After years of ignoring everything apart from her own weird prejudices (think “hostile environment”), it took the biggest loss of a vote in Parliamentary history to bring Theresa May to the negotiating table with other party leaders – we’re told.
She made a great show of opening up to cross-party talks, but all the evidence shows that this is just another delaying tactic.
Even The Sun‘s Tom Newton Dunn thinks so:
How seriously is Theresa May taking cross-party talks, or is it just a ruse?
Not a great sign from one opposition MP who has already seen her in No10: “She was reading to us off a script. Pathetic".
— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 17, 2019
If this comment from Richard Burgon is accurate, then it’s clear that Mrs May hasn’t taken the idea of cross-party talks seriously at all:
Tory Party Chair Brandon Lewis this morning made clear that any talks must stick to Tory red lines & refused to rule out No Deal.
That's not how to build consensus.
That seems more about playing games & running down the clock than getting a solution that can unite the country.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) January 17, 2019
What is the point of claiming to be prepared to listen to other party leaders if Mrs May has made it clear from the outset that she won’t change anything? None that I can see. How about you?
And that’s why, as Labour Insider states, Mr Corbyn has rejected the offer of talks as a “stunt.” According to that account, he also said “unless the Conservative government removes a no deal Brexit as a possibility then they are not honestly open to working together”.
Mr Corbyn’s demand was echoed by the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Green Party.
And what do we get from the media?
So – messages to Theresa May:
Vince Cable: "take No Deal off the table"
Nicola Sturgeon: "take No Deal off the table"
Caroline Lucas: "take No Deal off the table"
Media: – tumbleweed –
Jeremy Corbyn: "take No Deal off the table"
— Matt Thomas #VoteLabour (@Trickyjabs) January 17, 2019
This Sky News interview is typical of the attitude we have seen – and the interviewer’s attitude is atrocious:
— Corbyn for PM (@CorbynASAP) January 17, 2019
And it leads to the kind of nonsense spouted by Hugo Rifkind here:
The interesting moment will come when May offers Corbyn exactly what he says he wants and he still has to find an excuse not to take it.
— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) January 17, 2019
That will never happen.
It seems clear that Mrs May’s idea of cross-party talks involves her talking to the other parties and them listening. She won’t change a single part of her offer so it seems clear that this is about browbeating other politicians.
And it won’t work for a very simple reason:
Jeremy Corbyn has no responsibility to save the Prime Minister. His job is to stand up for working people – which means taking no deal off the table.
Why are Labour MPs who have been shouting for this for weeks now meeting with her behind his back?
— Dave Ward (@DaveWardGS) January 17, 2019
The second party of Dave Ward’s tweet raises an interesting question. We know Labour MPs have been talking with the Conservatives – but has it been with an entirely supportive attitude? It seems not:
Reaching out by May and team to Labour MPs, not going to plan according to senior Tory: “Big pushback from Labour MPs against meeting Gove – zero trust”. I guess the way he excoriated @jeremycorbyn yesterday not a traditional olive branch
— Robert Peston (@Peston) January 17, 2019
No surprise Labour MPs are strongly resisting the PM's attempt from her team to engage with them on Brexit, they have zero trust in Gove who has been wheeled out, his attack yesterday on Jeremy and Labour wasn't exactly a consensus seeking speech more of "look at me" leader rant
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) January 17, 2019
It seems we have Michael Gove to thank for keeping some Labour MPs on the straight-and-narrow, then!
What about the political leaders who did agree to meet Mrs May?
Here’s Caroline Lucas’s report:
Just come out of Downing St after robust discussion with PM.
I urged her to take no deal off the table & stop blackmailing MPs.
I raised rights of 3 million & pressed hard on a #PeoplesVote
But sadly these talks are coming far too late & no sign PM is willing to compromise pic.twitter.com/HE0nPiBjO8
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) January 17, 2019
And here’s Nicola Sturgeon:
So everything is not on the table. PM’s offer of talks is a promise to listen, but only if we all agree with her. @theSNP won’t be complicit in more time wasting. Rule out no deal, be prepared to extend Art 50 and agree to at least consider another referendum – then we’ll talk. https://t.co/6ZRtoEfqxT
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 17, 2019
All of this supports what Steve Howell suggests here:
Having refused to consult opposition parties for 2 years, May now says her door is open – but only in a point scoring way.
If she really wanted to talk to Corbyn, she'd use back channels. This is yet more of the megaphone 'diplomacy' that's failed in both Brussels & Westminster.
— Steve Howell (@FromSteveHowell) January 16, 2019
This rings true. Another Tweeter pointed out that “The last time Jeremy Corbyn had meeting with Theresa May, they agreed timetable for vote on her Brexit deal of Dec 11th. She renegaded on agreement wasting a month. Why should he now believe what she says, not ask for No Deal off the table without which talks have no purpose?”
So we have a situation in which Theresa May has put on a show of being reasonable, when in fact she isn’t being reasonable at all.
And the only reason she was even able to put up this pretence is she was shored up by the DUP. And even this was unreasonable as her deal runs roughshod over Arlene Foster’s red lines. Ian Lavery suggests more realistic rationales for the Northern Irish party’s support:
Its worth reminding ourselves.
Had the DUP supported the vote of no confidence then we would be heading for a @GE2019 The Gvt would have lost by 1 vote.@theresa_may @Conservatives was this the best £billions of taxpayers money ever spent
Or legalised political corruption 🤔
— Ian Lavery MP (@IanLaveryMP) January 17, 2019
Gracie Samuels was more blunt:
@theresa_may So how does it feel to be saved from losing #NoConfidenceMotion because you bunged the @DUPleader Arlene Foster a £Billion of taxpayers money? So now we have religious fanatics dictating to the entire country – thanks for that you #stupidwoman #ToryBrexitShambles pic.twitter.com/lEmyXKre35
— Gracie Samuels Popess to the BBC #GTTO 🌹 (@GracieSamuels) January 17, 2019
And Cllr John Edwards wraps the whole situation up in a nice bundle:
You survived tonight because you bribed the DUP with our money and
over 100 of your own Tory MPs are scared of bringing you down in case they lose their own seats in a GE.
The reality is that neither the Commons nor the country has any confidence in you.
— Cllr John Edwards (@JohnEdwards33) January 16, 2019
How can we have confidence in her? She has delayed democracy in order to present our MPs with an impossible choice; she has bribed another political party to ensure she cannot be ousted; and she has lied to us all about her cross-party talks.
The fault lies with us – the people of the United Kingdom – for allowing a political organisation as venal and corrupt as the Conservative Party to govern us, and for voting in favour of an undefined departure from the European Union in that party’s illegally-influenced referendum.
Have we learned our lesson yet? Or shall we take the lead of the Tories’ media friends and blame Mr Corbyn?
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