At the end of Primary Colors, John Travolta’s fictional President-In-Waiting, Jack Stanton asks his young companion, who is on the verge of quitting his campaign, ‘What grade do I get, the lower or the higher’, in reference to his failure to pass one moral test and greater success with another. Theresa May will probably find out a flavour of the answer the Tory grassroots would give her at the Conservative Party Conference.
Of course, the publication of the Chequers agreement was met with howls of betrayal, threats of slow hand-claps and even funding strikes. However, her act of defiance following the Salzburg shambles seems to have earnt her some much-needed brownie points. One activist told The Guardian: “She’s been tough today but I don’t think she’s gone far enough. But my respect for the prime minister has grown after today. A lot of people say she doesn’t have a backbone, but I think she’s shown them wrong. She has my sympathy.”
Sympathy may not be enough to force the blue rinse brigade to take Chequers to their collective hearts, however, it is a start. Personally, I feel the Salzburg incident was something of a charade to elicit that response – I think it was nothing more than a show put on by the EU and the Maybot designed to present the Brexit In Name Only that Chequers, in reality, represents as some kind of brilliant patriotic victory. It is not as if the EU doesn’t do its best to save the leaders that best represent its interests – witness the gargantuan efforts it made and continues to make to save Angela Merkel and it’s not as if all parties involved don’t have a vested interest in hoodwinking the British public.
It is noticeable since Salzberg that the ‘Blue Wave’ Tory Brexiteer ‘insurgency’ has been even more ineffective and looking like it is flying kites in a tornado than usual. Only time will tell but for now, it looks like it may be an advantage has gone to Mrs May, at least when it comes to the internal battle within the Tory Party and she will get the higher, passing grade from the grassroots of her Party.