It’s the end of the first week of Theresa May’s talks with Jeremy Corbyn and the comrades. How is it going?
Not well, according to Labour, who – unsurprisingly – don’t appear that keen on giving their opponent what she wants, when they could instead play willing and deepen the crisis engulfing the Prime Minister.
Keir Starmer is telling all and sundry that the Government is not willing to change its position, or even the wording of the deal, suggesting all that is on offer are reassurances. Perhaps that’s spin, or perhaps it’s true.
It would, of course, be very unwise for the Prime Minister to start promising Starmer any of the many bad ideas which he would love to secure from her (not that unwisdom makes something impossible in this Downing Street).
But that does rather raise the question of why she opened the door to Labour in the first place. As this site expected, doing so has incurred a sizeable cost – infuriating many of her MPs, party members and voters, and running directly contrary to the entirely reasonable message that Corbyn must never be allowed near the levers of power. Nigel Adams cited her decision to work “with a Marxist who has never once in his political life put British interests first” in his resignation letter, and plenty of others either share his distaste or view the decision as a strategic blunder (or both).
Paying the political price of this decision, only to find that there appear to be no actual benefits to it – because Labour are unlikely to want to be helpful, and because their idea of helpful is neither acceptable nor desirable in the Government’s eyes – is the worst of both worlds.
The only person who has gained so far is Corbyn, who accrues a little more legitimacy, and walks a little taller, when a Tory Prime Minister comes begging for his help. And that’s bad news all round.