Peter Spencer rounds up a crazy year in UK politics
Hero? Zero? Hero? Make up your mind, there’s a dear.
But how can she? Theresa May’s 2017 makes the Oblivion ride at Alton Towers look like a cosy kip in an armchair.
Back in June she was going to wipe out the Labour party. Pollsters were sure of it, and the town hall elections a fortnight earlier proved it.
Prayers at the start of each parliamentary sitting would be replaced by a rousing chorus of Rule Britannia. They’d bring back fox hunting, hanging if they could and flogging for Marxists.
But Maybot was a rubbish campaigner. She wasn’t even good at being bad.
Corbyn unfiltered, by contrast, tickled the nation’s naughty bits, and nicked her majority.
Back in the 70’s Ulster Unionists promised to save Callaghan’s tottering administration in return for a gas pipeline across the Irish Sea. But he said ‘the government is not for sale’.
Seems Theresa’s made of sterner stuff. Or maybe the billion quid the DUP demanded just wasn’t as much.
Whatever, after the election she looked stupid, and a bit slimy.
George Osborne, ex-chancellor now Evening Standard editor, gleefully signed her political death warrant.
Power without responsibility. Prozzies’ prerogative and all that.
In government you watch your P’s and Q’s. And your R’s, however you spell it.
Some say her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs never got his head round that. That Bojo’s still the hack sacked by the Times for making up a quote.
He’s certainly been making May’s life difficult. So’s gobby Gove. Both crusading for the hard Brexit she planned to deliver with the stonking great majority she didn’t get.
But come September, in Florence, she gave them both the bird, and sounded chummy with Johnny Foreigner.
This laid groundwork for the December Brexit breakthrough. But barely a fortnight later, at the Tory conference, god blew the vicar’s daughter a raspberry.
First some joker managed to get up close and personal to the PM. Security? What happened there?
It was like judgement day on the entire party. Flaky? Certainly looked it.
Once again obits were orbiting. Would she survive the week? Would she toss in the towel? Who could blame her if she did?
And all the time Brexit negotiations had not been proceeding at a snail’s pace. They hadn’t moved at all. Would have been less boring if they’d started going backwards.
Beyond insomnia, the toings and froings were a cure for post traumatic stress disorder.
Even serious nerds were spotted clasping pointy heads in hands and muttering ‘who gives a fuck?’
But there was a rustling in the undergrowth. Somehow Maybot had got the new breed of bastards, the cabinet Brexit ultras, to stump up for the divorce.
Whether she used the rack, nail pliers or the good old feet to the fire routine has yet to be revealed. But she got there somehow.
Around forty billion would do nicely, madame. Citizens’ rights were sorted, sort of, and the hard border in Ireland was simply resolved.
All she had to do was promise two entirely incompatible remedies, and everyone agreed to zip it for now. Even the DUP, eventually.
Thus zero became hero after all.
They even gave her a round of applause. For being such a jolly good sport? More likely, as fellow elected representatives, they felt her pain.
The Brits are often referred to across the channel as ‘Inselaffen’. It’s German. Means ‘island apes’. Tricky people to deal with. Impossible to govern.
Who knows if Theresa May ever admitted anything of the kind to anyone in Brussels?
And who knows where we go from here?
What’s the difference between soft egg on your face and hard-boiled Brexit?
Anything between Norway, Switzerland, Canada Plus, Canada Plus Plus, Canada Plus Plus Plus or the World Trade Organisation, to name but a few.
Would help if the cabinet could make up its mind. And the opposition.
But what’s that I hear you say? Who gives a..? Language, children, language!
The decidedly dapper Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, with London Broadcasting and Sky News. He’s interviewed every Prime Minister from Harold Wilson to Theresa May. Aside from his reporting duties he’s also a talented author. Follow him on Facebook & Twitter