The 30th of May. That's the date Theresa needs to set her eyes to. If she lasts that long, she can overtake Gordon Brown’s premiership, and avoid claiming the 21st Century’s wooden spoon.
She'd need to get to August to make it past history’s big loser, Neville Chamberlain, and Jim Callaghan's dog-end Labour term of the late-70s. And, of course, if she makes it to January of 2028, she'll surpass Margaret Thatcher.
But yes – maybe rather keep the 30th of May in the calendar. If she manages to last out the fortnight, expect a flurry of too-little too-late announcements on all the legacy stuff her premiership has not been about. Remember when Theresa stood up at her party conference to tell the nation she would be "taking personal charge" of the housing crisis? Can anyone even recall a single hi-vis vest photo-opp in Ebbsfleet New Town? Pitiful doesn’t cover it.
In truth, the end of St Theresa is just a sideshow at this point, because somehow, yet another day of titanic drama has still failed to break the impasse. Somehow, here we are again, after all that butchery, staring at the exact same problems as yesterday morning. It’s like we’ve tried to cure constipation with a pint of Drano – and it’s eaten the patient but left the bolus.
Let’s remind ourselves of what level of drastic, unprecedented solutions fell out of the sky just yesterday. Parliament decided it wanted to "take charge" of the Brexit process. Never been done before. Not in 140 years, and never to this scale.
It was a device so extreme that Sir Oliver Letwin, the Tory MP who engineered the system of indicative votes, was being called "The Prime Minister For West Dorset". Ordinarily, a government proposes legislation, and they can only call themselves the "government" because of their ability to get laws through the house. Not anymore – Letwin determined he’d turn that mouldering old constitution upside-down.
What are we to call the person in charge of this new parliamentary majority? The Prime Prime Minister? Doesn’t have much of a ring. What about Supreme KillBot Godhead? Much more in keeping with the apocalyptic new tone. Please come in, Supreme Killbot Godhead Letwin, the Queen will see you now…
Only – hilarity ensued. MPs voted on all eight ways forward: No Deal, No Brexit, Common Market 2.0, EEA, Second Ref, Confirmatory Referendum On May’s Deal, and every single one was voted down by Parliament’s crack Kamikaze Squad. No no no no no no no no.
By 10PM, the bodies were piled-up every which way, and the Supreme Killbot Godhead’s career was over before it had even begun. He should have known better than to use the Parliamentary Kamikazes.
Now, we have not one but two broken governments lying on the floor of the Commons, no hope of a General Election in time to find a third, and the noisy ticking of a clock – an April 11th deadline, after which we tumble into European elections sure to disembowel both Labour and – most especially – the Tories.
No wonder Donald Tusk spent yesterday coming on like Hitler pre-Anschluss: "You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, the one million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union," he thundered at the EU Parliament. Yes, the EU nation must defend Britain’s ethnically EU minority against the tyranny of Westminster – we must restore order… with tanks, if necessary…
With pitch-perfect insanity, the solution, for now, is for everyone to simply carry on exactly as they were. Government A (St Theresa) will continue with its highly successful policy of trying to ram her Draft Agreement through Parliament, despite this already being ruled out-of-bounds by the Speaker.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Killbot’s Kamikaze Dictatorship will have a second go at getting their own eight deals through the House next week. There may be some shaving-down. The most unpopular packages – No Deal, No Brexit, 2nd Ref – will likely be excluded, which means some may be pinned down on their second-best options. But at what point exactly does Government B run into the same problem as Government A? That the Speaker won’t allow the same question to be put multiple times in pursuit of a different answer.
Still, having something worse than May’s Deal spelled out for them does seem to have dislodged some Brexiteer hold-outs. It got a bit lost in all the hoopla of yesterday that Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson both announced they’d back May’s Deal.
"Half a loaf is better than no bread," Rees-Mogg whimpered in his mea maxima culpa in the Daily Mail. No Bobby Sands, he. Boris, meanwhile – who on Monday had wibbled from his Daily Telegraph column that the deal was "One of the most protoplasmic displays of invertebracy since the Precambrian epoch" – quietly packed up his tent and came inside.
If 50 Tories switch sides – out of 75 rebels from last week – then the PM would need just 14 more Labour MPs than switched sides last week.
Ordinarily, this would be excellent news for the PM-In-Name-Only (PMINO). But the DUP remain out in the cold. With the sort of lazy naivety Westminster reserves for Irish politics, it was assumed that the DUP’s mouths could be stuffed with gold – bung their constituencies enough new leisure centres, sufficient Green Energy Fund slush, and all issues can be smoothed away.
That is probably true for all issues except this one. If the Backstop were triggered, the Republic of Ireland and the North would be lassoed into their own Customs Union, meaning the North would be hived off from mainland Britain and Irish unification would come a big step closer – that’s a red line drawn in blood for the DUP. Besides, with typical cunning, Jacob had inserted a little gotcha clause into his Mail piece. He would only fold if the DUP came with him: “I will not abandon the DUP.”
As ultra-ultras like Bruges Group (ISIS to the ERG's al-Qaeda) are still holding out, the net-net is that it’s still no dice. Yesterday, we were promised that the ultimate sacrifice would grant her ultimate reward – she goes, and Tories who want a Brexiteer PM in the next phase compromise, back her deal, she gets some small legacy, we all move on. But even that modest aim seemed to have evaporated by morning. Oh well, guess it’s back to nothing at all.
It would be inaccurate to the PMINO to suggest she is now a "dead woman walking". Let’s face it – she’s not even walking. She has died. She goes on. She will go on evermore. Amen.