THE Westminster government’s spin cycle is in overdrive attempting to heap acclaim on a Prime Minister who has successfully managed to negotiate a deal that makes her country worse off.
Britain loves a trier. And Theresa May is the ultimate grafter, the British underdog battling away to wrestle powers from the jaws of the mighty EU. Or so her supporters would like us to believe.
But how can a leader of a country knowingly inflict national self-harm and still be painted as a modern-day Boudica?
We are now at point critical in the Brexit negotiations and, after two years of talking and after the resignation of two Cabinet Secretaries responsible for negotiating that exit, we are looking at a deal that still ties us to the EU and with no legal route out unless the very body that we are attempting to leave agrees to let us go.
No wonder May’s most recently departed Brexit Secretary describes it as worse than staying inside Europe.
The publication last week of the 26-page “political declaration” May struck reveals that decisions about future trade, the Irish border backstop, fisheries and whether the UK will remain tied to EU rules, have all been put off until after the next general election. This is the vassalage that many feared.
And with the PM in crunch talks with the EU27 in Brussels this weekend, the only unity she has managed to forge at home is a coalition of opposition from across all parties, including her own, to what she is attempting to do.
There is little doubt that the deal, as it stands, will not win support in the House of Commons and so her government could fall. May has become the architect not just of her own destruction but of the total implosion of her party.
In backing this deal, the PM plunges her party into a Sophie’s Choice over national sovereignty and the preservation of the “cherished union”.
The so-called “backstop” makes it clear that Northern Ireland will obey EU single market rules unless another way can be found of keeping the border open. And that means the UK must either follow EU rules or split from Northern Ireland.
Not only will this be opposed by the DUP, it will add succour to the SNP.
And with the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs still working out what there is to support in a deal that sells fishermen down the river – again, they would surely resist anything that could bolster the case for either a second independence referendum or the break-up of the UK. They are now faced with exactly the deal that prompted both Ruth Davidson and David Mundell to threaten the PM with their resignations.
So, what now?
In the Scottish Parliament last week, Brexit Secretary Mike Russell, in response to a question about what would be the better choice for Scotland, May’s deal or no deal, said if the choice was between May’s deal and an alien invasion, hers would be better but that “both would be very bad for Scotland.”
The truth is, in this Brexit farrago of fact, fiction and outright lies, an alien invasion might hold little surprise. And be a blessed relief.