h1

Welcome to the new age of despair in British Brexit politics

December 7th, 2017

This’ll chime with a lot of people – right, left, leaver or remainer

For the past two and a half weeks I have been semi detached from British politics being on holiday on the West Coast of the United States. I didn’t take my laptop and my main means of finding out what was happening was with my phone.

So it has been something of a shock to return to find the spirit of despair and almost desperation, epitomised in today’s Daily Record front page, at the way politics is developing.

Yesterday’s PMQs was a case in point. The revelations earlier in the morning by David Davis about the non existence of his impact papers should have provided a superb opening for Corbyn. In fact the LAB leader completely failed to exploit the situation and was barely forensic in his questioning of Mrs May. As a result the PM escaped proper scrutiny.

Davis is even a less a figure than he was and each néw development raises questions about his competence and TMay’s judgement in appointing him in the first place.

At the top of the tree is Mrs May herself and even former defenders are now deserting her.

A particularly damming analysis is from Iain Martin in the Times

“..The situation in Downing Street is even worse than commonly reported. No 10 is about as weak as it has been in living memory. The place resembles a morgue, according to a sample of visitors, or a Second World War brigade headquarters in a French chateau during the fall of France. Gavin Barwell as chief of staff is struggling to hold it all together. Nick Timothy, the former chief of staff, is at the end of a telephone providing counsel. Damian Green, the de facto deputy prime minister, is lost.

Those who say it is not all that bad are simply being lied to about the limited extent of May’s engagement and animation. There is no leader, in the sense that the British system of government requires. This absence of grip should frighten people, because government is drifting.

It means that there needs to be an urgent change. This is a point at which (Andrea Leadsom apart) anyone injecting a bit of energy and cracking the whip in No 10 and Whitehall would be better than May…

I just wonder whether we are now seeing the end game for Mrs May. Certainly the betting markets see that. 2018 is now the favourite as the year of her departure.

Perhaps the parties should be getting ready for the Maidenhead by-election. If she leaves Number 10 she surely won’t want to remain as an MP.

Mike Smithson