Theresa May may have won her confidence vote and jetted off to Brussels with the wind in her tail. But, as our political correspondent Peter Spencer reports, she’s still going nowhere.
What does that mean? You might ask.
Well, Theresa May, aka Harry Houdini, has seen off those Tory MP’s who want her out – by a majority of nearly two to one.
Safe from a similar challenge for a year, she’s free to get on with her job.
So far, so good.
Her meeting with the Irish Prime Minister, postponed when it looked like her political life expectancy might be measured in of hours, has now gone ahead.
And she’s free to carry one schmoozing other European leaders, as planned.
However, there are four slight flaws in the ‘she won, so nothing’s changed’ argument.
Ireland simply won’t – can’t – agree to let UK slither out of the makeshift mechanism designed to prevent customs checks being set up with the North.
The EU, likewise, is not going to tear up its own rulebook just to satisfy what it sees as a bunch of Euro-loonies in London.
Almost all the Tory MP’s who backed May in the confidence vote are actually part of the government, so would have got sacked if they hadn’t.
And the price of support of the handful of others who sided with her was her promise not to fight the next scheduled election. Meaning her power’s already ebbing away.
Which brings us back to SNAFU.
Incomparable military acronym, applicable to a variety of situations, especially hers.
Stands for Situation Normal: All F*cked Up.
At some point, probably towards the end of January, she’ll have another crack at getting her withdrawal deal past the commons.
It’ll have a few tweaks in it, grâce à grovelling galore from the British government. But that’ll be it.
Meaning it’s as likely to get through as Donald Trump is to come out as gay.
So what actually IS going to happen then?
Currently, we’re all in danger of suffocating. Under an avalanche of angels all trying to dance on the end of the same needle.
But the unthinkable is being thought at cabinet level.
No deal. Or a second referendum. And, if nothing else, a delay to departure date.
In the Brexit marathon triggered in June 2016 and scheduled to end at 11 o’clock on March 29th 2019 we’ve covered less ground than you’d expect from a dead tortoise.
And all the words spoken in between?
As Macbeth put it: “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.
He was feeling a bit down at the time. Daresay Mrs May is too …
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his wonderful takes on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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