Almost three years into the Brexit process and trust levels are near zero. After a seven-hour meeting, the cabinet had been frisked for their phones – Oi Gove, I want your burner as well – and kettled inside No 10 to prevent them from blabbing. This was one statement that Theresa May would get to make that the country hadn’t already heard from someone else.
Timed to coincide with the six o’clock news, the Leader in Name Only walked nervously towards the Downing Street lectern. Understandably, as the last televised speech she had given from there had pretty much alienated every MP, along with the entire country. This time she kept it short and sweet. A crisp three minutes. But true to form, even at that length no one was entirely sure just what she had said. Or what it meant. Or if it was even possible.
Lino began by all but ruling out a no-deal Brexit. Though leaving the back door open just a smidgeon to one. She was fed up with bashing her head against the DUP and the Spartans of the European Research Group, so now she was going to try her luck with Jeremy Corbyn. Having kicked the can down the road for months on end in a desperate effort to keep her party together, she was now kicking it firmly into the Labour leader’s face. There was one question Jezza had to ask himself: “Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”
What she hadn’t said was what compromises she was prepared to make. Mainly because she simply didn’t have a clue. You don’t get to resolve a lifetime of indecision in one cathartic, blinding moment of clarity. A Maybot is, as a Maybot does. The only real conclusion her near-obsolete binary brain had reached was that Brexit was a complete mess and, if at all possible, she didn’t want to go down in history as the prime minister who had deliberately chosen to tip the UK into recession and civil unrest.
Mostly she was just fed up, though. If the entire country was stressed out by Brexit, how did they think she was feeling? Just imagine what it must be like to be the person in charge who didn’t have a clue. She had felt so alone. Especially with a cabinet full of idiots. So it was time to let someone else have a go. And why not Corbyn? He’d been going on enough about how he had all the answers, so let him put up or shut up.
May was also sick and tired of the Tory party tearing itself apart. Hell, there was fuck all left of it to fight over now anyway. Most of her MPs and cabinet were barely on speaking terms with each other now. Some of them were barely even on speaking terms with themselves, they had changed positions so often. They were an anarchic rabble. She might be Lino but the Conservatives were a Party in Name Only. She’d be gone soon and there would be nothing left for her successor to lead. With any luck. Pick the bones out of that, Boris.
So why not have some fun in her last few days and see if she could get the Labour party to tear itself apart as well? Let Corbyn feel the heat for a change. Was he going to insist on a second referendum or would he settle just for a customs union and single market? Were Labour basically a party of remain or leave?
Either way, it was no skin off her nose. If the cross-party talks fell apart – as they probably would – and the decision came down to a series of binding indicative votes with her deal as one of the options, she could live with that. All that really mattered was that she shouldn’t get the blame. The one thing she had learned from getting up close and personal to a shitshow, was that it was always better to have as many people as possible with their arms, elbow-deep, bathed in shit. After all, it wasn’t as if there wasn’t more than enough of the stuff to go round. The Grand Wizard of Mogg and Mark Francois made sure of that.
As she walked off camera, Lino breathed a sigh of relief. Things would unravel. Of course they would. Even if Labour did play ball, something would go wrong with the extension or the European elections. That was the whole point of Brexit. Things fall apart. The centre cannot not hold. There was literally nothing on which enough people could agree. But she had come out of the day alive and had bought herself the best part of a week. And given how the day had started, that was cause in itself for celebration.
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