May goes or Brexit fails - a lesson from October 100 years ago
It is October - a good month to clear out the May-ncheviks.
Seriously, either May, Hammond et al go soon or Brexit fails.
I will make this deadly call with a comparison to the events depicted in Eisenstein's film. While it may be difficult to imagine Thatcherite Bolcheviks, of course, and the old october is the new November, it is worth looking at events of a century ago in Russia.
History may have a cerrtain logic in a hiatus between one great event and the next. Those living through these pauses may be frustrated and history students may be surprised to find months of inactivity between events we imagine must have happened only days apart.
Theresa May's provisional government must be one such example. It has provided that time for someone to make his train journey to the Finlandia Vauxhall . Maybe history needs such pauses for ideas and events to settle so that a leader can bring the true direction of the revolution into reality. In this time the forces of reaction regroup and the forces of the new must gather their ideas to form the new reality. Kornilov marches! At the end of this period one force or the other will be victorious.
May is the Kerensky of Brexit.
We are at a point where either Brexit happens or the forces of reaction quench our flame.
Such organisations as Lady Thatcher's Bruges Group sometimes feel a bit shy of talk of revolution and comparison with Lenin and Trotsky but the principles are the same: Brexit is a radical change that will take power from one lot of people and give it to another. Many Brexiteers do not understand this and only really want a cosmetic Brexit where the colour of their passport changes.
Just as Kerensky could never see through the revolution to Socialism, neither can May see through the revolution away from it. May clearly does not know what Brexit is. How could she? She certainly does not see Brexit as a revolution but as some kind of administrative process she can complete devoid of ideas and passion.
There is only one question before us today: the question of Brexit. And yet, and yet, she failed in what she called "the Brexit election" because she spoke no Brexit, her May-ncheviks were unable and unwilling to inspire the electorate to a bright, post-Brexit furture. No bread, land, peace but strong and stable - or bland. You cannot win the battle of ideas if you are unwilling to have any ideas.
She lost MPs their seats. How many councillors will fall this spring? How polite will the Tories be until they tell Theresa that "enough is enough - or rather "not enough is not enough".
Maybe more than one man is getting off that train. Sometimes the mayor of the capital, Boris - but I am getting my Russian revolutions mixed up - or Jacob. Or maybe it is a third and Mrs May has just as long as it takes the Conservative Party to work out which option saves most seats in the next local elections. Or who can make Brexit real.
May cannot achieve Brexit. This we know. This we see each week: no Brexit appears.
Kornilov is Advancing! For the EU "negotiators" an empire is at stake. If we are shy of historical comparisons with revolutions, they are not. They know what is at stake, they know what they stand to lose: power. They know it is a revolution and acta ccordingly. And they are powerful men with a firm grip. They are hard and unscruplous. When dealing with such men, as with anyone, the first moment will establish the relationship, who has the power, who does not. Who will define the shape, timetable and results of the negotiation. Like with a mugger and his victim. It happens in an instant and cannot be changed without superhuman effort and surprise.
Against such men we have sent some weepy davotchka.
They are preparing. They have the power because they have convinced our weepy davotchka that the deal is theirs to give like charity to a mendicant. She has already given away our strongest cards - militiary involvement - to an extent that is not just bad negotiation but an absolute betrayal of the Brexit idea. Mrs May cannot and will not extract Brexit from these men in Brussels.
Even when microscopic Estonia sent their delegates to the last of the Supreme Soviets, they sent them with a declaration and ideas that scared Gorbetchov and brought down the Union. Brought it to an end.
We need to send in someone else. We need to send someone who knows that Brexit will shake their world. We need to send someone who speaks for the people of our Europe. We need to send someone who will tell these men in Brussels that they can call themselves The Holy Roman Union for a thousand years if they like - but the Fourth Reich ends here!
Either May goes or Brexit fails - and will have to be won allover again.