May’s Ship of State is Leaking

Teresa May’s Nasty DUP Deal

Yesterday, the Daily Torygraph Telegraph had this by Lord Patten: “DUP deal will make the Tories the nasty party again, says Lord Patten“.

Speaking of the present state of British politics, Lord Patten asserted:

“I think it’s the worst time since Suez, though maybe even worse than that because Suez was the end of an era, it was the end of our colonial aspirations, we had the knees cut from under us, the legs cut from under us by the Americans, and this was Europe, the European Union was our replacement for that colonial role.

And thanks to the calamitous errors of two Conservative Prime Ministers in a row, who thought that they could manage the unmanageable English nationalist right wing of the Conservative Party, we’re in this hell of a mess.”

The Independent has this: “Theresa May accused of bribing DUP with £1bn deal despite claiming ‘there is no magic money tree’ –  Leaders from across the home nations say agreement could endanger peace in Northern Ireland“.

The Guardian has this: “Michael Fallon defends £1bn DUP deal amid backlash – Defence secretary says cash is not a ‘bung’ and it is in all the UK’s interests to help Northern Ireland“.

‘Cash for Votes’

Of course, the deal is very much a ‘bung’  which gives the Wicked Witch the possibility of surviving as PM for a few weeks and it’s going to go down very badly in Scotland, Wales and the deprived areas of England.  The New Statesman has this by Stephen Bush: “The Conservative-DUP deal is great news for the DUP, but bad news for Theresa May“.

See also this piece by Roger Scully in the New Statesman: “The Tory-DUP deal has left Scotland and Wales seething – It is quite something to threaten the Northern Irish peace process and set the various nations of the UK at loggerheads with merely one act“.

The Independent has this by Andreas Whittam-Smith: “There is no national interest in this dishonest DUP deal – we’re now all forking out to prop up Theresa May – Stephen Crabb referred to the deal as ‘the cost of doing business’ – something which usually refers to the paying of bribes in overseas markets, appropriately enough“.

Interestingly, the Independent also has this: “Theresa May will not last another year as PM, say Citigroup analysts – ‘Our base case remains that we will have a Conservative leadership contest followed by a new general election within the next 12 months,’ the bank said“.  The article states:-

According to reports, some ministers are even favouring Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to replace Ms May before the party’s October conference, as part of an alliance with Brexit Secretary David Davis“.

Yesterday, Simon Heffer wrote this in the New Statesman:  “The humbling of Theresa May – The Prime Minister has lost all authority. The Tories will remove her as soon as they feel the time is right“.

The Guardian has this: “Philip Hammond: Brexit petty politics must not hinder ‘economic logic’ – Speech in Germany calls for transitional deal on trade and mocks Boris Johnson’s ‘cake and eat it’ approach to negotiations

As the Chinese curse puts it, it looks as though the Wicked Witch will be living in “interesting times” over the next few weeks

Fallout from the Grenfell Tower Disaster

The Government generally, and Teresa May in particular, have found it hard to deal with the Grenfell Tower Disaster: see this post.

The Independent today has this: “Grenfell Tower cladding scandal could cost councils millions after Government says no guarantee of extra funding –  ‘There is no way we can afford to reclad our tower blocks. If we have to find that money, it will come from other projects’”  Key points:-

  • Councils face bills running to hundreds of millions of pounds to make tower blocks safe after the Government said it would not guarantee extra money to pay for vital work to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell disaster.
  • Ninety-five high-rise buildings in 32 local authority areas have failed safety tests with hundreds more blocks still to be tested.
  • The responsible government department has said that the government cannot guarantee funding for remedial works
  • One Council leader has said “starved” councils would be forced to make cuts to other areas, including schooling, if central government did not help with costs – and that if  the government can find £1 billion to send to Northern Ireland to buy 10 votes, then these people, living in high-rise towers, deserve better.

Any backsliding on emergency support to Councils needing to tackle the safety issues revealed post Grenfell, could very quickly lead to a no confidence motion and the fall of the May Government.

 Free Movement Post Brexit

Politico had this on 22nd June: “UK and EU on collision course over rights of EU citizens – Prime Minister Theresa May told fellow leaders that the rights of EU citizens in Britain should be enforced by UK courts“.

Yesterday, Politico had this more optimistic view: “8 things that point to a UK-EU deal on citizens’ rights – Despite points of divergence, Britain and the EU27 are within striking distance of a deal“.

The Torygraph Telegraph also has this opinion piece from one Rupert Myers, a baby faced barrister (called to the bar in 2008) who practices somewhere in East Anglia : “If Britain cannot escape meddling foreign judges, some will wonder what the point of Brexit really was”

The article is behind the Torygraph paywall, but one wonders if young Mr Myers included the late Rt Hon Lord Mackenzie Stuart QC, or the late Sir Jean-Pierre Frank Eugene Warner QC GCOM, or Baron Slynn of Hadley GBE PC QC, or Sir David  Edward KCMG PC QC FRSE, or Sir Konrad Schliemann PC  (all of whom have been Judges of the European Court)  among his “meddling foreign judges“.

Today, Colin Yeo, a barrister who specialises in asylum and immigration law and who keeps up the Free Movement blog has this: “Analysis: what is the UK proposing for EU citizens in the UK and EU citizens in the EU?

Mr Yeo, who knows his stuff, makes these general observations:-

  • “The proposal confirms that the agreement “will have status of international law” but, as expected, the proposal is that the Court of Justice of the European Union will not have jurisdiction in the UK. It remains to be seen whether this will be deemed acceptable by the remaining members of the EU”.
  • The problem is that legal rights are worthless unless they can be enforced in the event that they are breached. If these rights are enshrined only in UK law, the UK Parliament could unilaterally legislate at any time to amend or remove these rights”.
  • “This might be dismissed as being fanciful, but it is not at all hard to imagine a future government seeking to water down rights in response to perceived public pressure. Trust me, I’m a lawyer; I make my living from alleged breaches of the law by the government of the day“.

There is absolutely no chance of the May government’s proposals being accepted by the EU negotiators.

The Evening Standard has this: “Brexit study finds almost half of highly-skilled EU workers ‘considering leaving UK”  and also this: “Brexit: London’s business leaders criticise Theresa May on immigration“.


Plato used the Ship of State as a metaphor for the conduct of government. But those who enjoy rerunning the BBC Television series “Yes Minister” will recall that Sir Humphrey Appleby pointed out that “the Ship of State is the only ship that leaks from the top“.

Mrs May’s Ship of State is leaking and heading for the rocks






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