An almost audible yawn emitted from political pundits across the UK during Theresa May’s latest ‘Road to Brexit’ speech. Not for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson though, who missed the address completely.
Twitter, however, was ablaze with wonder. How can one person say so much without actually saying anything at all? Also, what on Earth was the UK foreign secretary doing that was so important that he had to miss a keynote speech on relations between the EU and UK?
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Does Theresa May ever say anything? Or anything that means anything?
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) March 2, 2018
“Let’s get on with it,” were Theresa May’s final words in her ‘road to Brexit speech’… but get along with what exactly? In what should have been her most impactful speech on the customs union and the EU/UK’s future relationship, journalists and commentators were dozing off.
New Statesman deputy editor Helen Lewis perfectly encapsulated the feeling of all the journalists out there that sat down to watch the speech. She mulled over what she had done to deserve this, hitting a chord with news reporters across the UK and Europe.
Watching Theresa May talk about data protection disputes and idly wondering what it can possibly have been that I did in that past life
— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) March 2, 2018
May’s dwindling popularity (both in the public and her own party) has meant that the Conservatives could soon see a leadership contest. Some on social media were quick to point out that her speech could have been another nail in the coffin.
This @theresa_may speech now contending with Labour’s 1983 Manifesto for “longest suicide note in history” so much detail, so much vacuity
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) March 2, 2018
Others relied on GIFS to express their feelings. One particularly dramatic tweet turned out to be the perfect metaphor for Brexit negotiations, and the Road to Brexit in general.
But “let’s get on with it.” It’s nearly as if May had expected these words to rouse the people; their voices swelling together in a chorus of cheers and woops. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t… instead it had quite the opposite effect.
‘Let’s get on with it.’ All in all, that was an utterly pointless speech from @theresa_may.
— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker) March 2, 2018
What we did get out of May – somewhere in there, it was hard to hear over the monotonous droning that was the speech itself – were the five principles behind the new EU/UK relationship.
First, there must be “reciprocal and binding commitments to ensure fair and open competition.” Secondly, there must be “an arbitration mechanism” that is independent.
Thirdly, there will have to be an ongoing dialogue and consultation between the UK and European Union. Fourth, there must be an agreement on data protection. And, fifth and finally, the EU and the UK must maintain the links between their people.
Thank goodness that’s over. So on we go, down the (crumbling) Road to Brexit.
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