Theresa May’s dead EU cat shows the fragility of her campaign and paucity of political judgement

by Atul Hatwal

The question is why? Why would Theresa May make that speech on the EU in this election? She’s already guaranteed a huge majority. Reports from all parties make it abundantly clear that the number one doorstep issue for switchers is Jeremy Corbyn.

She also knows that this speech will have a long term impact.

In France, Emmanuel Macron, most likely victor in this week’s second round is sure to be asked about it and will harden his line on Brexit. Merkel, approaching her own campaign, will do similar.

The Tory right will use May’s words to  make any backsliding towards the perfidy of compromise for an interim deal that much harder.

The chances of a Brexit disaster on Theresa May’s watch, in the next two years, just leapt exponentially.

So why do it?

A big part of the reason is that her team have been bounced: criticism of the Tories’ lack of policy, her own sheltered campaign which has studiously avoided contact with the public and the robotic repetition of the same lines, has clearly had an impact.

It’s hard to fill an election grid when the only policy commitment is to not make a commitment, journalists are getting restive and bored of anodyne events and the principal lacks the basic retail skill to deliver her core message without sounding like a ZX Spectrum speech program from the 1980s.

This is why Theresa May has thrown a dead EU cat onto the general election table.

Now, the next 48 hours will all be about May versus Brussels.

A great short term media win for the election campaign, disastrous for the premiership that follows.

That Theresa May would sacrifice her own prospects in office for this transitory triumph when facing Jeremy Corbyn says it all about the fragility of her campaign and her underlying lack of political judgement.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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33 Responses to “Theresa May’s dead EU cat shows the fragility of her campaign and paucity of political judgement”

  1. Tafia says:

    What complete and utter clap-trap.

  2. Anon says:

    I seriously don’t get May – she is set on a very high risk path.

    But, if she is motivated by genuine conviction and is doing what she thinks is right, then she leaves Labour’s leadership looking lacklustre.

    If we accept that Labour are going to lose under Jeremy Corbyn, and a new Blairite leadership is established, how in the face of Labour constituencies favouring Brexit are we going to recover in the near future?

    The EU are not going to give, and that will stiffen the sinew of any vaguely EU-skeptic person in the UK.

    “There is a tide in the affairs of men” – and Labour seem to be all at sea (sorry)

  3. Anne says:

    I agree with you. Teresa May is totally unsuitable to be leading Brexit negotiations – she is certainly showing her true colours. I am very concerned for the future of our country.
    The best way out if this is a coalition- this will allow Kier Starmer to lead negotiations.

  4. Atul,
    You may be shocked to learn that arch-Brexiter Tim Montgomerie agrees with you:

  5. john P Redi says:

    take it you don’t read the tabloids ,watch the news

  6. Timmy says:

    The EU representatives gave her no choice with their leaking and €100 billion figure. She had to react or be seen as weak both inside and outside the country. Throwing an election “dead cat”? Don’t agree- she has no need to. What Corbyn narrative is she wanting to divert us from? 250,000 extra police??

    Whether this was misjudgment or deliberate manipulation by Juncker etc. we can’t be sure. I tend to see cock-up rather than conspiracy in most such situations, but who knows? We are going to suffer these games for years.

  7. Anne says:

    I was in America when the last Presidential elections were on. I asked an American lady how she thought the elections were going and she said ‘of all the millions of people in American how have we ended up with these two.’ I now understand her true feelings. I think the best we can hope for is who can do the least damage and actually on balance that would be Corbyn – put Kier Starmer in charge of Brexit negotiations.

  8. Duke Bouvier says:

    Why will this speech have long term impact? Because Juncker was rude and untrustworthy, and was told to back off? May behaved no differently to Merckel, but somehow Labour Remainers see every word that falls from Merckel’s mouth as divine truth and every work from May as the rambling of a fool.

    That is daydreams driving your view of reality. May seems to – to my surprise – getting real cut through with ordinary floating and usually-Lab our voters. Corbyn seems to be political Sarin – the idea that voters out there don’t really know about him looks to be false too.

    As for the comments below discussing Keir Starmer leading some kind of National Government to subvert the referendum result – laughable fantasy.

  9. madasafish says:

    I agree 100% with Tafia.
    And Duke Bouvier.

    And some of the other comments seem to be written by people living in la-la land rather than the real world. (Apologies for the rudeness but it is true).
    Labour as a Party are going to have zero input into the future negotiations. Period. And if they oppose something post GE, it is likely they will be decisively outvoted on a scale equivalent to Toy Blair after 1997 or Margaret Thatcher post 1983 – majorities in the HOC well over 125 seats.

    I am not saying Mrs May is right or wrong but this article is like micturating into the wind.

  10. Andrew kilsby says:

    The EU airily suggests we have a £100billion bill to pay. I would prefer that Theresa May was robust. I’ve spent much of my life doing deals. The correct response to aggression is difficult to judge. But passivity ain’t the way to go.

  11. Ex Labour says:

    Another piece of ridiculous bluster and waffle from Atul – I hear the sounds of straws being clutched at. The EU, particularly Mr ‘Drunker’, is beginning to play dirty as he feels he probably has the backing of Merkel, after all nothing happens in Germany without her say so as they bank roll the whole shabang. Germany still has its guilt complex so wants a united Europe and see themselves as European rather than German.

    Kier Starmer…really ? FFS he’s one of your labour progressive liberal metrosexuals who really doesn’t understand the people outside of the insular Islington bubble.

  12. Ex Labour says:

    Correction: should have read “nothing happens in Europe”…

  13. Anne says:

    Disappointing results for Labour – disappointed for Sean in West Midlands and congrats to Andy. As the saying goes we are were we are. Some analysis needs to be undertaken regarding the results – again what was the ratio of young people voting and why so much non voting?
    Again I say I can’t understand the country’s love affair with Teresa May – she is short on detail, uses only repeated one line sound bites, controlling personality, set off to a bad start with negotiations with EU – willing to come away with no deal. No sound polices and little talent in her cabinet – so for goodness sake what is so appealing?
    Labour has produced some good policies but is not resonating with the public.
    We do have much more talent in the Labour Party with many,at the moment, on the back benches. We do need a total shake up after the election. I think the left of the party have also got to take some responsibility about results. Some, I believe, are to use the phase past their sell by date. Diane, for example, has made far too many mistakes. We have some good young people in the party – Rebecca LB, Lisa, Chucka, Kier (excellent on Brexit), Dan, Yvette and where has Rachel Reeves gone. Look we could build a great centre left party – hold on in there everyone – there may be a silver lining.

  14. madasafish says:

    Want to know the Labour and Tory strategies?


  15. John Green says:

    Jeremy Bernard Corbyn

    Dear Mr. Corbyn,

    I have been deeply interested in politics all my life and have voted in every election, general and local, since the 1950s, except for those periods of my life when I have lived abroad. I have to confess that I had never heard of you until two years ago when you were plucked from the dark recesses of the Labour backbenches and your name was added in the last few seconds to the list of candidates for the leadership of your party. It was widely recognised that you were to play the role of useful idiot in order to make the other four drab candidates look interesting. Against all predictions you won the contest and I congratulate you.

    At that time, your party was riding high in the opinion polls, having narrowly lost a general election in which Labour was the bookies favourite to win, up until an exit poll was announced as the polling booths closed. Since those heady times I have followed your career with interest. Under your stewardship, Labour has experienced the most dramatic decline in public support in several generations. Your party now faces the most humiliating defeat in the pending general election. Your personal rating is at record levels of negativity. You have been declared “useless” by 80% of Labour party MPs, the people you are supposed to be leading. The majority of Labour counsellors apparently have the same opinion of you and you have lost the support of half of traditional Labour voters.

    A recent survey could not find a single Labour candidate wishing to have you campaigning in their constituencies and none will feature your name or picture on their literature. As far as your own campaigning goes, you are only attending rallies organised by Momentum, your Praetorian guard, in secure locations where you can be surrounded by braying crowds of devoted cult members waving placards.

    My question is, what happens next? What is your plan, Mr Corbyn? You have already secured your place in British political history as the most spectacularly useless party leader. Your place in the Guinness Book of Records is secure for all time.

    Anyone with an iota of decency, honesty and self-respect would face this situation, accept responsibility and resign. You show no sign of doing so. How much worse do you want it to get? What is your plan, Mr Corbyn

  16. ad says:

    There are 27 countries that could veto any deal, and less than two years left to get one. I wouldn’t seriously expect much of a deal, whatever May says. Nor would I expect anyone to remember what she said, a month from now.

    I’d say the sensible thing for May to do is to prepare the country for her NOT getting a deal. Then at least people might not blame her.

  17. Anne says:

    While watching the county council results on TV it was apparent that the majority of Conservative groups were what I call ‘the silver brigade.’ In my own locality I had one leaflet through the door from an enthusiastic young Labour candidate- he was about in all weathers knocking on doors. Yet an over 80 year old sitting Conservative candidate got elected on a landslide and what did he do to achieve this landslide – absolutely nothing. Who would have made the better candidate – in my opinion the young enthusiastic Labour candidate. My point is this, please support your Labour candidate – we have some good young Labour candidates – let’s give them a chance. Do not give this ‘silver brigade’ an open cheque on Brexit with a landslide Conservative victory. The effects of Brexit will not really affect me, nor the ‘silver brigade’ but it will affect our children and grandchildren.

  18. Tafia says:

    again what was the ratio of young people voting and why so much non voting?

    Local elections always have low turnouts – usually well south of 40%. Mayoral elections likewise. London only gets 45% because it’s the same day as the GLA.

    Really, the only election in the UK that gets a decent turnout is the General Election.

    Voting on a thursday doesn’t help matters.

  19. Tafia says:

    We have some good young people in the party – Rebecca LB, Lisa, Chucka, Kier (excellent on Brexit), Dan, Yvette and where has Rachel Reeves gone

    Rebecca Long-Bailey – extreme left wing being groomed for greater things by king-maker McDonnell. Outside potential successor to Corbyn if the left retain control and McDonnell gets his amendments through the NEC.
    Lisa Nandy – In the wrong party, should be a Lib Dem
    Chuka Umanna – Laughed at by the public. Dandy & a fop. Knows less about business than Mr Patel in the corner shop. Gets upset if he is put down in public on TV, weak. Worst of all, Blairi.te
    Kier Starmer – Lightweight, not particulalrly bright.
    Dan Jarvis – Heart not really in it and probably better suited to May’s Tories.
    Yvette Cooper – public find her annoying, well past any use. Blairite,
    Rachel Reeves – never arrived anywhere to actually go missing and never likely to.

  20. Anne says:

    I still believe the best outcome from this coming election would be some form of coalition with Labour, SNP, Plaid Cumri, Lib Dems and Greens. If the SNP were part of the ruling party then their need to be independent would be reduced. The country would be united as the government would be representing all (except NI) parts of the UK. The Lib Dems want a second referendum- this condition is manageable – after two years we will be aware of what the deal will look like. I quite like Caroline Lucius from the Greens. Probably a condition would be that Corbyn would have to go but there is plenty of talent in the Labour Party to fill this role. Kier Starmer would lead Bexit negotiations.
    The worst outcome from the election would be a landslide for the Conservatives – this would be giving Teresa May a blank cheque. This would be disastrous for the country and very unhealthy for democracy.

  21. madasafish says:


    A coalition?
    Perhaps you did not notice what happened to the LDs after they Coalition?
    They were slaughtered in 2015. Other Parties will note that.

    Withe the SNP?
    Perhaps you did not notice what happened in the last GE?
    Labour were slaughtered using that threat.
    Just what do Labour offer the SNP in return? The only thing they want is Independence.

    Just do the sums and it makes no sense for others to ally with a Party with a Leader who is electoral poison.. Just look at Corbyn’s personal rating..

    Labour have selected as Leader a man who is anathema to the majority of voters except the young – who don’t vote.
    A clear indication if you want that a majority members do not want to win anything but be a party of protest. They will succeed in that.

  22. uglyfatbloke says:

    Not much chance of a deal with the nats given that Scottish Labour is going to deliberately help get tories elected in various consistuencies. That’s how Mundell got in last time.

  23. John P Reid says:

    Tafias ,r view of th candidates, exactly although, yvettes a brownite,
    You’re right it’ll be Rebecca long Bailey versus Yvette in the leadership,and the true Blairites of Mandleson will sooner hwve her than RbL, and actually so will some of the EU skeptics like Gisela Stuart
    She’ll have a strong team of Jon cryer, Harriet harman backing her up as McDonnell wint want her to swing the party to the middle

    Actually it depends when the leadership election is if it’s before may and some of the London councillors who voted for Cobyn, back RBL she’ll win, if it’s after may 2018 and they’ve lost their seats due to Jeremy,they might say ‘what did we do ,backing ‘ Jeremy’
    We’ve lost our seats ,due to it and back Yvette

    Trouble for Yvette, is look at both the Blairite and blue labour wings, some blue labour voted Liz K, first Jeremy second as he was the most EU skeptic, the Blairites voted bunham first Liz second, the new abstained in the third choice,
    So two of the anti Corbyn wings Yvette needs arent fans of her

    Also the Tory majority on Tav influence for the anti RBL candidate of the likes of John woodcock,and Wes streeting lose their seats they won’t hwve the media to back Yvette

  24. NickT says:

    May is simply not very bright and is following Cameron’s path of placating the Brexit crazies in order to cling to power. She’s done nothing to suggest that she is fit to govern in her 9 months in power and all the indications are that the next five years are going to be filled with disastrous hard right policies designed to keep her knuckle-draggers happy as the negotiations with the EU move inexorably towards disaster. The EU have time and economic reality on their side; May has jingoistic bluster and the tabloids. There’s only one outcome to that confrontation and it’s going to remembered as Britain’s greatest self-inflicted disaster of the last hundred years. God knows, May and the Tories deserve it, UKIP deserves it, the xenophobic Brexit mob deserves it. Shame we can’t give them their own little island in the middle of nowhere and let them howl insults at the sky. Still, perhaps the whipping will shock the British into a more realistic appreciation of what a mess they’ve made of their country. I doubt it, because self-pitying fake patriotism and drunken bravado have poisoned their minds for too long, but we can always hope for something better.

  25. Ex labour says:

    @ Anne…..”The worst outcome from the election would be a landslide for the Conservatives – this would be giving Teresa May a blank cheque. This would be disastrous for the country and very unhealthy for democracy”

    Yeah this democracy stuff is overrated. You seem to have the attitude of a typical leftie, democracy is great when you win but if you can’t win democratically then dictatorship is fine. Probably why Abbott, Corbyn et al think Venezuela is a great country.

    @ Tafia

    What you said.

  26. Anne says:

    I have now started to call Mrs May – Teresa Me because all she says is me, me, me eg ‘give ME a strong hand’ or ‘MY team.’ I can understand this is some ways because her team are so lacking in talent that she has to compensate in some ways. God help us when it comes to Brexit negotiations.

  27. Anne says:

    Teresa Me says she is going to put a mental health worker into each school. Now two things need to be asked here – whose budget is this service coming out of and secondly where is she going to get the trained mental health workers from. The Conservative government have detested the school nursing service – the funding for the service has been transferred from the NHS to individual school budgets and because school budgets are struggling they can not afford to fund this service – so consequently most schools do not have a school nurse service.
    The first referral pathway for a child or young adult with a mental health issue is to CAMS (child and adolescent mental health service) but the waiting list for this service is extensive, as are waiting lists for child development units, child psychologist, and community paediatricians. It is not just adult services which are struggling. I very much doubt if Teresa Me or Jeremy Hunt understand this.

  28. Tafia says:

    Anne, has it crossed your mind that the mainstream voters aren,t really that bothered whether she delivers this or not? If she does, all well and good to her. If she doesn,t then one thing it wont be is an election issue in 2022.

    By the way, just as health worker doesn,t mean nurse , mental health worker doesn,t mean mental health nurse.

  29. Anne says:

    Thanks NickT couldn’t have said it better myself.
    All so called ‘mental health worker’ will need to have some form of training and qualifications as well as accountability – if not they certainly could do more harm than good.
    All nurses and midwives have to be registered with the NMC in order to practice – this ensures accountability and protection for the public.
    I believe a well trained, accountable and valued health service is extremely important to the electorate in any election.

  30. Tafia says:

    All so called ‘mental health worker’ will need to have some form of training and qualifications as well as accountability – if not they certainly could do more harm than good.
    All nurses and midwives have to be registered with the NMC in order to practice – this ensures accountability and protection for the public.

    Yet again you fail to grasp a fundemental here. Health worker does not mean nurse or midwife. The levels of training are far far lower as are thwe qualifications – and at the end of the day it’s the politicians that set those. If it happens (which I doubt) it will be somebody with limited training, a fairly low qualification NVQ level 2 in nut jobs) and the pay won’t be that great.

    Remember Teaching Assistants and PCSOs and all the promises made over them? And what’s the reality now? PCSOs driving blue light Police cars unescorted, patrolling on their own etc etc, Teaching Assistants left alone in classrooms with teachers supervising half a dozen or more sometimes not even in the same school. Downgrading health the same way is the next logical step. ‘Mental Health Worker’ will end up being the same level as a PCSO/Teaching Assistant, probably on the same low pay. But like I said, if it happens at all.

  31. Anne says:

    Great TV performance this evening from Maxine Peak highlighting the awful effects of Conservative cuts – in all services education, police, education and housing.

  32. Anon E Mouse says:

    Does this author ever leave the London bubble lol

  33. Tafia says:

    Great TV performance this evening from Maxine Peak highlighting the awful effects of Conservative cuts – in all services education, police, education and housing.

    Cuts? Or just not rising as fast as inflation. There’s a big big difference.

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