rages on whilst Britain slowly burns in the backdrop. 

An eerie calm hangs over today’s unfruitful conversations with the EU after yesterday’s high-drama. She’s trying though, that much is certain

A model of the new Emmeline Pankhurt Statue in Manchester

Incidentally, the Emmeline Pankhurst statue is finally being unveiled tomorrow in Manchester – a chance to increase public recognition of women’s pursuit of suffrage. If you’re in the area, you can join the march at 10:30am outside the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Lucy Kenningham is a recent graduate of the University of Manchester with a BA degree in English Literature. Originally from South London, she now lives and works in (South) Manchester. Her interests include philosophy, gender and international affairs. She co-founded and -edited the young person’s political and cultural magazine, Scuffle, from 2014-16.

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