I see that the Brexit shitstorm has reached its Wile E Coyote moment. Like the Looney Tunes cartoon character, Theresa May has run off the cliff edge into thin air, feet flapping without purchase, so she’s reached out to Jeremy Corbyn to say: “Why don’t you join me out here?”
This latest plot twist came after May locked her Cabinet into a seven-hour meeting. Seven hours! God, seven minutes is sometimes enough meeting for me. I know that bickering and backstabbing bunch in Cabinet deserve each other but just imagine the torture of being imprisoned in a seven-hour Brexit meeting with Theresa May as referee in name only.
As none of that locked-in lot could apparently agree on anything, Mrs Maybe emerged with her only workable suggestion: reaching out to the Labour leader in the national interest/her interest. Is this simply a last desperate bid to get her Brexit deal through Parliament; or is it a political elephant trap for Corbyn, letting him take ownership of Brexit for when it all goes even more tits up than it’s going right now?
Bit of both, probably. But you know, Theresa May will now say just about anything to anyone about Brexit. She’s said so many things about Brexit she can’t possibly remember them all; and she’s said so many things that were just a cynical ruse to see her through another blood-stained day.
If you try to be non-partisan about it – a big ask in this slanging match – such collaboration makes sense: but that should have been the approach from the start, rather than as a desperate minute-to-midnight wheeze.
Why has something so momentous for the country been conducted almost purely as a private matter for the Conservative Party? I know they and David Cameron got us into this mess, but a grown-up country – which we used to be – would have taken a sensible and non-shouty approach to dealing with Brexit.
Will this reported meeting between May and Corbyn amount to anything? Oh, we’ll be lucky if they can agree it’s Wednesday. Corbyn’s tactics over Brexit to date have included: saying nothing while sitting on the fence and waiting for the Tories to cock everything up; remaining so gnomic about what he actually wants that nobody knows; and stirring suspicions that he secretly hankers after Brexit anyway even though most Labour members/supporters want to remain in the EU.
Agreeing to meet Mrs Maybe does at least allow Corbyn to play the grown-up for a while, and he has said he is “very happy” to talk to May and that he recognises his “responsibility” for easing the deadlock. As for May, she can’t deliver Brexit with Tory votes, so now she’s hoping to hitch a ride on Labour votes.
The Brexit headbangers aren’t at all happy about May seeking the advice of the man she’s been slagging off for years, but they won’t be happy until they’ve banged their heads right through that wall.
Boris Johnson was aghast, but we shall leave him with his mouth popping open and toad-creaking orotund outrage. Jacob Rees-Mogg used his snooty-vicar-from-hell voice to loftily complain that Corbyn was a Marxist.
It’s a wait-and-see pudding of a development – and we’ll probably end up with nothing on our plates. Perhaps when he’s in the room with May, Corbyn could mention this headline from last Sunday’s Observer: “Teachers volunteer for £7,000 pay cut to save jobs.”
We won’t get anywhere without sorting out Brexit, but while it’s endlessly not being sorted, parts of the public realm seem to be collapsing.