New Tricks

A well-appointed government meeting room in Cardiff City Hall. image

(A slightly orange-tinged Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the UK, Liam Fox MP, David Davis MP, the Viceroy of Scotland David Mundell MP, various flunkies, and the leaders of the devolved governments of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland sit facing the media cameras, displaying a mixture of grimaces and coat-hanger-mouthed smiles. The photo opportunity over, the room clears slowly of photographers).

Theresa May: (Leaning back in her chair, smiling, almost purring, and smoking an imaginary cigarette, still in post-sycophantic contentment) “Good morning everyone. Welcome to the latest meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council here in the lovely setting of Wales, where we’ll discuss the great progress my government has been making with our plans for Brexit, taking back jobs for Britain, and protecting “the working people of this country’. We’ll also cover the proposals from Scotland and Wales that we’ve all had circulated.

(Nods of welcome and acknowledgement are shared around the room. David Mundell scribbles quietly in a ‘My Little Pony’ dot-to-dot sketch pad, making sure he doesn’t make eye contact with the Scottish delegation across the table.)

Nicola Sturgeon:“ Speaking for my friends and devolved government colleagues I thank you for your welcome Prime Minister. We appreciate you may still be a bit jetlagged from your visit to the United States, therefore your commitment to this meeting is appreciated, and highlights how important the views of your partner nations in the UK are to you with regards to moving on with Brexit in a manner that is not detrimental to the people of the whole of the UK.”

Theresa May: (Giggling like a weird ageing schoolgirl Tim Burton creation) “Thank you Nicki darling. That is most kind of you to say so. Yes I do tend to take what you regional administrations say seriously, don’t I. I thought it was terrible, wicked and nasty the way the Supreme Court ruled you out of having any say on my government’s final plan to put Britain first. I really did. That most definitely is a shame. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I’ve certainly learned a lot over the last few days, during my transatlantic trip, important strategies which will help me to carry on doing my job to the best of my ability for “the working people of this country”. Therefore I’ll say right now that I fully intend to commit my government, I have good people, to intensify work on the alternative proposals which Scotland and Wales have placed on the table.”

Carwyn Jones (First Minister of Wales):”That’s encouraging and good to hear Prime Minister. Can you perhaps be a bit more specific in terms of what you mean by “intensify?’

Theresa May: “Let me be very clear, By intensify I mean INTENSIFY. We’ve got to get this right for ‘the working people of this country.”

Nicola Sturgeon: “Yes, but what do you actually mean? Can you give us an insight into what parts of our proposals you will take forward? Do you accept the need for a differentiated deal on the single market, and that consideration needs to be seriously given to which enhanced powers will come back to our devolved governments post-Brexit? What are your views?”

Theresa May: (Outstretching her arms like an evangelist) “ I have very clear views on this subject, so do ‘the working people of this country. I’m going to cut through all of the red tape to get this right, like no previous Prime Minister has ever done. They’ve always got it wrong before. If it works out I see that as a good thing, not a bad thing.”

(Puzzled looks abound on the devolved side of the negotiating table. David Mundell, head down, starts colouring in his dot-to-dot drawing vigorously. There is an awkward silence for a few minutes).

Carwyn Jones: “No, I’m sorry, we’re still not with you Prime Minister. Can you perhaps break that down a bit for us?’

Theresa May: “Details, details, you people always want details. I’ve said I’ll look at your proposals and that is what I’ll do. But let me be clear, we are going to build a wall, and the French and the Germans are going to pay for it.”

(Audible gasps of horror fill the room. David Mundell, turning bright red, suddenly develops a fascination with the pattern of the room’s wallpaper).

Nicola Sturgeon: “I don’t think that you are grasping the significance of what you are saying Prime Minister. You are endangering the future of the United Kingdom. This is one of the last opportunities you may have to provide us with tangible evidence that you are taking us seriously.”

Theresa May: “You can’t threaten me Shorty. I have important friends. Go on our own. See If I care. You know you’ll need visas right? We’ll send them all back, even David Tennant. Anyway I can’t spare any longer on this meeting. I’ve got ‘the working people of this country’ to consider. Let’s just call it quits for today, tell the media it went well , and that we are making good progress. I need to get back to London to interview my new press secretary, Katie Hopkins.

(The assembled leaders of the devolved government of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland sit in silence, shaking their heads, as they gaze out of the meeting room window at the rearview of the now sun-glassed Prime Minister, surrounded by 50 dark suited bulging-oxstered heavies, as she gets into a waiting stretch limousine).

Nicola Sturgeon: (Breaking the silence) “Something has definitely changed about her. I can’t put my finger on it. Is she doing her hair differently?”

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