For a leader who promised ‘no running commentary’ on Britain’s negotiations with the EU, Mrs May appears to be doing her level best to contradict herself as every shade of Brexit is floated in the hope of unifying her party. What next? ‘Star-spangled Brexit’ in deference to President-elect Donald Trump?
However, after a polarising year, it would perhaps be helpful if the jingoistic rhetoric was toned down. After all, it falls to Mrs May to represent the whole country, including those who voted Remain, and such language will make it even harder for her to unite the country.
Irrespective of whether the Supreme Court decides whether Parliament or the Prime Minister triggers Article 50, and regardless of today’s non-binding Commons vote on the Government’s strategy to date, the tortuous negotiations with the EU will not be settled by soundbites. They will require measured and meaningful discussion, hence Mrs May’s reluctance to define ‘Brexit means Brexit’ when she was running for the Tory leadership. And the more slogans she uses, the more people will ask why her Ministers have not made more tangible progress on the one issue which will define Mrs May’s place in history.