In August, this author teased Dalibor Rohac, who wrote in the Washington Post: ‘Theresa May is the world’s most underrated leader.’ Since, Mr S has given it some thought, and sends his apologies.
Why? Because Rohac was right – Mrs May is a ‘genius’. In just two months, she has brought unity to Western politics. Everyone hates the Chequers agreement. Since the plan was agreed in July, reams of political figures have spoken out against it. This is Steerpike’s encyclopedia of enmity; a record of those who have denounced May’s proposed negotiating strategy.
The EU’s chief negotiator doesn’t simply hate Mrs May’s plan; he thinks parts of it are ‘illegal’, ‘insane’, and ‘an invitation to fraud’. According to Mr Barnier, accepting Chequers would be ‘the end of the single market and the European project.’
His comments have upset Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Yesterday, the South Staffordshire MP offered a customarily puerile retort, telling ITV: ‘Michel Barnier doesn’t know a lot about British politics.’ Mr S reckons this is an improvement on Williamson’s last comeback, when he told Russia to ‘shut up’ and ‘go away’.
He’s back. In his latest intervention, the former Prime Minister said the Chequers proposal is ‘the worst of both worlds and will satisfy nobody’. It is ‘doomed to fail’, he claimed, and won’t pass through Parliament.
Blair continued, explaining that he was confused by the plan: ‘There is something truly remarkable about the situation, especially for a country as mature and serious as Britain, to have its leadership, its political class, take the country down a path that collectively they think is a bad idea.
‘It’s a very odd thing. I’ve never seen a parallel like it. I can’t imagine being Prime Minister and saying, “I’m going to do this thing even though it’s a bad idea”.’
Really? Does nothing come to mind, Tony?
Boles is an influential Tory backbencher and Gove ally. On Saturday, he released his own Brexit plan on a slightly suspect looking website, with a Goldilocks style motto.
The page reads: ‘We can achieve a better Brexit, one around which the whole country can unite.
‘Not softer, not harder, but better.’
Boles is pushing for a ‘temporary’ stay in the EEA but his plan is yet to have won much support on the Tory benches.
Though political opposites, Tony Blair and Nigel Farage have two things in common: they both hate the Chequers proposal, and both are desperate to stay relevant. The former UKIP leader said to Sky News:
‘It is now clear to me, that if we trust our politicians to deliver Brexit we will not get what we voted for. So, I believe it is time to reengage the public, to restart the Brexit campaign.
‘With my colleagues at Leave Means Leave, we will be going out around the country, holding big public meetings, delivering leaflets, having street stalls, getting a battle bus.’
Hoping to unsettle the Tories, Mr Farage is also considering standing in the next London mayoral election. ‘I haven’t said no to it, I’m thinking about it.’ Perhaps Eddie Izzard will run too.
In the Telegraph this week, the former Cabinet Minister wrote that she agreed with Boris Johnson: ‘This Chequers Brexit deal should be ditched.’ Only rather than a hard Brexit, Greening wants a second referendum in its place.
Greening continued by reasserting a claim she made to BBC Radio 4: ‘the Chequers deal is now more unpopular with the British people than the poll tax was.’
Mr S must’ve missed the riots.
Mr Macron has offered a measured critique of the Chequers proposal. He said that Brexit ‘is a sovereign choice, which we must respect, but it can’t come at the expense of the European Union’s integrity.’
Mrs May’s detractors immediately piled in to exaggerate the French President’s remarks.
Ian Murray, a Labour MP and People’s Vote supporter, said that Mr Macron’s statement left Chequers ‘dead in the water’.
Tom Brake, the Lib Dem’s Brexit spokesman responded similarly: ‘It is “nul points” from Macron.’
Mr S will take their word and is happy to add him to the list.
The ERG Chair thinks that Mrs May’s Chequers plan is like an egg. Explaining the analogy to Radio 4, he said: ‘A very softly boiled egg is not a boiled egg at all.’
As a member of the cross-party Brexit committee, the North East Somerset MP visited Brussels this week to meet Mr Barnier. Rees-Mogg may hate Chequers, but he was fond of the Frenchman.
‘Mr Barnier is, as you would expect, extraordinarily charming. He and I found considerable agreement that Chequers is complete rubbish and we should chuck it and have a Canada-style free trade deal.
‘Interestingly, Eurosceptics and Monsieur Barnier are in greater agreement than Eurosceptics and the Government, or Monsieur Barnier and the Government. It’s very encouraging.’
The US President fiercely criticised Mrs May’s Chequers proposal in an interview with The Sun, and said he ‘would have done it much differently.’
Trump continued to tear apart any hope of a quiet visit to the UK: ‘I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.’
Mr S wishes the Prime Minister the best of luck.
So, there you have it: Chequers – bringing people together in anger.