Theresa May has come out fighting.
In a speech reminiscent of a previous PM, Gordon Brown, whom she resembles in very many dysfunctional ways, she insists she is getting on with the job. Delivering on her promises. Standing up for Britain. Everyone loves her and backs her. And only a few rebels are against her.
She might as well have added in a Scottish drone, “it’s the right thing to do.” And then stared woodenly and unconvincingly at a camera that wasn’t switched on.
After a day that has seen her lose junior and senior ministers. Have her cherished Brexit plan savaged by the very person who would be delivering it. And seen the final few letters needed to begin a leadership challenge being delivered to the chief whip, Theresa has decided she will stand firm.
Like a rock.
A big, granite, lumpen, featureless, brooding, immovable and pointless rock.
Obviously the PM has been in with her advisers. She has looked at the numbers for and against her. And decided that with some bribery and arm twisting. Some stick and carrot, that she could see of a leadership challenge.
There is no clear replacement to her. The party is split and will vote equally for Leave or Remain hopefuls. There will be many hats in the ring. Some loathed by others. Faction after faction will be stabbing and smearing their opponents in the media. She won’t face that. So she can slip through the middle on a split vote. Again. That would have been her advice. Which she accepted.
And as usual, it is poor political and practical advice. Advice from spads and schemers who see survival as a great success in its own right. Instead of the failure that simply being challenged already means she is.
If her advisers were honest with her, they would be more truthful. She has already lost. She was mortally wounded by her own terrible election campaign many, many months ago. And has only been limping on because her main rivals are divided and her official opposition is a joke.
But that does not mean she is a success. Only that others are even worse.
What the most senior and most trusted of her inner circle should be telling her is that it is over.
That if she goes now, before the challenge is official, she can go with some dignity. Can always claim she was defeated by opponents who never allowed her to put her brilliant and visionary Brexit plan to the actual test. And that she gave way only because time was so short for the Brexit deadline, and the stakes so high. That for the very good of the nation, she sacrificed herself. And they can also tell her a whole load of other untruths she can spin in her memoirs.
They should point out that if she doesn’t go now, however, she will face a challenge. Like hapless John before her, her majority isn't large enough to be certain a challenge can be seen off. And if she fails to win over her MPs, she will go down as a failed, booted out, PM.
They need to point out that glad-handing, schmoozing, backslapping and bonhomie is not on her skill set. That she will need to be able to woo the party. Individual MPs. Backbenchers. Buttering them up and being their buddy. One on one. And she is useless at that unfamiliar socialising lark.
The advice should be just how long will the contest now take? How much time will be lost. What size of a majority she thinks she needs to win by. Because just winning by one vote isn’t nearly enough. How much weaker will she be if she only got a small level of support? Enough to win, but not to lead. She already knows that 48 are definitely in the rebel camp. And those may be the bravest or most disgruntled 48. But there will be many more timid souls who will wish her well to her face. But will stab her in the back if they can do so anonymously.
And even if she survives the challenge unscathed, so what?
She still has to drive through her divided cabinet a Brexit plan so toxic she dared not mention it by name at her own conference.
A plan that is so poor and so weak she has to hide it from her own ministers.
A plan so awful she has to try and bounce it past her cabinet by not letting them read about its contents until two minutes before a vote on it. And giving them false choices to approve it or ruin the country. To agree with her or take a long walk down a driveway to humiliation.
And if she gets it through her new cabinet appointees, how does she get it past parliament?
Labour are dizzy at the prospect of defeating her over it. The SNP want their NI like own exceptions included. The liberals..are simply irrelevant.
Remoaners hate it. Leavers hate it. She has lost a remoan minister just this week. And lost two Brexit ministers today. Both saying they couldn’t begin to introduce it, it was so bad.
She lost a foreign secretary the day she tried to force the Robbins plan on everyone.
It has been roundly rejected by everyone who has read it, bar a handful of ultra loyal Mayites.
And even if, by some mathematical miracle, she got it through Parliament? So what?
The DUP who are against it, and will simply bring the entire, fragile, government down anyway.
And even if they don’t it’s such a feeble framework that the further concessions she must give to the EU will erode any lingering support the prime minister has. While allowing her opponents to jeer,that they told her so!
It’s a bad draft. From a bad Prime Minister. It fails to deliver on all the things she claims it does. And all are aware of that. Hiding the detail isn't leadership or clever politics. It’s cowardice and delusion.
Yet, like the appalling Prime Minister Brown, she seems not to realise what is most obvious to all else.
Early on in his premiership, Gordon the Mad, insisted that 42 day’s detention was “the right thing to do.” Nobody really agreed with him. But he insisted it was. He made the non issue of pretending to be tough on crime into a contest about himself. He faced down labour rebels. Demanded loyalty. Sent in his fixers and black ops to ‘persuade’ the waverers.
He spent days and nights on the telephone attempting to placate, promise and win over his own reluctant, soft on crime, lefty MPs.
It became a trial of strength. His own Hamburger Hill. A vicious fight with many casualties, for not very much at all.
In the end he used every drop of his already depleted reservoir of political capital and every ounce of his shallow stocks of good will and managed to secure a small majority for his 42 day detention bill.
At a time when he was still popular and had a Parliamentary majority Cameron or May would have killed for, he wasted all his time, effort and resources to secure a mild win on a minor matter. That was, as everyone had told him it would be, defeated in the Lords and abandoned completely soon after.
He was a bit of a laughing stock in the media. He was never able to reasonably explain quite why he had this obsession. Why his was the only possible solution to the issue. Why he ignored all reasonable advice and alternative proposals.
Or why he allowed himself to be sucked into defending an indefensible position in the first place.
It was the beginning of the end for him. And when the real threats and real problems came later on, he had few friends and little power left. He was only saved from his own ignominious booting out by his own party, by the economic catastrophe that he had so happily helped to ensure.
And as we all know he ended his political days as a sad joke. An object lesson. In appointing someone whose ambitions far exceeded their abilities.
So, Theresa. Why persist? The very, very, very best outcome is that in years to come, people will say your Chequers deal was 'Meh!'
Trust me. There won't be crowds lining streets to raise a public subscription for a statue immortalising you and your Bino.
What you will be remembered for is failing to win an election with a stonking great poll lead, with national support, against a communist whose own party wanted him to lose.
Failing to introduce any legislation of note except banning plastic straws and destroying the diesel car industry.
And by fighting a bloody rearguard, possibly igniting a civil war of succession, that fractures the Conservative party and returns the country to the grip of malign socialism that will take more time, treasure and pain to repair than any cliff edge Brexit ever could.
That's what her advisers should be telling her.
But they won't.