Theresa May's final days crashed us into a whole new world of Brexit madness

So successful has she been, that having been 20 points ahead in the polls in 2017, her party now looks likely to win a quarter of the votes of a party boasting they’ll make us poorer until 2050

Mark Steel
Friday 24 May 2019 11:03 BST
Who could replace Theresa May as Tory leader?

Nothing would be surprising now. Laura Kuenssberg could tell us: “The latest cabinet leak suggests Jeremy Hunt will only back the PM’s deal if he’s made King of Poland, but Michael Gove revealed he was wearing a suicide vest, taking the prime minister hostage and making a video in which he stands by a sword suggesting his plans for the Irish backstop. But then the room had to be evacuated, because Chris Grayling was making the tea, and he put weapons-grade plutonium in the pot instead of teabags.”

It would just be one more pointless day in the story of Brexit.

Then we’ll be told: “Although the rules state she can’t be formally challenged until December, at least 90 of her MPs are now trying to force her out by training as ninjas, and I hear they plan to smash through the Downing Street windows and run at her with swords as they scream ‘yaaaaaa’ as early as tomorrow morning if they get the nod from the 1922 Committee”.

Because Theresa May is desperate to stay, even though she has no authority at all, clinging to her deal like a disturbed child with a blanket. She’s now so powerless that not only has she no chance of getting it passed, she’s not even allowed to print it out. She’ll try to make this sound positive and say: “I shall not be publishing the latest draft of my bill, because I now plan to bring it out in November, as a hip-hop single featuring Stormzy, in time for the Christmas market”.

Every day we learn about the splendid way the Conservative Party conducts itself. Apparently the 1922 Committee has a sealed envelope, in which is written her instructions, and these will be revealed on Friday.

I suppose Sir Graham Brady will hold the parchment beneath a candle made from the earwax of an eagle, and read: “It has been decreed that you must proceed to the Temple of Everlasting Temporary Extensions, and defeat Ann Widdecombe in a fight to the death. If you succeed, then and only then may you present your meaningful vote one more time.”

But somehow she still believes she can get it through, even though fewer MPs say they’ll support her now than when she lost by hundreds. In one more desperate attempt to win popularity, she’ll announce she isn’t even going to vote for it herself, adding, “Why would I vote for that heap of s***”, but then insist she’s confident this time it will pass.

Maybe this has started a trend, and we’ll find out the poor bloke who sang Britain’s entry in Eurovision and came last, is still in Israel, insisting he’s going to sing it a 19th meaningful time and he’s sure the judges will see sense and make him winner because he’s added a vital amendment at the end of the third verse.

One of May’s finest attributes has been the heartening way that, on several occasions, she’s decided to go over the heads of the MPs who have rejected her, so she can appeal to the public and be rejected by them as well.

The most impressive attempt at this was when she cleverly tried to win people round by going on television and calling everyone an arsehole.

Maybe this is the next part of her strategy. She’ll accept she doesn’t have support in parliament for her deal, so she’ll go to bodies that really matter, turning up at a Tupperware party in Doncaster to see if they’ll agree to it. Or she’ll present it to a tribe that lives by the Amazon, and see if their chief will swap it for some beads.

This could be how she spends her time once she’s gone. She’ll knock on doors trying to sell a dishcloth and her Brexit deal, and pop up in railway carriages, saying “Hi, sorry to bother you on your journey home, but I’d just like to take a few moments of your time. I used to be prime minister and hit some hard times, and I wonder if you could help me out by just offering me a few pence for my deal, and I promise whatever you like about a backstop. Thank you.”

Then everyone will look down and try not to make eye contact.

But the magnificent part is Theresa May doesn’t even represent the most eccentric trend at the moment. Because the Brexit Party boasts candidates such as Lucy Harris, who was asked on Radio 5 if she accepted Brexit would damage the economy. “Oh yes”, she said, “But it’s a price I’m prepared to pay.” And in any case, she said, it would only make us worse off for a short while.

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“How long?” said the presenter. “Thirty years”, she said.

This is the honesty we’ve been waiting for in British politics. At last a politician is prepared to tell us they’ll ruin our lives for 30 years, but it will be worth it because at last we’ll be able to grow our spring onions whatever shape we like.

So successful has Theresa May been, that having been 20 points ahead in the polls in 2017, her party now looks likely to win one quarter of the votes of a party boasting they’ll make us poorer until 2050.

The prime minister should take the one way out that can restore her as a figure of prestige and historical value.

She must appear solemnly outside Downing Street on her podium, and say: “Go on then YOU lot try and sort this shit out. I’ve had Barnier in one ear going ‘not accept zis not accept zat’, Rees-sodding-Mogg dribbling in Latin, David f***ing Davis as a Brexit secretary, I’d have been better off with the monkey in Danny Baker’s photo, piss off the lot of you, I’m going for a ramble.”

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