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Opinion: Theresa May's toxic Brexit legacy

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Rob Mudge
June 7, 2019

Don't be fooled by the tears she shed. Prime Minister Theresa May stumbled her way through a disjointed and dysfunctional Brexit process and has left the UK in a shocking state of paralysis, writes Rob Mudge.

Theresa May dancing at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham
Image: Getty Images/J.J. Mitchell

And so the Maybot dances off into whatever the future holds for her. The future of her country, which she professes to love, is even more nebulous, if not downright sinister thanks to her confusing, divisive and deceitful Brexit stance.

But it wasn't just her delusional belief in thinking she could deliver "what's best for the country." It was the way in which she went about selling out the country, both in Brussels and in the House of Commons. They say that appearances can be deceiving but her public persona, which came across as cold and stiff, and the impression of constantly looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights, did not exactly endear her to an increasingly divided and polarized country.

Read moreOpinion: Brexit sinks Theresa May's UK prime ministership

And I, for one, have little faith in someone whose "naughty" confession was to run through fields of wheat as a child.

DW editor Rob Mudge
DW's Rob Mudge

A prime ministerial fallacy

In one fell swoop she not only sealed her own fate but arguably that of generations when she declared that "no deal is better than a bad deal." At best, it showed complete irresponsibility. At worst, her attempt to use her prime ministerial authority to validate that fallacy is inexcusable.

As a Brit living and working in Germany, I don't have the misfortune of waking up every day with a sinking feeling in a country that is, er, sinking. But I was in London for the first People's Vote march last October and experienced the anger, desperation but also resolve of hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, who were putting up a peaceful fight to try and prevent their and my country from disappearing into the vortex of a black hole.

May — and, lest we forget, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who matches May in staggering ineptitude — chose to ignore the will of the people. It didn't fit in with their version of the will of the people — that is of those who voted in 2016 to leave the EU. But the past three years have seen a discernible shift in perception and mood as a result of May's disastrous and self-delusional handling of Brexit. Given the choice today, many of those leavers would vote to remain.

Reap what they have sown

Announcing her farewell, May said she was proud to have served her country. I'm not sure what service she was referring to. Her disservice has been to leave the country nastier and more polarized than ever. A country that has become almost impossible to govern.

Now that she has some time on her hands, May may wish to seek out her predecessor, David Cameron, whose mess she inherited and somehow managed to take to the next level of incompetence, and join him in the near obscurity of his garden shed to discuss the merits or otherwise of leading a country into ruin.

Read moreOpinion: What happened to Brexit architect David Cameron?

Not that she, or Cameron, will have to reap what they have sown. May's footnote in history is assured as one of the worst prime ministers the UK has seen — and that's saying something given the track records of some of her predecessors. Instead, it will be left to the next prime minister to try and salvage a country that has been dragged to the dark depths or to plunge it still further into misery.

And now, after my preceding ruminations on the Dancing Queen, I'm going to throw a spanner in the works: As I type these words, I have to confess that I can't shake off an urge to shout "all is forgiven, please come back" as I run through the various permutations and contemplate the worst possible option to replace her. You're right, it doesn't bear thinking about.

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