MANSION HOUSE SPEECH: I’ll Drink To That!
She appeared with a chain around her neck, literally and metaphorically.
Rising to her feet, she began to repeat the parts of her Lancaster speech that were acclaimed just eighteen months ago when she became Prime Minister. Except it was delivered this time with no enthusiasm or conviction, frankly she sounded bored by her own words and for a start, that was all that kept me interested.
So she has concerns over the first draft. What was in this, what was she concerned about? We have no idea. Vague and concealing I wondered how she would actually get through the rest of the speech. I was gripped.
What came next I wasn’t expecting, this grey, pasty looking woman didn’t mince her words or bother with any more rhetoric and dreams conceding that ‘this is a negotiation and neither of us can get exactly what we want.’
It came clear to me that this was not a message to pacify the Labour Party, gather support, whip cabinet or any other behind-the-scenes motive, the message I got was this is a badly supported and badly presented aging woman actually doing her best at what was revealed throughout the course of the speech to be a very complex job that perhaps none of us had fully acknowledged. The level of detail and her critical analysis, or her advisors critical analysis of the situation was strong and comprehensive.
Admittedly she could have made this speech very electorate friendly but this wasn’t her target audience, this was a hardline politics speech with a hardline message. It wasn’t dumbed down for the man on the clapham omnibus, this was the facts, undressed. Thankfully she wasn’t.
Yes we know Parliament will remain sovereign and if Brexit falls through it won’t be her fault alone. I was surprised to hear ‘The Belfast Agreement at the heart of our approach’, The what? Why didn’t she call it the Good Friday Agreement? Maybe she doesn’t think it’s all that good.
No hard border and no customs border down the Irish Sea. Sounds good to me.
Clearly stating ‘We are leaving the single market’ and cleverly pointed out that ‘every free market agreement has varying levels of access’ and if this is cherry picking then ‘all trade agreements are cherry picking’, hinting at some of what has been said behind closed doors.
‘The world is watching’ she proclaimed. Yes, we are. I wonder how many in the world realised ‘our future partnership’ was written all over Russia on the map behind her.
‘We have a shared interest in getting this right so let’s get on with it.’
I’ll drink to that.