Cabinet Playing Whiff-Whaff with Theresa May

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians passed on through generations, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

Ministers are under pressure to spell out the type of relationship we should have with the European Union. The crunch summit at Chequers is for the Tories to settle their differences although they are strong views on both sides, this Tory summit is supposed to provide an agreed way forward. Michael Gove has alleged ripped up a document that explained the customs partnership proposed by Number 10. The Defence Secretary has told his department that if he doesn’t get the £20 billion he is asking for he will remove the Prime Minister (PM) as he made her, he can break her. The MoD budget for 2016/17 was £35.3bn, and because of the weak position of the PM we now have the US Defence Secretary, James Mattis, warning us that France would replace the UK as America’s closest ally in Europe if we don’t increase our defence spending. Moreover, then there is Boris with his bog roll comment and even worse his inflammatory private and a rather coarse dismissal of business concerns about Brexit.

The PM is getting bullied. How can we have a deal when groups within Cabinet are pulling in a different direction and believe they will achieve their objectives without any fear of consequence. Power is perceived and not something that’s tangible, a loss of that perception leaves the PM in a very vulnerable position and makes it very difficult for her to pursue an agenda and therefore lead. Talk about being pushed from pillar to post.

Take for example the border and trade situations. Number 10 produced two proposals the maximum facilitation option (relies on complex and uncertain technological solution that is very expensive to implement and provides limited benefit) and the customs partnership (where UK would collect EU import tariffs. This has been dismissed as unworkable by Brussels). Now a third model is being proposed that retain key features of maximum facilitation, that will be introduced further down the line. Ministers in the cabinet have dismissed these alternatives.

News filtering out suggests that ministers are being asked to choose between a Norway–style partnership (which many don’t want) or a much loser Canada-style deal. David Davies and Boris don’t want Norway style deal as it leaves UK subject to EU rules (and that is why at the moment Labour are also against it as it will hinder their nationalisation ambitions). Even backbench’s like Jacob Rees-Mogg are pushing the PM around and warning her not to choose a softer option.

Will we get a Whitepaper that everyone will agree to, will the ministers who disagree with the proposals in the White paper follow the government’s line? We don’t have a united government; we don’t have a strong leader, we don’t have a plan; this is a recipe for disaster, and this is why we need a people’s vote on the slapdash deal this government is putting together.

In deference to the wisdom of the Dakota Indians, in the case of the current PM, it’s the rider who is dead rather than the horse.

 

 

 

* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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7 Comments

  • Jonathan Linin 4th Jul '18 - 11:32am

    The trouble is that those who don’t want or care about a deal can veto it. If May had any guts she would ditch Rees-Mogg, Fox, Davis etc and call their bluff to see if they really want another election (leadership or General).
    I just wish that those extreme Brexiteers would look at what is going on elsewhere in the world. Trade Wars, Trump’s proposed “Fair and reciprocal trade act” (magnificently shortened to the FART act), Trump’s refurbishing of NATO and the EU, warnings from Airbus, BMW etc, the adverse affect on British scientific investment and so on (I’m sure you can all come up with a dozen more).
    Still they can just move their companies to Ireland or Malta, and their investments to Panama, but what about the rest of us ?

  • Christopher Haigh 4th Jul '18 - 2:31pm

    I am beginning to feel increasing empathy for Mrs May and think now is the time for the Liberal Democrats to do all they can to support her against the moronic right wing brexiteers in the Tory party. It’s a shame we don’t have more MPs to effect a meaningful coalition with her and have the likes of Vince Cable and Tom Brake in cabinet positions.

  • I just wish that those extreme Brexiteers would look at what is going on elsewhere in the world.

    I think you will find they have, just that they are viewing things through rose tinted glasses and are in reality denial mode – the UK is somehow different in their eyes..
    Remember some of them still think the UK has a Commonwealth that will fall over itself to reignite a relationship the UK went cold on several decades back…

  • Brian Evans 5th Jul '18 - 7:57am

    “they can just move their companies to Ireland or Malta, and their investments to Panama, but what about the rest of us ?” Why should the rest of us matter? … the only people they care about are themselves. Their greed, wealth and the desire to satisfy one by maximising the other is what drives them. They fail to recognise that, while they hold positions of power, power carries with it responsibility. Responsible leadership is not self-seeking, but caring for those who are led. In my opinion, it is outwith the make-up of these people.

  • Peter Hirst 6th Jul '18 - 11:24am

    One thing’s clear and that is in a very murky area, we should aim for clarity and that means removing all ideological views and working out what is in the long term interests of the country. Our descendent will not be satisfied for anything less. Do we really want to become a third or fourth world country?

  • Peter Martin 6th Jul '18 - 12:11pm

    “Do we really want to become a third or fourth world country” ?

    The tone of most of these comments is along the lines that trade will nosedive after Brexit. What’s the EU going to do? Blockade our ports? Apply sanctions?

    We did try that the latter South Africa for many years. BUT, trade continued. Ships docked. Oil flowed. International flights flew. The SA economy actually did quite well. It wasn’t sanctions that brought down the SA apartheid government. A blockade might have done the trick but that’s an act of war according to the Geneva convention.

    So let’s get Brexit into some perspective. We aren’t going to be blockaded or even sanctioned or by anyone after March next year.

  • Peter Martin 8th Jul '18 - 9:08am

    “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”

    Maybe my brain is wired differently than most, but I immediately associated the ‘dead horse’ with the EU and ‘dismounting’ with Leaving 🙂

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