A great deal to be desired

Poor Theresa May, I really feel for her. She’s buried neck-deep under an avalanche of deals, and only her carefully coiffed head is sticking out.

Mrs May, if she follows my advice

No one else has to handle so many of those bloody things at the same time. A casino croupier is also busy with deals, but never more than one at a time.

Perhaps a manic asset stripper may be involved in two or three simultaneously, but not more than that – even if he takes an appropriate amount of cocaine, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

English folklore talks about hitting two birds with one stone, but that proverb came into existence before Mrs May did. She’s trying to hit not two but five birds, and she doesn’t even have a stone.

Deal No. 1, with the EU, is the hardest of all for the simple reason that neither party really wants to make it. Moreover, this deal is contingent on the other four, none of which has been made yet.

Deal No. 2, with Corbyn, is one of the culprits in holding back Deal No. 1. Lacking even a semblance of parliamentary majority, Mrs May has to come to an agreement with Corbyn, but he’s dealing from the bottom of the pack.

As a price of his support, Comrade Corbyn demands that the Queen abdicate, Britain be declared a soviet socialist republic (BSSR), the ownership of all factories be transferred to the workers, all the wealth of the top five per cent of the population be repossessed, and the deal with the EU stipulate that we remain a member, but one without a vote. Also, he wants to nationalise everything, including Mr and Mrs May.

She may be inclined to accept those terms, or at least to bargain for a compromise, such as being allowed to keep Mr May privately owned. But first she must conclude the remaining deals, and none seems to be on the cards.

Deal No. 3 is with Jacob Rees-Mogg and other spoilsports in Parliament. This agreement is theoretically easier to conclude than Deal No. 1 because one party, namely Mrs May, desperately wants to do so.

Yet in practice it doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference because the kind of MPs John Major used to call ‘bastards’ simply won’t deal – certainly not on Corbyn’s terms and not even on Mrs May’s proposed compromise wherein Mr May remains privatised.

Mrs May’s partner in Deal No. 4 is the entire Tory parliamentary party that wants to negotiate the date of Mrs May’s departure from 10 Downing Street. Since her starting position is “when hell freezes over” and theirs is “before sundown”, no common ground has so far been established.

Deal No. 5 is with the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, who’re hinting they’ll fly the coop the moment Deal No. 1 is done. Their recalcitrance jeopardises the other four deals, even though Mrs May is ready to offer generous terms.

She’s prepared to move the Queen into Edinburgh Castle, all government departments to Cardiff and all law enforcement services to Belfast. She also undertakes to make Mr May switch from gin to Scotch – and to stop making unfunny jokes about the method by which Nicola Sturgeon managed to produce a baby.

But they, especially Scotland, are demanding full independence, with all their laws coming from Brussels. It’s safe to say that Deal No. 5 has also hit a snag.

All things considered, Mrs May finds herself in quite a pickle. Normally I’m quite generous with advice, but in this case I’m at a loss.

Perhaps Mrs May ought to try a little visual trick: have a portrait of Margaret Thatcher silkscreened on a brown paper bag and wear it over her head next time she tries to deal. She may be pleasantly surprised how pliant and respectful her opponents will become.

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