ANALYSIS: Why tactical Trump tactfully trampled on the May withdrawal deal


My Deal
by Theresa & the Temptations.

I bring sunshine in a cloudy way
cos it’s cold outside
so it’s better if we stay
And so I say
“It’s my deal or just no way –
My Deal my deal my deal
Talkin’ ’bout May Deeeeeeealll”
Gave them so much money
beyond Brussels’ wildest dreams,
and got sod-all back
just fine words and moonbeams.
And so I pray
you just don’t care either way –
My Deal My Deal My Deal
Talkin’ ’bout May Deal oooo-whoooo
It’s my way
or no way
Ooh yeah
I got limos, money, fortune and fame (oh yes I do)
I’ve got all the riches any woman could claim (you now it’s true)
I guess you’d say
What’d I do for all this pay?
My Deal My Deal My Deal
Talkin’ ’bout May deal ooo-ooooh
Do it my way
You can get to Leave and Stay
With My Deal
Talkin’ ’bout May Deal ooo-oooh
Talkin’ ’bout May Deal ooo-oooh
Talkin’ ’bout May Deal ooo-oooh
Talkin’ ’bout May Deal ooozzzzzzzzzzzzzz


mesmile Theresa May is out to sell her capitulation. It would take someone who could sell snow to Inuits to achieve that. The last election, however, proved that our Prime Minister couldn’t sell gefilte fish in Tel Aviv. But just to ensure her doom, Donald Trump last night called her Withdrawal Agreement “a great deal for Brussels” and warned that it would adversely affect any and all UK trade deals with the US. This post attempts to explain why he did it.


I understand this morning that at least one member of the Whips’ office has already told the Cabinet Secretary Mrs May’s Withdrawal Bill stands no realistic chance of getting through Parliament. The morning papers today are full of anecdotal accounts by Tory backbenchers suggesting their Party is split down the middle over it. And the headlines are less than kind to Theresa: she is variously described as having been “mauled from all sides”, “facing a major, not narrow, defeat” and a victim of “Commons assault”; but on four pages out of seven, the lead story is her having received a kick in a very painful place from Donald Trump.

The Mail suggests that Trump has been influenced by Nigel Farage. This is flattering for Nige, but unlikely to have any truth to it. Trump is in fact yet again proving that, while his engage brain/open mouth order of play is often awry, there is very little of importance he says that hasn’t been thought through. And on this specific issue, he is once more consciously at odds with US Alt State policy.

There are a number of motives behind his intervention. Probably near the top of the list is spite.

British military intelligence has been on red alert for some three months now, after it became clear that The Donald has established to his own satisfaction that MI5 spooks were a driving force behind the attempt to smear him as a “plaything of Russian blackmail”. The President correctly assumed that, as Home Secretary, Mrs May would have been thoroughly briefed on the caper. So dumping on her “deal” from a stratospheric height is payback time.

But there are also sound strategic reasons behind his move. By nature (despite appearances at times to the contrary) Trump’s instincts are isolationist. He doesn’t want to be in Syria, and he doesn’t like spending trillions of US dollars behind NATO. In turn, he is suspicious of the EU’s obvious lust for power, and was quick to deliver a major blow to Brussels trading income by asserting that “the days of cheap EU exports to the US have gone”.

There are also personal issues beyond May and MI5. He is bored by Merkel, and doesn’t trust her brand of oil-dominated Ostpolitik. At first his notion was to create a closer bond with France under Macron, but after the Armistice Day fiasco (and some deeply ill-considered comments from the New Napoleon) he is forming the view that the leaders of this, the newest Western power bloc, have dangerous delusions of grandeur.

One can observe that “it takes one to know one”, but nevertheless it is entirely in American commercial interests to have the Europeans paying more for NATO and see the EU 27 weakened by full, abrupt UK withdrawal. The Dollar is under enough threat from Russo-Chinese and Third World Roublenimbi ambitions as it is without the Euro emerging as another potential reserve currency.

Last but not least, Donald Trump is a born negotiator with a rascal’s ability to smell fear. Like our own General Montgomery during the Second World War, he prefers to tackle enemies and rivals he has already nudged onto tilt with overwhelmingly superior clout. He did this to get the Republican Party to surrender, to get Murdoch inside the tent, to give Juncker a black eye, to prise more money out of the EU for NATO, and to get Kim Jong Un to the table. Now he’s got British trade bureaucrats and security spooks running round like headless bluebottles, and has thrown a size 14 sabot into the EU federalist tank over Brexit. Three birds with one stone isn’t bad.


The Indie led this morning by saying that May has “14 days to save her deal and her career”. As with most “i” headlines these days, it manages to be both trivial and wrong at the same time. In truth, she has eight days to sell the unsaleable, another six days to make her defeat less than ignominious – and as long as she wants after that if she loses by only a whisker. (News emerging from leaks last night suggested that, if her defeat on December 11th is only narrow, she will carry on).

Mad as it may seem, if bringing home utterly condemned bacon isn’t enough to make the Conservatives dump her, one wonders why defeat in a fortnight would. And alongside that – as yesterday’s Slogpost tried to establish – the opposition to this continued smothering of Brexit by unelected and elected alike is still woefully uncoordinated and lacking in leadership.

We are going to get just over a week of the PM repeating the same mendacities over and over again – protecting jobs, honouring the referendum, taking back control of our borders, making our own laws and all other lies that skip from her thin lips with consummate ease. This was her strategy in the 2017 Election; it didn’t work then, and today she is inestimably more unpopular.

The only thing that can get her yet another reprieve is bribery and skulduggery. That might come from several directions. I have already made clear my view that the élite has abandoned even the pretence of democracy in Britain. Tomorrow, I hope to look in more detail at the potential shape of such chicanery.