"One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing," Oscar Wilde said on the Dickens story. The disintegration of this incompetent administration makes me laugh – clearly my heart isn't hard enough.
And this even as I agree with Mrs. May's departing cabinet heavyweights: Boris Johnson the foreign secretary, David Davis the Brexit secretary, Steve Baker the Brexit minister – whilst despising them on every other matter. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
It is true that Mrs. May has supported the Brexit decision by 17.4 million people, the largest vote for anything or anyone in British history, as the rope supports the hanging man. And she hopes to see it dangle to death.
It is true that her elaborately constructed 'Chequers Agreement' (Chequers is the Country House of British prime ministers) would have left Britain a Vassal State of the European Union, a rule taker forever, from a sclerotic neo-liberal protectionist bankers ramp which has impoverished half of Europe and enraged maybe most of the other half.
It would have left Britain effectively in the Customs Union effectively tied to the single market and subject to endless harassment by the European courts on trade matters. It would have neutered the possibility of a new British internationalism which an incoming Jeremy Corbyn Labour government would want to advance. And perhaps above all, the British would continue to be dominated by a financial and economic orthodoxy presided over by people we didn't elect and cannot remove.
Events are moving fast and this article may have to be updated. Three cabinet members (and counting) have resigned. Other minsters and their aides, too. The prospect of a leadership challenge are now more likely than not, even though the clock is ticking steadily toward Brexit Day next March.
I have been here before.
On November 13, 1990, I sat on the green benches of the British Parliament and watched a previous foreign secretary, Sir Geoffrey Howe, in his resignation speech, snap Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – the Iron Lady – like a twig with a series of devastating metaphors which had the whole House wincing and laughing in equal measure.
The whole House – that is, except Mrs. Thatcher, who left the chamber that day a broken woman – opened, wide open, to an inevitable leadership challenge, which duly forced her from power after a decade of unassailability.
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