There is only one person who should get the sack this Christmas — and that’s Theresa May. She might have survived the wrath of the grey suit brigade for now, but she cannot escape the reality that is staring her in the face. Her leadership is doomed and her deal is in flames.
Across Scotland and Britain people are fed up of soundbites and stalling. May should bring her deal to the House of Commons and let MPs vote on it. We have had enough of these Tories running scared. Do not be fooled by the pantomime at Westminster surrounding whether May stays or goes. The only thing that matters to ordinary working people is ensuring that, whatever is agreed, their living standards rise, the cuts to services end and jobs are protected.
If May comes back from Brussels with anything other than a significantly altered withdrawal agreement, then the Labour Party, many of her own MPs and all other opposition parties will be voting it down. Even if she runs scared until January, she cannot delay what looks like inevitable defeat.
In that event, the next step for the country is obvious. A general election to rid us of this Tory incompetence for good and the opportunity to elect a government led by Jeremy Corbyn with a radical programme in the interests of the many. Theresa May might not want to fight another election after the battering her party received in 2017, but Labour does. We are a government in waiting, not a lame duck administration like the hollowed-out husk that is this zombie Conservative party.
What this sorry saga shows is that Jeremy Corbyn was right all along. Labour had a clear plan to ensure a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU whilst protecting jobs. A plan that would deliver for every region and nation of the UK. A plan that would have respected the result of the referendum while recognising that no one voted to make this country poorer. A plan that recognises you cannot secure a deal without a working customs union arrangement. The Tories’ only plan is to keep May in power and even that has failed.
Theresa May told us that her deal was the only deal available. Yet this week, in order to survive the vengeance of her backbenchers, it looks like she has been telling everyone from the DUP to the Tory hard right that she can change the state of play on the backstop. That is not going to happen. The best she can get are cosmetic changes, but that is not going to appease the likes of Sammy Wilson and Jeffrey Donaldson.
When she turns up in London empty-handed, I suspect a few Tory MPs who gave her their confidence will regret their decision quite rapidly. That decision means she is now immune from challenge by her Tory peers for another year. If that is the case and once this rotten deal is rejected, then there will be the opportunity for a vote of no confidence. Timing is everything!
The choice in that event will be clear. It’s the continuation of the coalition of chaos between the right and the further right of the Tory Party or we can return to the country and elect a Labour government that will deliver for everyone regardless of how they voted, but we have to do it at the right time.
Do not listen to the opportunists in the SNP who wanted to push a parliamentary no-confidence vote not even 24 hours before the Prime Minister’s own party sought to bring her down. They are only interested in their own agenda — and socialism is not on it.
This week, the First Minister suggested Labour was scared of pushing for a vote it might not win. That is rich from a party that said in March 2017 it would hold a second independence referendum in 2018 or 2019. I wonder why that never happened. If this fiasco has taught us anything, it’s that trying to dissolve a 45-year-old union is an absolute nightmare. Imagine then if the SNP got its way and we set about dissolving a 300-year social, economic and political entity. The consequences for working people would be disastrous.
This from a party that has had numerous different positions on Brexit. One minute they want to join the euro, the next they want the pound. Another minute they want to be in EFTA, then it’s full EU membership or nothing. The country must have an alternative to Theresa May’s bumbling time in Downing Street and Nicola Sturgeon’s opportunism. The opportunity to elect a Labour government is one that cannot come soon enough.
—Neil Findlay is a leader of Labour Party (England).