Well I guess there’s some life in the old gal yet. After more than a year of obfuscation, humiliation and repeated capitulation, Theresa May at last seems to be waking up to the cold, stark realisation that the European Union is a thoroughly hostile, untrustworthy and deeply anti-democratic institution. After her completely unnecessary and gleefully stage-managed humiliation in Salzburg, our Prime Minister seems to have finally understood that the people she’s dealing with will do anything and everything they can to undermine her at every turn, and what’s more they’ll enjoy doing it.
With her name fast becoming a byword for political miscalculation, Theresa May’s decision to come out swinging following the EU’s pre-planned political ambush was exactly the right move at the right time. We’ve all been forced to endure the endless scorn and derision of Brussels’ bloated little big men since the day of the referendum, and we’ve all had a bellyful of it now.
After the astonishing scenes at Salzburg, anyone who cannot now see exactly who and what we are dealing with is either woefully misinformed or dangerously dishonest. Either way, we can now safely discount the mournful wailing of those continuity Remainers who still rush to bend the knee to this smug, ossified and overbearing boys club. Their breath-taking and barefaced mendacity shows just how well they’d get along with those Brussels bureaucrats who think that sniggering Instagram posts are an acceptable form of international diplomacy.
So it was with a renewed sense of relief and optimism that millions of hopeful voters watched our most senior elected official finally standing up for herself, and by extension, the scores of us who would’ve happily told the likes of Tusk and Barnier exactly what to do with their damned cherries several months ago.
It’s taken a right royal spanking in front of the whole world to shake her out of her complacent stupor, but it seems that our Prime Minister is beginning to understand that the EU27 are no longer our friends. Theresa May’s newfound belligerence is a breath of much-needed fresh air, and a welcome reality check for those Europeans who believe that if they just fold their arms and say “non” often enough we’ll suddenly change our minds and realise the error of our ways. We knew this was coming on the day we cast our votes, and every petty, petulant insult and snide jibe merely confirms our worst suspicions about the motives and demeanour of those who, even now, refuse to relinquish control of our future.
But let’s not be too hasty in our optimism. After all, we’ve been here before. It’s no accident that those heady days of double-digit poll leads and solid party support coincided exactly with the Prime Minister’s firm and mature attitude towards those Brussels bullyboys in expensive suits. I believe that Theresa May can find that level of support and respect again, but only if she listens to the wisdom of her own experience, rather than to the poisonous, weasel words of an elitist establishment that’s always been embarrassed to be British for some reason.
Whilst it’s true that we’ve seen this more determined and less wobbly PM before, there’s an important difference this time around. Post Chequers, she knows full well that she’s spent every penny of political capital she once held while trying to conduct her own legislative ambush against both her own Cabinet and the country at large. Having first cleared her hugely unpopular plans with her “friends” in Europe, she now realises that her only achievement is to severely weaken herself at home while getting nothing in return from the EU. In short, they knowingly lied to her when they quietly tipped her the wink and said they would support the Chequers plan.
It must be comforting for Theresa May to know that with friends like those, she can still rely on her enemies among the Brexiteer faithful to help her do the right thing.
These are strange times indeed.
Image courtesy of Krzysztof Szkurlatowski at FreeImages.com