Denial and bargaining as Theresa May grieves for her Brexit dreams

时间:2019-10-08 责任编辑:哈奕 来源:澳门赌博网址大全-2019专业平台Welcome√ 点击:284 次

More in sorrow than in anger. There were no celebrations, nor even recriminations, as Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier gave their joint press conference at the end of the EU council meeting in Brussels that had signed off the withdrawal agreement and the draft agreement on the future trading relationship. No great sense of history being made. Just an air of resigned melancholy. That which had been needed to be done had been done. There were no winners. It was a deal that left everyone diminished.

“We will remain friends till the end of days,” said Tusk. “And one day longer.” But not such close friends as we had once been. Not even friends with benefits. Juncker did see one upside to the whole negotiating process: it had brought the remaining 27 countries together. The EU was more united than before, and would be . Bye bye, Gibraltar.

Now it was up to the UK parliament to see if it wanted to accept it, Barnier observed. Frankly, the EU had already wasted enough headspace on the UK’s existential crisis and it wasn’t going to take up more of its time trying to second-guess the outcome. As far as he was concerned, that was it. Given Theresa May’s self-imposed red lines, the deal on the table was the only one on offer.

More in denial than in sorrow. At her own press conference half an hour later, the British prime minister the UK was leaving the EU. There again, she hardly looked ecstatic at the outcome either. Rather, she appeared broken. A hunched, physically diminished figure peering out over the lectern, looking – as she so often does these days – as if she wished she was somewhere else entirely. Preferably curled up under the duvet, .

Where the EU has moved on to bargaining and depression – the third and fourth stages of grief – May is stuck in the first. Denial. She cannot yet bring herself to admit that her deal is dead in the water. Unloved by everybody. Herself included. There have been no German car manufacturers rushing to her rescue, to thank her for maintaining their access to the UK market. Her dream of a good deal is dead on arrival.

“What the British people want,” the prime minister said time and again, on each occasion mistaking what she herself wanted for what the British people wanted. It was she who was fed up with the whole Brexit process and wanted the whole thing over. It was she who believed it was in the national interest, when everyone could see it was actually only in hers. It was she who wanted to believe in a deal that was so obviously bad for the country, that delivered so little of what had been originally promised. A Brexit deal whose only saving grace was that it would leave everyone marginally better off than leaving the EU with no deal at all.

This was press conference as tragedy. A humiliation that was all the more painful for being obvious to everyone but May, who clung desperately to the hope that somehow her “” might head off an inevitable defeat in parliament. That, even if anyone bothered to read her delusional fantasies, they would mistake them for coherent thought and beg their MPs to accept a deal they didn’t want. That the collective unconscious would be in favour of self-harm.

Quick guide

What happens next if May's Brexit deal is voted down?

If MPs reject the deal, there are seven possible paths the country could go down next.

May brings it back to MPs
Perhaps with minor tweaks after a dash to Brussels. ​MPs knuckle under and vote it through.

May resigns immediately
It is hard to imagine her surviving for long. After a rapid leadership contest, a different leader could appeal to a majority in parliament, perhaps by offering a softer deal.

Tory backbenchers depose her
Jacob Rees-Mogg gets his way and there is a no-confidence vote. A new leader then tries to assemble a majority behind a tweaked deal.

May calls a general election
May could choose to take the ultimate gamble and hope that voters would back her deal, over the heads of squabbling MPs.

Labour tries to force an election
The opposition tables a vote of no confidence. ​If May lost​, the opposition (or a new Conservative leader) would have two weeks to form an alternative government that could win a second confidence vote. If they were unable to do so, a general election would be triggered.

A second referendum gathers support
This is most likely if Labour makes a last-ditch decision to back it. 

No deal
The EU (Withdrawal) Act specifies 29 March 2019 as  day. Amber Rudd has said she believes parliament would stop a no deal, but it is not clear how it would do so.

Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Come the questions from the media, there were no straight answers. There seldom are. The denial was still too great. May’s eyes deadened and her responses became ever more staccato and evasive. As if her circuit board had been mainlined with Valium. A second-rate Ayn Rand. She wasn’t going to think about what would happen if her deal was voted down because she was focused on getting her deal through parliament. She wanted to counsel against the negativity towards a deal about which she herself clearly felt so negative. The power of positive thinking. The triumph of the will, the triumph of the impossible. Yet in ruling nothing in, she was ruling nothing out. All options were still on the table.

And this was all supposed to have been the easy bit. It had taken the best part of two years to reach a withdrawal agreement that no one liked and the vultures would now begin to circle round the future trade arrangements. Spain already had its eyes on Gibraltar and France had its on UK fishing rights. And those were just the easy pickings.

After 10 minutes or so, May scuttled off. This was meant to be a landmark day in Britain’s history. A day when the UK had asserted its independence. An occasion to raise a toast to Blighty. So why did it feel like an anticlimax? Why was no one celebrating? Why did she feel so utterly alone? So useless. Grief could do strange things to a person. And a country.