British Prime Minister Theresa May is entering dangerous territory after blaming members of Parliament for Brexit delays last night, stoking an already febrile atmosphere across the country and drawing comparisons with the Steve Bannon-led Trump administration.
During a speech, she blamed MPs for procrastinating on making a decision and for rejecting her widely derided deal that would make Britian poorer if it passed.
While claiming to be on the side of the people, she creates further division in a country sick to death of Brexit. Her speech was condemned by MPs and drew parallels with U.S. President Donald Trump’s own brand of populism.
David Lammy MP said:
Theresa May's attempt to put Parliament against the people on #Brexit tonight is sinister. It is the populism of Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. History will judge her brutally. Our country deserves so much better than this.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 20, 2019
Despite representing the global elite he urges his base to despise, Trump has carved himself a persona as the champion of the working man and the downtrodden. In the 2016 presidential race, he labelled his opponent “Crooked” Hillary Clinton. Before that, he sparked controversy about the birthplace of his predecessor Barack Obama, claiming he was born outside the US.
Since coming to power, he has stoked a dangerous undercurrent of white nationalism across the U.S. by refusing or delaying his condemnation of racist attacks, incarcerating the children of immigrants at the country’s southern border, and shutting down the government to get the country to fund his border wall.
The Fire Grows
With her “them and us” rhetoric, Theresa May is playing with fire. After more than 1,000 days since the EU Referendum vote, the British public have rightly had enough of Brexit.
It dominates newspaper, radio and television headlines, and has placed real-life issues like healthcare, education and the cost of living at the bottom of MPs’ agendas. It has led to deep divisions across the country, and sparked dangerous nationalist and populist attitudes.
It’s less than three years since MP Jo Cox was murdered after being stabbed and shot multiple times following a meeting with her constituents during the campaign for the EU Referendum. Murderer Thomas Mair, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2016, was reported to have shouted, “This is for Britain” during the attack. When asked his name in court, he replied, “Death to traitors. Freedom for Britain.”
Wes Streeting MP said of May’s speech:
I’ve thought long and hard before saying this, but @theresa_may knows that MPs across the House are subjected to death threats – some very credible. Her speech was incendiary and irresponsible. If any harm comes to any of us, she will have to accept her share of responsibility.
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) March 20, 2019
Sam Gyimah MP labelled the Prime Minster as “toxic:”
Resorting to the 'blame game' as the PM is doing is a low blow. Democracy loses when a PM who has set herself against the HoC then blames MPs for doing their job. Distracts from Art 50 extension, all part of her strategy to run down the clock and rule out other options. Toxic.
— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) March 20, 2019
A Little Humiliation
May now goes cap in hand to the EU to ask for an extension of the legally agreed withdrawal date of March 29. Her refusal to work across Parliament for a consensus on a deal, her obstinate attitude, and her utter lack of support from her own government and party has placed the U.K. within just eight days of a disastrous, no-deal Brexit.
As well as condemning the country to a recession and a projected nine percent drop in GDP, there’s the threat that people who need medical supplies will not get them, that the country will face food shortages, and that the Union will be shattered as Scotland launches a second attempt at independence.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.