Monday 8 February 2021

Brexit: Hammond and May - Totally Unforgiven

This Grauniad piece confirms all our worst suspicions about the utter uselessness of the May government, and (IMHO) Hammond in particular.  David Davis comes out very badly, too. 

I think she believed that she could park Brexit as just something we will get done: ‘It has been decided. Now let’s move on, and let me tell you about the Theresa May vision of the future’ … what the masterplan was, she didn’t know – because Nick Timothy hadn’t formulated it at that stage.” 

Declaration: this grieves me because I happen to know all these three personally - they are my exact contemporaries.  The vacuity of May came as no surprise.  Hammond was much more of a disappointment, a dismay that set in quite soon after the off, and was fully formed in twelve months.  Unless Gove has (against all the evidence thus far) in fact pulled off some remarkable, practical Brexit-related measures that have yet to materialise at the docks and ports of the UK, I reckon history will be very unkind to Hammond for his self-evident passive sabotage of what could have been several years of purposeful, relatively inexpensive preparation. 

Davis is perhaps more interesting.  Ex SAS, he is one of several identifiable special-forces archetypes.  Like all of them, he is totally self contained, self sufficient and self assured: and capable of serious application.  Unlike some he is matey, flippant, and impulsive, sometimes acting fast and without much preparation, expecting speed - plus surprise! - and ability to wing it effectively, gunslinger style, to carry the day.  There's sometimes a need for that in special forces actions: they don't always get much time to prepare.

But when you do have time (and by Heaven they did in 2016-2017), it's folly to crash in through the saloon doors and face down the other side like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.  The EC was waiting for him, fully prepared - and long-time masters of the slowing-down tactic.  What a prat.

So: a prat running the negotiations (we may discard Liam Fox utterly); Hammond, a highly intelligent saboteur; May, an empty vessel, grotesquely out of her depth but lacking the honesty to acknowledge it and disqualify herself.  What a disaster.   



Matt said...

Remind me again what Hill & Timothy robbed from the public purse for their "advice"? £140k per annum rings a bell. Bargain.

Elby the Beserk said...

Just reading Robert Tomb's excellent newish "This Sovereign Isle : Britain In and Out of Europe"; he puts the knife in hard on all of the three stooges you mention for mentions in dispatches. And indeed, into many others who spent years trying to flip the referendum result, but special mention for May & the ghastly Hammond (surely born to be a market town solicitor?), and a boot up the arse for DD.

Great read.

APL said...

"So: a prat running the negotiations (we may discard Liam Fox utterly); Hammond, a highly intelligent saboteur; May, an empty vessel, grotesquely out of her depth but lacking the honesty to acknowledge it and disqualify herself. What a disaster."

All wrapped up in the effin' Tory party.

John Miller said...

May and her cronies had a dummy run in the Home Office, so her performance as PM surprised no one. Criminal really, to let such a dummy have a go at running the country, when running you’re local baccy shop would have been a breakdown inducing challenge.

Don Cox said...

I think May thought she had been very successful at the Home Office.

Don Cox

E-K said...

It seemed like sabotage to me at the time. May wanted to do damage limitation, not Brexit.

Now Boris does Greenism on Miracle Grow.

Matt said...


I think that women politicians have a character flaw (separate to the generic any-sex politician ones) which leads them to conclude that they can do a job as well as anyone. See Jacqui Smith for another example:


"Jacqui Smith feared she was not up to being home secretary and wished she had been better trained for the role"

jim said...

They say progress is made one gravestone at a time.

As I recall Mrs May got the job because no one else wanted it and she was mug enough to take the dregs. As said UK Home Secretaries are usually rather odd characters. Able to crank a malfunctioning sausage machine without asking questions about the product. Absolutely ideal for Brexit. Any normal person would ask why the advertising said 2+2=9 when any fule noe it makes 3.

Anyway, all we have here is is a bit of blame game. That Timothy fellow was May's script writer (remember the archimandrite). Once a misleading scribbler always a misleading scribbler, he is now sucking up to Govey. Well known that projects follow the joy, enthusiasm, realisation, blame sequence.

Still, it was Boris and Govey who failed to read the contracts before signing. Not yet useful to blame/get rid of them. So pour a bit of ordure on the innocents (in the lacking understanding sense).

A few more gravestones before this mess gets sorted.

E-K said...

The cat's gradually creeping out of the sack.

"Lockdown and social distancing for years to come." from some sources.

So much for Brexit freedom !

E-K said...

First we were told it was to flatten the curve. Now the vaccine's here the death rate is likely to be much lower than the 0.04% that we had and yet that's still not good enough.

When did it become about zero Covid ?

E-K said...

Clint Eastwood walks into a house with his sawn off and says, "Who's the fella that owns this shithole ?"

EK says, "Err. That'll be me."

Still in my dressing gown at 10am. Better get a shift on.

CityUnslicker said...

you have inspired my post for today ND

Elby the Beserk said...

Not long after May became PM, was having a pint in our local post afternoon dog walk (they took me there, honest guv) and got chatting to a bloke at the bar. Turned out he'd worked at the HO under May.

His verdict. Utterly incompetent, and a dreadful ditherer.


dearieme said...


"She became a minister in the Department for Education and Employment in 1997 and was promoted to Secretary of State for Education and Skills in 2001. She was the first former comprehensive school teacher to have the position. She suddenly resigned her post in October 2002, explaining that she did not feel up to the job."

Blessed be she. When was the last time a man resigned saying that he was in over his head?