Theresa May isn’t having a great week. For instance, it’s only Tuesday, and she’s already spent several interminable, highly public seconds locked in her car while Angela Merkel waited patiently to welcome her.
For context: May’s week began with her announcement that she would delay putting her Brexit proposal before Parliament for a vote, which the New York Times described as “a humiliating retreat that left the country’s economic and political future uncertain, and revealed her tenuous hold on power.” There is real risk of her facing a no-confidence vote—if her party can scrounge up somebody to replace her with. In the wake of the announcement, the House of Commons took its own turn toward the farcical, as Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle made a symbolic grab for the chamber’s, uh, ceremonial mace. The Times recounted:
As the lawmaker approached the large ornamental club in the middle of Britain’s House of Commons on Monday night, his fellows chattered in the benches. When he hoisted it up, a clamor erupted: “Disgrace,” “Expel him,” “No!”
But when he turned and tried to walk out with the ceremonial mace, John Bercow, the speaker of the House, said, “Order. Put it back. No, no.”
At the exit, a white-haired woman emerged to grab the scepter from the offending member of Parliament, Lloyd Russell-Moyle. He gave it up without a fight, and she ended the brief rebellion in Parliament, an abortive heist that reflected the current chaos in Britain’s government, where confusion — about policy, authority and a mace — has in recent days reigned.
The video is absolutely essential view, just so you can hear the speaker of the House saying, “No, no. No, no. No, no,” like somebody trying to push his cat away from his breakfast sandwich.
So basically, May has to go slinking back to EU leaders like Merkel and demand they offer Britain better terms, despite the fact that Britain is in the negotiating position of somebody locked outside their apartment at 3 a.m., stark naked, in mid-January. That’s what she was doing meeting with Merkel—attempting to play hardball. Looks like that’s going just great!