“May’s Finest Hour” blares the front page of the Express, while the S*n and Daily Mail also carried similarly delusional interpretations of Theresa May’s humiliation at Salzberg.
From the moment her Chequers Plan was released it was always going to come to this.
Theresa May was warned time and again that her effort to threaten the EU into letting her cherry-pick the benefits of EU membership without shouldering any of the responsibilities was doomed to failure.
But she carried on regardless, in the desperate hope that her endlessly repeated threat to launch a mutually destructive “no deal” flounce if she isn’t given her way would frighten the EU negotiators into caving in to her demands.
Then the Tories made yet another one of the glating strategic errors that have plagued the party ever since David Cameron’s time as PM. They decided to defy the mainstream EU consensus by aligning themselves with all of the extreme-right, neo-Nazi, and Europhobic parties in the European Parliament to oppose a move to censure the vile anti-Semitic, judiciary-rigging, free speech repressing Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán.
This Tory tactic was intended to divide the EU27 by getting the hard-right Hungarian and Polish governments onside, but it backfired spectacularly as this disgustingly cynical move pissed off the EU negotiators to such an extent that they finally put their foot down at Salzberg.
Having her desperately unrealistic wish list publicly rejected was clearly a humiliation for Theresa May and a humiliation for Britain, yet the right-wing propaganda rags are celebrating this shameful farce as some kind of wonderful victory.
This reality-reversal is so transparent that comparisons with Orwell are inevitable. So let’s just get it out of the way. “Humiliation is Victory” easily fits in alongside the 1984 slogans “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Strength”.
How on earth did we get to this point?
- How did over 17 million people end up voting in favour of a Tory administered Brexit when it was clear from the beginning that the Brexiteers had no plan for how to actually achieve it?
- How did we allow Theresa May to trigger Article 50 without even having drawn up a proper negotiating tactic first?
- How did we allow Theresa May to inhibit the chance of ever getting a workable Brexit by scribbling “red lines” all over the place?
- How did we allow Theresa May to make a diplomatically inept and toddler-like threat the centrepiece of our negotiating strategy?
- How did we allow Theresa May and the Tories to sideline the House of Commons, UK businesses, trade unions, civic society, opposition parties, devolved parliaments, charities … to run the whole Brexit show themselves?
- How did we allow Theresa May to be dictated to by the most fanatically right-wing Europhobic wing of the Tory party whilst anyone attempting to talk sense has been dismissed as “traitors”, “mutineers”, “rebels”, and “Remoaners” and bombarded with abuse and death threats by the vile Brextremist mob?
- How did we allow Theresa May and her Brexiteers to waste away the vast majority of the Brexit negotiating period?
- How did we allow Theresa May and the Tories to present the shockingly unrealistic Chequers Plan as some kind of negotiating triumph, rather than an absolute shambles that doesn’t even satisfy the Tory party that developed it, let alone the rest of the UK, or the EU negotiators who quite understandably shot it down in Salzberg after the Tories defied the mainstream European consensus to side with Viktor Orbán.
The answer to all of this is obvious. It’s the toxifying influence of the right-wing propaganda rags. They promoted Brexit when they knew the Brexiteers had no plan for how to achieve it.
They celebrated Theresa May’s ridiculous red lines, her toddler-tantrum negotiating tactics, and her decision to trigger Article 50 with no negotiating plan.
They attacked the judges as “enemies of Britain” when they overruled Theresa May’s efforts to sideline parliament and tried to orchestrate an ideological witch hunt of academics who dare to question or critique the Brexit process.
They triggered cascades of Brexiteer death threats every time they called the remain-oriented Tories “mutineers” and “traitors”. They did nothing to hold Theresa May and the Brexiteers to account over their ridiculous time-wasting tactics. And now they’re presenting Theresa May’s inevitable humiliation as some kind of epic triumph!
And if they’re prepared to reverse reality in order to re-write Theresa May’s humiliation into a wonderful victory, don’t doubt that there’s no lengths these propagandists won’t go to in order to con people into continuing to support Tory misrule, even when it’s ludicrously obvious that they’re lying through their teeth.