Picture: Not the last Tory PM to have their premiership destroyed by Europe
Can Mrs May’s speech today accomplish what every Tory PM has failed to achieve in the last 40 years and finally unite the Tory party over Europe?
I was born a few months before Margaret Thatcher became PM, which will make me forty next year, in that time frame every Tory Prime Minister has had their premiership either ended or destroyed by European Community/Union affairs, and it seems Theresa May could soon join that list, though if there were any justice her premiership should be ended because of her poor general election campaign.
The Tory battle on the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe often resembles the Western Front during World War One, a long bloody attritional battle, little progress with needlessly high casualties, last year’s referendum felt like it was the turning point equivalent of The Second Battle of Marne. Yet it almost feels like the referendum was more like The First Battle of The Somme.
This isn’t Remain v Leave all over again, but the type of Brexit we want. Many Leavers are divided over the type of Brexit they want, rendering it ironic that many Tory leavers said that a Leave victory was the only way to unite the Tory party. If we get a truly bad Brexit deal (aka no deal) for the Tory party the first day post Brexit politically could be as bloody as the first day at Somme was for the British Empire and her army, think Black Wednesday with knobs on.
Over 170 years ago the Tories were torn asunder over free trade and tariffs, that helped contribute to them not winning a majority for nearly 30 years, it isn’t hard to envisage they are headed for a repeat. If Mrs May fails to heal the Tory divisions over the EU with this speech, then she shouldn’t be judged too harshly, it was beyond the abilities of much more talented and majority winning Prime Ministers like Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major, and David Cameron.