Like a Pekinese barking at a lion Theresa May seems desperate to give the EU a kicking. Her belligerence risks herself, her party but most importantly, the UK. Why is she so intransigent?
I am beginning to wonder if it has little to do with politics, little to do with the national interest and everything to do with hurt feelings – whatever she tells herself.
While she was home secretary Theresa May hit the problem of deporting Abu Qatada, a key al Qaida supporter in the UK and wanted in Jordan for trial. However under the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) it is illegal to deport anyone for trial if there is the prospect of torture based evidence being used.
Theresa May appealed the court ruling – and lost every time. Why? Because torture based evidence is wrong.
The tabloids were in a storm, anti-EU rhetoric was ramped up and Theresa May huffed and puffed. But eventually Theresa May had to climb down. She got Jordan to agree not to use torture based evidence and Abu Qatada was deported (and acquitted).
Theresa May positioned this as a victory for her despite the horrible ECHR, while in fact she only succeeded because she climbed down and followed the ECHR ruling that torture based evidence is wrong.
Her recent actions seem to be a replay. Lots of rhetoric, posturing and expense while courting the tabloid press in order to avoid rulings that are in themselves neither mad nor onerous. Is Theresa May re-fighting her Abu Qatada battle rather than getting on with the job in hand? I think she might be.