What is Theresa May’s real Brexit battle plan?
In a middle of a battle it is often impossible for any onlookers or most participants to understand the plans of the commanders on each side. That is even more the case in a political battle where all sides puff out stories like chaff out of a Second World War Lancaster Bomber to confuse the political radar of opponents and often also of supporters!
In the case of Brexit, this is a complete reversal of the British Establishment’s foreign policy in the last 40 years. This means that it is the most significant reversal of British foreign policy in almost the entire careers of all the parliamentary participants - so the chaff deluge is huge!
Brexit is also a direct challenge by the voting public to the British Political Establishment. Which is part of the reason why the Remain elite have got themselves into such a state of hysterical denial over the situation.
At the centre of the conundrum as to what is happening is of course Theresa May. All those who have met her and know her, whom I have met, have assured me that she is not especially intelligent and certainly not any sort of an intellectual. She is however apparently very devious and controlling. I cannot do anything better than quote the article that I quoted in our Spring Conference on the 17th September 2016 when Theresa May had become the new Prime Minister and new Leader of the Conservative Party.
Here is what I said at conference about this:-
“Let’s turn now to the Conservative and Unionist Party.
They have emerged from the EU Referendum on the surface undented but let’s just look beneath the surface.
The Conservatives have pretended for all my adult life (and I know that I am getting on!) to be a mainly Eurosceptic led Party. That was exposed in the referendum, by most of their Ministers and MPs, as a downright lie!
In contrast apparently about 60% of their ordinary members and supporters voted to “Leave”. Also the Conservative Party’s elite Establishment shenanigans have now given their Party a replacement Remainer Leader and the UK a Remainist Prime Minister.
Theresa May, according to Jonathan Foreman, is apparently a vengeful and obsessive micro manager.
Jonathan Foreman is an editor and writer based in London. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Civitas Institute for the Study of Civil Society and a frequent contributor to the Sunday Times and Saturday Telegraph.
In his article “Theresa May is a failed Home Secretary and a bad choice for PM (http://reaction.life/theresa-may-failed-home-secretary-bad-choice-pm/) published in “Reaction” on the 2nd July he wrote and I quote:-
“In the run-up to the 2015 election one of the handicaps David Cameron had to finesse was the fact that net migration to the UK was three times as high as he had promised it would be. Remarkably, none of the opprobrium this failure provoked brought forth the name of Theresa May, the cabinet minister actually entrusted with bringing migration down. Then, as now, it was as if the icy Home Secretary had a dark magic that warded off all critical scrutiny.
The fact that her lead role in this fiasco went unmentioned reflects Mrs May’s clever, all-consuming efforts to burnish her image with a view to become prime minister. After all, Mrs May’s tenure as Home Secretary has been notably unsuccessful. Its abundant failures include a succession of derelictions that have left Britain’s borders and coastline at least as insecure as they were in 2010, and which means that British governments still rely on guesswork to estimate how many people enter and leave the country.
People find this hard to credit because she exudes determination. Compared to many of her cabinet colleagues she has real gravitas. And few who follow British politics would deny that she is a deadly political infighter. Indeed Theresa May is to Westminster what Cersei Lannister is to Westeros in “Game of Thrones”: no one who challenges her survives unscarred; the welfare of her realm is a much lower priority than her craving for power.”
Foreman also wrote that:-
“The reputation for effectiveness that Mrs May enjoys mostly derives from a single, endlessly cited event: the occasion in 2014 when she delivered some harsh truths to a conference of the Police Federation. Unfortunately this was an isolated incident that, given the lack of any subsequent (or previous) effort at police reform, seems to have been intended mainly for public consumption.
In general Mrs May has avoided taking on the most serious institutional problems that afflict British policing. These include, among other things, a disturbing willingness by some forces to let public relations concerns determine their policing priorities, widespread overreliance on CCTV, a common propensity to massage crime numbers, the extreme risk aversion manifested during the London riots, and the preference for diverting police resources to patrol social media rather than the country’s streets.
There is also little evidence that Mrs May has paid much attention to the failure of several forces to protect vulnerable girls from the ethnically-motivated sexual predation seen in Rotherham and elsewhere. Nor, despite her proclaimed feminism, has Mrs May done much to ensure that the authorities protect girls from certain ethnic groups from forced marriage and genital mutilation. But again, Mrs May has managed to evade criticism for this.”
“When considering her suitability for party leadership, it’s also worth remembering Mrs May’s notorious “lack of collegiality”. David Laws’ memoirs paint a vivid picture of a secretive, rigid, controlling, even vengeful minister, so unpleasant to colleagues that a dread of meetings with her was something that cabinet members from both parties could bond over.
Unsurprisingly, Mrs May’s overwhelming concern with taking credit and deflecting blame made for a difficult working relationship with her department, just as her propensity for briefing the press against cabinet colleagues made her its most disliked member in two successive governments.
It is possible (Foreman says), that Mrs May’s intimidating ruthlessness could make her the right person to negotiate with EU leaders. However, there’s little in her record to suggest she possesses either strong negotiation skills or the ability to win allies among other leaders.”
So if that article is right, Ladies and Gentlemen, Theresa May may well be the Conservative’s version of Gordon Brown.
In any case she and the Conservatives also are locked in, by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, into having the next election in May 2020 by which time both they and she may be hugely unpopular! This will be especially true if she doesn’t fully implement Brexit.
This is also a risk for us all because she is a classic backroom EU operator. It was Theresa May after all who was the main driver behind the gay marriage campaign and she used the EU’s systems to force this through not only here but also in other countries too.
It does appear however that Theresa May may have more of a sense of humour than the seemingly totally humourless Gordon.
After all she and her team had made her leadership rival, Andrea Ledsom, turn on the waterworks and surrender her leadership challenge in tears and blubbing, having usefully knocked every other Leaver out of the running.
Ladies and Gentlemen Theresa May has appointed Andrea Ledsom as the Minister in charge of waterworks and floods at DEFRA!
I ask you has Mrs May got a sense of humour or what?
There is also the fact that the EU referendum showed that there are basically two main types of people who are Conservative MPs (except for a small and usually totally uninfluential number of mavericks).
These two types are either Liberal Globalists or Liberal Europhiles. Neither of these two types care a hoot for England! Both of them also actively hate the very idea of English nationalism. This means that the Conservatives too have ruled themselves out of being the party for England.”
So it was to me rather doubtful that when Theresa May said in part of her tedious mantra that “Brexit means Brexit” that she necessarily meant us to understand what she was thinking. I wondered whether that was simply a smokescreen to deflect criticism or analysis of her position.
Given that she had a parliamentary majority before she called her unwise General Election it seemed to me likely that in doing she wanted to reduce the influence of Brexiteers so that she could do whatever she wanted to do with Brexit, which I felt was very likely not to be what anybody who really supported Brexit would want.
I thought some corroboration to this suspicion was given by Jeremy Hosking as reported in this article in which he said that he thinks she is deliberately trying to sabotage Brexit. Such an approach certainly seems to be consistent to what we know of her character.
“Tory donor: Brexit ‘incompetence’ is a ploy
No 10’s rejection of funds for Eurosceptic candidates shows it wants to keep EU ties, claims financier
- The Sunday Telegraph
- 20 May 2018
- By Christopher Hope CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
GOVERNMENT “incompetence” over the Brexit talks is part of Theresa May’s strategy to keep Britain tied to the European Union, a top Conservative donor claims today.
Jeremy Hosking, a City financier, alleges that one of Mrs May’s aides frustrated his attempt at last year’s general election to donate hundreds of thousands of pounds to Tory candidates under a “Brexit Express” campaign. In a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Hosking said: “Those who think the Government is vacillating or making a mess of Brexit due to incompetence are wrong.
“It is part of a strategy. It’s going to plan and the inference from the experience of Brexit Express is that the Prime Minister herself is probably implicated.”
His accusation comes a year after Mrs May’s disastrous election manifesto launch, which commentators said contributed to the Conservatives’ failure to win the election outright.
Mr Hosking has donated £375,000 to the party over the past three years and he offered to give £5,000 to 140 Brexit-backing Tory candidates to fight pro-Remain candidates at the last election through “Brexit Express”.
However, he claims some of the donations were blocked by Fiona Hill, who at the time was chief of staff to Mrs May. Eventually Mr Hosking was able to donate just £376,000 of the planned £700,000 to the candidates.
He said: “Brexit Express’s offer was spurned by the Conservatives.
“It was made as difficult as possible to contact the constituencies that had been (easily) identified, let alone give Tory candidates the money. It was indicated to us by high-ranking party officials that the roadblock to our £700,000 Conservative Party donation lay within No 10 itself.
“We were allowed to assume the blocker was Fiona Hill, Theresa May’s chief of staff [who has now departed]. The layman’s presumption that the purpose of the last election was to strengthen the position of the Government externally in the exit negotiations is therefore false. The real purpose was for the Government to face down its core of Brexiteer MPs internally.”
A Conservative Party source could not comment on the detail of the claims. However, they pointed out that a “large amount” of the donations was handed over. The source added: “He [Mr Hosking] has been a good and very generous donor to the party and there were issues from our side. Everyone who wants to donate to the Conservatives is very welcome to.”
A spokesman for 10 Downing Street declined to comment. Ms Hill was sent details of the claims by The Sunday Telegraph but did not comment.
Unfortunately there is very little that any of us, who are not within the inner circle of the Conservative Parliamentary Party, can realistically do about this situation It may therefore be worth considering what her position will be if Brexit is actually betrayed as suspected. In this respect I cannot do better than quote the opinion of one of the key architects of the Brexit vote, Dominic Cummings:-
“On the referendum #25: a letter to Tory MPs & donors on the Brexit shambles
Dear Tory MPs and donors
I’ve avoided writing about the substance of Brexit and the negotiations since the anniversary last year but a few of you have been in touch recently asking ‘what do you think?’ so…
Vote Leave said during the referendum that:
1) promising to use the Article 50 process would be stupid and the UK should maintain the possibility of making real preparations to leave while NOT triggering Article 50 and
2) triggering Article 50 quickly without discussions with our EU friends and without a plan ‘would be like putting a gun in your mouth and pulling the trigger’.
Following this advice would have maintained the number of positive branching histories of the future, including a friendly departure under Article 50.
The Government immediately accepted bogus legal advice and triggered Article 50 quickly without discussions with our EU friends and without a plan. This immediately closed many positive branching histories and created major problems. The joy in Brussels was palpable. Hammond and DD responded to this joy with empty sabre rattling which Brussels is now enjoying shoving down their throats.
The government’s nominal policy, which it put in its manifesto and has repeated many times, is to leave the Single Market and Customs Union and the jurisdiction of the ECJ.
This requires preparing to be a ‘third country’ for the purposes of EU law. It requires building all the infrastructure and facilities that are normal around the world to manage trade.
This process should have started BEFORE triggering A50 but the government has irretrievably botched this.
Having botched it, it could have partially recovered its blunder by starting to do it afterwards.
No such action has been taken.
Downing Street, the Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the Cabinet have made no such preparations and there is no intention of starting.
The Cabinet has never asked for and never been given a briefing from responsible officials on these preparations. Some of them understand this and are happy (e.g Hammond). Most of them don’t understand this and/or prefer not to think about it. It will be trashed in the history books as the pre-1914 Cabinet has been for its failure to discuss what its military alliance with France actually meant until after it was too late.
The few ministers who try to make preparations are often told ‘it’s illegal’ and are blocked by their own Departments, the Cabinet Office and Treasury. The standard officials device of ‘legal advice’ is routinely deployed to whip cowed ministers and spads into line. But given officials now know the May/Hammond plan is surrender, it’s hardly surprising they are not preparing for a Potemkin policy.
The Treasury argues, with a logic that is both contemptible and reasonable in the comical circumstances, that given the actual outcome of the negotiations will be abject surrender, it is pointless wasting more money to prepare for a policy that has no future and therefore even the Potemkin preparations now underway should be abandoned (NB. the Chancellor has earmarked half of the money for a ‘no deal’ for the fiscal year after we leave the EU).
Instead, Whitehall’s real preparations are for the continuation of EU law and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. The expectation is that MPs will end up accepting the terrible agreement as voting it down would be to invite chaos.
In short, the state has made no preparations to leave and plans to make no preparations to leave even after leaving.
Further, the Government promised in the December agreement to do a number of things that are logically, legally and practically incompatible including leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, avoiding ‘friction’ and changing nothing around the Irish border (as defined by the EU), and having no border in the Irish Sea.
The Government has also aided and abetted bullshit invented by Irish nationalists and Remain campaigners that the Belfast Agreement prevents reasonable customs checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Read the agreement. It does no such thing. This has fatally undermined the UK’s negotiating position and has led to the false choice of not really leaving the EU (‘the Government’s backstop’) or undermining the UK’s constitutional integrity (‘the EU’s backstop’). Barwell promised ministers in December that the text did not mean what it plainly did mean. Now he argues ‘you agreed all this in December’. Whenever you think ‘it can’t be this bad’, the internal processes are always much worse than you think.
Parliament and its Select Committees have contributed to delusions. They have made almost no serious investigation of what preparations to be a third country under EU law should be and what steps are being taken to achieve it.
A small faction of pro-Brexit MPs (which also nearly destroyed Vote Leave so they could babble about ‘Global Britain’ in TV debates) could have done one useful thing — forced the government to prepare for their official policy. Instead this faction has instead spent its time trying to persuade people that all talk of ‘preparations’ is a conspiracy of Brussels and Heywood. They were an asset to Remain in the referendum and they’ve helped sink a viable policy since. A party that treats this faction (or Dominic Grieve) as a serious authority on the law deserves everything it gets. (I don’t mean ‘the ERG’ — I mean a subset of the ERG.)
All this contributes to current delusional arguments over supposed ‘models’ (hybrid/max fac etc) that even on their own terms cannot solve the problem of multiple incompatible promises. ‘Compromise proposals’ such as that from Boles which assume the existence of ‘third country’ planning are just more delusions. It doesn’t matter which version of delusion your gangs finally agree on if none of them has a basis in reality and so long as May/Hammond continue they will have no basis in reality.
You can dance around the fundamental issues all you want but in the end ‘reality cannot be fooled’.
The Government effectively has no credible policy and the whole world knows it. By not taking the basic steps any sane Government should have taken from 24 June 2016, including providing itself with world class legal advice, it’s ‘strategy’ has imploded. It now thinks its survival requires surrender, it thinks that admitting this risks its survival, it thinks that the MPs can be bullshitted by clever drafting from officials, and that once Leave MPs and donors — you guys — are ordering your champagne in the autumn for your parties on 30 March 2019 you will balk at bringing down the Government when you finally have to face that you’ve been conned. Eurosceptics are full of shit and threats they don’t deliver, they say in No10, and on this at least they have a point.
This set of problems cannot be solved by swapping ‘useless X’ for ‘competent Y’ or ‘better spin’.
This set of problems cannot be solved by listening to charlatans such as the overwhelming majority of economists and ‘trade experts’ who brand themselves pro-Brexit, live in parallel universes, and spin fantasies to you.
This set of problems derives partly from the fact that the wiring of power in Downing Street is systemically dysfunctional and, worse, those with real institutional power (Cabinet Office/HMT officials etc) have as their top priority the maintenance of this broken system and keeping Britain as closely tied to the EU as possible. There is effectively zero prospect of May’s team, totally underwater, solving these problems not least because they cannot see them — indeed, their only strategy is to ‘trust officials to be honest’, which is like trusting Bernie Madoff with your finances. Brexit cannot be done with the traditional Westminster/Whitehall system as Vote Leave warned repeatedly before 23 June 2016.
Further, lots of what Corbyn says is more popular than what Tory think tanks say and you believe (e.g nationalising the trains and water companies that have been run by corporate looters who Hammond says ‘we must defend’). You are only at 40% in the polls because a set of UKIP voters has decided to back you until they see how Brexit turns out. You only survived the most useless campaign in modern history because Vote Leave killed UKIP. You’re now acting like you want someone to create a serious version of it.
Ask yourselves: what happens when the country sees you’ve simultaneously a) ‘handed over tens of billions for fuck all’ as they’ll say in focus groups (which the UK had no liability to pay), b) failed to do anything about unskilled immigration, c) persecuted the high skilled immigrants, such as scientists, who the public wants you to be MORE welcoming to, and d) failed to deliver on the nation’s Number One priority — funding for the NHS which is about to have a very high profile anniversary? And what happens if May staggers to 30 March 2019 and, as Barwell is floating with some of you, they then dig in to fight the 2022 campaign?
If you think that babble about ‘the complexity of the Irish border / the Union / peace’ will get you all off the hook, you must be listening to the same people who ran the 2017 campaign. It won’t. The public, when they tune back in at some point, will consider any argument based on Ireland as such obvious bullshit you must be lying. Given they already think you lie about everything, it won’t be a stretch.
Yes there are things you can do to mitigate the train wreck. For example, it requires using the period summer 2019 to autumn 2021 to change the political landscape, which is incompatible with the continuation of the May/Hammond brand of stagnation punctuated by rubbish crisis management. If you go into the 2022 campaign after five years of this and the contest is Tory promises versus Corbyn promises, you will be maximising the odds of Corbyn as PM. Since 1945, only once has a party trying to win a third term increased its number of seats. Not Thatcher. Not Blair. 1959 — after swapping Eden for Macmillan and with over ~6% growth the year before the vote. You will be starting without a majority (unlike others fighting for a third term). You won’t have half that growth — you will need something else. Shuffling some people is necessary but extremely far from sufficient.
Of course it could have worked out differently but that is now an argument over branching histories for the history books. Yes it’s true that May, Hammond, Heywood and Robbins are Remain and have screwed it up but you’re deluded if you think you’ll be able to blame the debacle just on them. Whitehall is better at the blame game than you are, officials are completely dominant in this government, ministers have chosen to put Heywood/Robbins in charge, and YOU will get most of the blame from the public.
The sooner you internalise these facts and face reality, the better for the country and you.
Every day that you refuse to face reality increases the probability not only of a terrible deal but also of Seumas Milne shortly casting his curious and sceptical eyes over your assets and tax affairs.
It also increases the probability that others will conclude your party is incapable of coping with this situation and, unless it changes fast, drastic action will be needed including the creation of new forces to reflect public contempt for both the main parties and desire for a political force that reflects public priorities.
If revolution there is to be, better to undertake it than undergo it…
Former campaign director of Vote Leave"
(Here is a link to the original>>>https://dominiccummings.com/2018/05/23/on-the-referendum-25-a-letter-to-tory-mps-donors-on-the-brexit-shambles/amp/?__twitter_impression=true)
Cummings’ letter is particularly interesting considering that the leading commentator on voting patterns, Professor Sir John Curtice, has recently pointed out that now it is 70% of the Conservative Party’s electoral support that are Leave voters.
If the Conservative Party betrays the Leave vote they will also reveal, what many patriots have long known, that the Conservative Party is not a genuinely patriotic party.
The Conservative Party elite is part of the globalist establishment and thus fundamentally hostile to nationalism or patriotism. It will therefore be good for the political prospects of genuine patriots and nationalists if the Conservative Party wrecks itself on Brexit!