Love or Loathe: Admiration for the fortitude of May

Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo Source: Sky News

Peter Donnelly, Contributor.

The weekend witnessed Theresa May finally settling and agreeing her 585-page long Brexit Withdrawal ‘deal’ with the bureaucrats of the European Union in Brussels, bringing the proverbial curtain down on the two years of arduous political negotiations.

The past tumultuous two weeks have been a gruelling experience for Prime Minster May. From her presence at the centenary commemorations marking the 1918 Armistice came the realisation that she would be signing an armistice, herself, in one form or another, within weeks.

With seven of her Cabinet members resigning, including both Dominic Raab and Esther McVey, the day following the announcement of the draft deal, it would be fair to say Theresa May has felt a sense of cool isolation.

The Brexit terminology is not designed for beginners. However, the Prime Minister has been blamed for ‘selling out’ the Constitutional Sovereignty of the United Kingdom, with the EU effectively still retaining a veto over any potential independent free trade deals the UK may attempt to sign in the future.

Anyone who witnessed her performance at Prime Minister’s Questions, the very day of the publication of the terms of the draft withdrawal agreement, could see her tenacity and forbearance against all forms of cleverly camouflaged slurs and jibes not just about her draft deal but about her ‘dancing’ at her party conference in October, the accusations of betrayal by the DUP over the Irish border backstop and her ‘cosying up’ up to the Barniers, Tusks and Junckers of this World.

Certainly, she has not bowed the knee to her own kith and kin in the Conservative Party, no matter about the Jacob or Boris backstabbers. She has in the words of the O’Jays, “pulled these knives out my back.”

Her mammoth task of trying to sell this deal to both her Cabinet and Party uncovered a mass of disloyalty. When it now looks as though up to 80% of her own MPs will vote against her final deal, she still trundles along to the Number 10 press conferences, with her timeless mantra – ‘It’s my deal or no deal.’

Her most recent, fleeting visit to Northern Ireland demonstrated her anxiety that the insular world of Westminster can most definitely not be relied upon or trusted to back her agreed Brexit deal. The reception she attended at Queen’s University, on Tuesday, with students, business, civic and community leaders was clearly an attempt to gain access to the grassroots level of Northern Ireland opinion.

Theresa May, over the next two weeks, is optimistically looking outward that somewhere in the horizons; hope beckons.

Whether that hope comes in a renewed form of more trust and confidence in her proposed way forward or that she simply convinces hostile MPs on both sides of the Commons’ dispatch box to adopt their positions, is unclear.

Her touring of all regions of the UK within the next two weeks is evidence of that search for politically harmony. Theresa May’s ‘Judas’, Boris Johnson, will not keep his counsel. Finishing May’s UK-wide touring trip off before it started, Johnson, stormed Twitter, lambasting the May, “Any debate must involve someone who believes in Brexit. The British people being fully in control of their laws, rather than giving back control to the EU like the PM’s deal.”

In many ways, there have been various glimpses of optimism, with regard to the deal, with officials from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Banks and the Stock Markets announcing that it is the best option amongst a bad bunch of other suggested alternatives.

Evidently, the Prime Minister’s defiant speech at the CBI Business Conference, in London last week, struck a chord with the CBI’s Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, who reminded UK business leaders that now was “a time for compromise” instead of climbing on to “cliff edge” of a potential ‘no Brexit deal’ scenario.

Opposition Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn has his troops in line prepared for a frontal assault on both the Prime Minister and her withdrawal agreement. Now, it is Mr. Corbyn, who has received the baton from the hard-line Brexiteers within the Conservative Party, uttering his politically expedient jargon of the ‘border down the Irish sea’ and the principles of the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

Any suggestion of convergence with Theresa May and her small clique has been directly dismissed by Mr. Corbyn, who seems to relish the current predicament in which Theresa May finds herself.

Even US Premier, Donald Trump, is poking daggers at Theresa May from the lawns of Washington. Voicing his opinion that the Prime Minister’s Agreed Withdrawal deal is a “great DEAL for the EU.” And the EU alone.

As Theresa May arrives in Scotland, it will, again, be a challenge for her to sell her deal there. The Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has already put her foot down, by commenting that her party will not support a deal which would result in Scotland becoming poorer.

She may well have better luck in Wales.

Theresa May’s attitude is similar to that of Irish political leader, John Redmond, who found himself facing a situation reminiscent of Theresa May’s, in 1918. He reminded his followers, “I have acquired a very thick skin. Otherwise I would be dead long ago.” Love her or loathe her policies or approach, someone out there amidst the current turmoil, must have admiration for the fortitude of May.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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