It’s not often in Western Europe that one gets to watch a head of government staging a live television broadcast from her official residence, carried by the country’s main TV networks, appealing directly to the people of the nation for their support and understanding while castigating their elected representatives in the national legislature for their failure to cooperate with her policies. But that was the spectacle presented late last night by Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The description of the whole affair by the international press, the Conservative Party leader alone with the cameras in a near empty room inside 10 Downing Street, journalists denied access to the event, is redolent of all sorts of political “downfall” scenes from history. The “bunker” memes almost write themselves. As for putting the blame for the Brexit debacle on Remain-sympathising MPs and others in Westminster at a time of febrile emotions and actions in the UK…
Shortly later, the political circus in London took another turn when Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, stormed out of a crisis meeting with Theresa May and the representatives of the main Opposition parties in the House of Commons upon discovering members of a breakaway faction of his party, the Independent Group, in the room. He opted instead for a short phone call with the Tory boss, while his PR spinners issued a statement attacking the government and the splitter MPs for the aborted gathering.
To put a cherry on the toxic British cake, the principal leader of the anti-European movement in Britain, Nigel Farage, has suffered the first (and no doubt, not the last) resignation from his newly launched Brexit Party. Catherine Blaiklock, an ex-member of the ideologically similar UKIP, has quit in a scandal over her dissemination of explicit far-right messages on the internet. Ironically, like her sponsor Farage, she had quit her former party because of its lurch towards fascistic and racist street-politics.
And this is the political milieu the European Union is expected to put its trust in?