No-one ever denied that Brexit would be difficult, but Theresa May has somehow managed to make it even harder for everyone through sheer incompetence. When David Cameron quit, he was thought to be the worst post-war Prime Minister for taking us out of the EU almost accidentally. He has since been far surpassed by his successor.
Part of the issue is May’s uncompromising stance on the Chequers deal, which everyone both inside and outside of her own party utterly despises. It’s rather impressive (read: politically mind-boggling that she’s sticking with it despite it being hugely unpopular); a situation reminiscent of the darkest days of the poll tax riots. She seems massively out of her depth and everyone can see it.
Somehow though, it’s actually quite easy to feel sorry for May rather than actively dislike her. When Thatcher was in power, she was hated. There’s still some of that animosity there with May, but as much as anything it’s pity that she’s so hopelessly stuck with Brexit and can’t deal with it.
She’s got herself into an almost impossible situation, having already played all of her cards. The EU know that if the UK has any sense it won’t leave without a deal, and it’s no skin off the EU’s nose if the UK does. It’s baffling that May doesn’t seem to recognise this even when it’s so blindingly obvious.
I can’t see a situation where she’s still the Prime Minister in a year’s time. It’s very easy to imagine that, when Brexit is done, the Conservatives will go back to their ruthless nature and get rid of May like they have done with all their ineffective leaders. As incompetent as she is, she’s also been unlucky. Her ascension was badly timed, and she was given the hardest task imaginable in negotiating Brexit. Regardless, the Tories will have no qualms about getting rid of a leader who isn’t of use to them.
No-one knows what the relationship with the EU will be like after the UK leaves. Theresa May and the EU seem so far apart in what they want, and time’s fast running out to negotiate something that works for everyone.
Image: Annika Haas