Theresa May can help Britain save face after Brexit

Nirpal Dhaliwal
Nirpal DhaliwalJul 12, 2016 | 09:52

Theresa May can help Britain save face after Brexit

Having embarrassed themselves to an astonishing extent over the past few weeks, the British may at last be saving face.

Their anti-immigrant decision to leave the European Union (EU) - driven by a provincial coalition of elderly empire-nostalgists and the uneducated working class - was followed by the immediate resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by a free-falling currency and a steep rise in public racism.


The next day, the English football team was eliminated from the European Championships by Iceland (a country of merely five-hundred-thousand people).

Last week, the long-awaited Chilcot Report on Britain's involvement in the Iraq War depicted the Blair government as little more than a swooning fan club of the Bush administration - "I will be with you, whatever," Blair simpered in one of the many love-notes between the two - that had committed the UK to a war that was neither in its interests nor had public support, for which its military was woefully unprepared.

After a two-week national breakdown that has exposed the delusions and mediocrities that saturate this society, some degree of prestige is finally being reclaimed.

On Sunday, Scotland's Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon title - a triumph the British took to heart, though he's a declared Scottish secessionist - and now Britain will have its second woman prime minister: a clearly progressive move that will go some way to proving that the present-day British are not the dumbest people this country has ever produced.


Theresa May will be elevated from home secretary to her new position in Downing Street tomorrow. She is a quietly effective politician from within Cameron's inner circle, and was long considered to be one of the front-runners to succeed him.

She will not face a Conservative Party ballot after her opponent, Andrea Leadsom - a lower-ranking minister and steadfast champion of Brexit - dropped out of the race yesterday.

What should have been a hard-fought and forensically-scrutinised contest for the post of prime minister has simply become a very straightforward coronation.

After all the noise during the EU referendum campaign about the vigour and sanctity of British democracy, May's easy and unchallenged stride into Number 10 is the culminating, if possibly redeeming, irony of a fortnight that has revealed Britain and its grandiose sense of self to be something of a joke.

Theresa May faces no competition as Andrea Leadsom pulled out of Conservative Party leadership race yesterday. (Reuters)

She took power in drearily British fashion. Rather than winning an impassioned ideological struggle, she prevailed when her competitor imploded after turning the argument into a petty squabble over the merits of motherhood.

In a fit of high idiocy, Leadsom declared that being a parent made her the more suitable candidate, somehow giving her a stake in the future of the country that the childless May didn't have.


In the past, May had spoken of her pain and regret at not having children, and Leadsom's nasty personal attack was instantly villified - even by her own supporters - and quickly retracted.

It revealed a desperation, stupidity and spite that is incompatible with high office. Leadsom gave in, poisoned by her own banality - the preferred British method of suicide.

May had supported Britain remaining within the EU. Her efficient promotion to prime minister shows how firmly the British establishment, in the wake of a chaotic two weeks, has taken control of the country again, having foolishly given the public too much say in the matter.

The triumverate of clowns who lead the Brexit charge - Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - have all been squeezed out. Johnson and Gove both harboured ambitions of being prime minister but will never be near power again; while Farage, having reached the summit of his ambitions with a boastful victory speech to the EU parliament, has decided to retire from leading his UK Independence Party (UKIP) and seeing his dream through to reality.

While the electorate opted to leave the EU, only the prime minister can sign-off on Article 50, the legal mechanism that triggers the negotiations for a British exit - which must then be undertaken within two years.

But will May actually do that, despite her mollifying words to her party's Right that she will respect the referendum? When will she press the timer on by far the biggest and most complex trade and diplomatic negotiations the British have ever faced?

Imagine playing that poker game, with the nation at stake and the clock ticking against you. The British are in a corner, and they know it.

The provincial, ageing and unworldy Anglotariat demanded freedom from Europe and a racially purified and independent, if impoverished, Anglodesh.

But the British establishment has, over the centuries, made a fine art out of ignoring them and their aspirations. For all their talk of loving freedom, the British people aren't much prepared to fight for it: this is why they still have a ruling monarchy - a Greek-German one at that - and an unelected upper house.

They are the most quiescent and unrevolutionary people in the free world. Their elite knows this and just how to manage them.

May's job as prime minister is to make the Anglotariat feel it's being listened to while conceding to few, if any, of its demands. The primary wish is to restrict and decrease the number of EU migrants in Britain.

That's not going to happen: the EU has made it clear that access to the single market will entail free movement of labour. Britain might leave Europe on paper, but the relationship will have to be a continuation of the status quo.

Theresa May will essentially have to nurse the Anglotariat through a painful period of insecurity and disappointment. They will not get their way, and this will them hurt a lot. She must show the necessary intelligence, resolve and sensitivity to deal with the tantrums that will break out.

Demographically, Brexit is a nonsense: the younger and smarter the voter was, the more likely he or she was to support EU membership. That support will grow as the Brexit constituency dies off and as the economic consequences, which are already being felt, bite into the the hopes of the young.

No sane government lets the nation's fate be decided by the old and the ignorant, and Theresa May's won't either. The smart people here know they enjoy more freedom - of travel, commerce, opportunity and culture - within the EU than they ever will in a senile, however sovereign, Dumbostan.

She might not have any children, but May will be mummying the masses here through a sustained period of uncertainty and frustration, until the scales inevitably fall on the side of where Britain's future really lies: in Europe, where it always was.

Last updated: July 13, 2016 | 11:05
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