First Theresa May threw a bung to the reactionary Democratic Unionist Party. Then she called on the slippery Lib Dems to vote with her government. Now May is reaching out to Labour.
May called on Tuesday for the opposition to “contribute and not just criticise”.
This cry for help signalled that debate on the Great Repeal Bill was about to begin.
This vast bundle of Brexit legislation covers just about every topic Tory MPs have ever fallen out over.
But it was also meant to be her relaunch. And it failed miserably.
May dusted off a trick she got a bit of mileage out of last year—posing as a champion of workers.
The only substance to this is the Taylor review which says little and changes less (see page 6).
Meanwhile workers across Britain are feeling the pain of her policies.
The weekend saw rumours fly around about a cabinet walkout.
The night before her speech, May’s majority shrank even further after she suspended an MP from the Tory group in parliament for racist language.
Other Tory MPs had been present when Anne Marie Morris made her now notorious offensive comments. They didn’t object at the time. But in public even their party had little choice.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rightly refused to help keep May’s government of austerity and racism in office.
He offered “to furnish you with a copy of our manifesto or better still, an early election”.
Tory MPs were furious with May. One accused May of a “lovefest” with the enemy. Others asked why she wanted ideas “from a man who tried to remove her from office” or spluttered about “useless socialism”.
For some backbench MPs, cross-party working is an appealing way to boost their careers—and try to turn back the vote to Leave the European Union (EU).
Labour right winger Chuka Umunna and former Tory minister Anna Soubry last week launched a new alliance. The Corbyn-bashing Guardian newspaper egged them on, with an editorial urging backbenchers to “work together” against a “hard Brexit”.
But Labour MPs should not be shoring up neoliberal EU institutions such as the single market, let alone throwing a lifeline to a drowning May.
Pro-Brexit and pro-EU Tories seem to hate loser May even more than they hate each other. But they hate the rest of us more still.
And with nothing to gain from a new election, they will choke down as much bile as it takes to hang on.
The only thing that could change that would be if workers started to fight back with much bigger strikes and protests.
Our challenge is to seize the day and make that happen.