Well, the ‘Brexit weekend’ at Chequers has come and gone and, as a consequence, so have a number of government ministers. With the clock ticking even faster in terms of the deadline for exiting the EU in March 2019, it would seem that we (the government) have had to compromise. The main issue being – especially for the Brexiteers – how much of a compromise. Social media is full of people saying it’s a “sell-out” or even “traitorous” behaviour from Theresa May and her Cabinet and it would seem that quite a few Conservative MPs agree. However, her meeting with the 1922 committee a few days ago would seem to have been successful (at least in the short term and from her personal point of view) in that they reacted well to her ‘back me or get Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’ message/threat.
So what are the alternatives if she were to be ‘ousted’? Boris Johnson? Jacob Rees-Mogg? Jeremy Hunt? Each of these have ‘baggage’ regarding their personalities, their ‘heritage’ or what they have or haven’t achieved in their previous departments or jobs. One thing in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s favour is that he has been successful in most things he has done. But is he too ‘old school’? Given the wide view that Jeremy Hunt has ruined the NHS he is unlikely (maybe not with Conservative party members but with the wider public). Boris, of course, is seen as various types of fool…which he clearly is not.
If the ‘Chequers compromise’ is accepted by the EU, gets through parliament and forms the basis of Brexit, this will leave a massive and damaging legacy for Theresa May and the Conservative Party at the next General Election. The hard Brexiteers will not be happy and whatever the deal is, things will not have settled down well within 4 years – for the economy, trade or socially. Whatever the alternatives are from Labour or even a ‘resurrected’ UKIP, I doubt very much that they will remain in power. Even at grass roots level, “activists” are staying off the streets according to Peter Bone MP and locally, the local Party association are having difficulties in getting volunteers to ‘do stuff’ and in one case turn up to support the local Conservative MP in public. I noticed that a local public session designed to attract Conservative youngsters from the area to meet 2 local MPs and other Conservative stalwarts, has only attracted 6 ‘interested’ views on Facebook! Given the state of the local Conservative Party Association, I am not that surprised.