Why Theresa May needs to stay!
Theresa May’s deal is probably the best we could have expected from a Remain supporting Prime Minister – unfortunately, there’s nobody better placed and this may well be the best we’re going to get, for now.
As the 15th of January 2019 draws ever closer, and the (fasle) promise of a completely irrelevant TV debate between two remain voting political leaders that don’t believe in the cause they are debating lingers so very tantalisingly over the British public, it is easy to lose sight of the impending political catastrophe: the vote happening on the 15th.
The vote will be the promised “meaningful vote” (Courtesy of the insufferable Gina Miller) on Theresa May’s draft withdrawal bill. It will probably be the vote that brings it crashing to the floor- but don’t take my word for it; speculation aside, all bets are off- and plummets the British political narrative into one of panic, disarray and erratic demands, for things like a second referendum, for May to quit, for a general election and the rest.
It will be assuredly an interesting, historical vote for us to witness, and the ensuing political rhetoric will no doubt be equally elating.
One of the demands MP’s may bring to the table, however, is quite a predictable but subtly profound one: for Theresa May to hang up her hat and resign as prime minister.
My one question to this is why? Other than simply as a tool for the remain camp to gain traction and pressure a new leader to bring a serious “no Brexit” option to the discourse, why should she resign? Her party was elected to power twice in succession with the Brexit question firmly on their agenda and the promise to honour the result of the referendum their absolute stance.
The referendum on our membership of the European Union was conclusively voted on, after a campaign by both sides of toxicity and hyperbole. In all of this, it was driven home that leaving the European Union was the unsafe, uncertain no man’s land of economic woe, and yet it was voted on, three separate times (the 2015 general election, the 2016 referendum and the 2017 general election), and conclusively our membership was renounced.
May, for all her faults, contrived efforts at producing a deal, and even in all her devious efforts at derailing and agitating the outcome (naturally, being a remainer herself), has held strong through everything; say what you want about the woman, she has endured more than most would have, and more than many could have.
More than that, who is there really better to lead the country at this time? Sure, we all have our own opinions and favourites (shout out to Jacob Rees Mogg!), but who could seriously lead with more of a democratic mandate than May? She, at the very least, unites us all in anguish. She unites everyone in their hatred of her deal, her pathetic rhetoric, her simultaneously wet but also ever so dry character and her boring, robotic repetition of party-line soundbites.
Corbyn wouldn’t bring anything but more division. Nicola Sturgeon propping up Labour? Please, how self-righteous can a political leader be. She is not only arrogant, she is on a ticking timer and, like her party, will probably be devastatingly found out in the next general election. The Liberal Democrats, in any capacity? Let’s just leave that one there…
As for Tory challenge- there isn’t a single leader that wouldn’t bring about more uncertainty or open up dialogue of yet another early general election. The rhetoric would drown out the whole Brexit discourse and bury it in manufactured notions of “constitutional crisis”. Straw men would be fuelling that political bonfire and it would undoubtedly end in nothing more useful than returning back to square one. Square minus one, even.
The fact of the matter here is that we have what we have. We have a remain voting prime minister with a largely remain voting cabinet, in a parliament of largely remain supporting politicians, supposing to negotiate something they spent a lot of time and a substantial pile of money trying to avoid.
May’s deal is probably the best we could have hoped for a remainer politician to produce, weak as they are to the promises of the establishment and hostile to anything threatening its relevance. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still awful, still probably doomed to fail in the commons, and still hopefully the path to the Eldorado scenario that is a no deal, even in the wake of the rebel amendments to her bill and the forced release of the fabled “Brexit legal advice”- the date we leave is still enshrined in manifesto mandate, and no deal would surely be the default should May fail to pass anything else, which is looking increasingly likely.
The other side of that coin, of course, is that the fear of being the orchestraters of “no Brexit at all” and relegating themselves to a decade of insolence- afforded opposition, the Tory part rallies behind its leader and some support for the deal comes from somewhere other than the not so impressed DUP and May actually passes her withdrawal bill. Even if she doesn’t, the DUP reiterated their commitment to propping up the Tory party in the commons.
Really though, the electorate is tired. We need Brexit to happen. We need to leave the European Union in every capacity but geographical proximity; not just in name. The European Union needs to be shown that its power is not infinite, that its influence as a political organization is inflated and due a reality check, and we need to regain every aspect of our sovereignty. We don’t need challenge after challenge as to who we are going to thrust into the war zone, we don’t need remainers telling us there are injustices happening and tabling their solutions one after the other like children negotiating school dinners.
Disorderly home politics are something we can handle, and something we can fix in our own time. Historically we have always been a competent enough democracy to be ahead of the curve when it comes to it. Maybe another Glorious Revolution is on the horizon? Who knows… Right now, the pressing issue is leaving the European Union, and May is as good a martyr to do that as anyone.