After a torrid week in which she set a record for the biggest government defeat in the House of Commons, Theresa May finally decides on her Brexit plan B — therapy. She sneaks in a Harley Street back entrance and settles on the couch.
May: How does this work then?
Therapist: Well, there are probably a few important issues in your life that you find difficult to talk about, so I’ll ask questions to reveal your thinking.
May: Oh for Pete’s sake, this is just like the bloody House of Commons.
Therapist (laughing nervously): Except I’m afraid that you have to write a cheque before you leave.
May: Oh for Pete’s sake, it’s like the bloody EU.
Therapist: I should mention at the start that we shouldn’t become too emotionally close.
May: Trust me. That will not be a problem.
Therapist: Also no one, not even the cabinet or your closest advisers, will find out what we discuss here.
May: So it’s not all bad.
Therapist: Have you ever made a journey into the unconscious before?
May: Of course, I’ve visited many local Conservative associations.
Therapist: OK . . . I like to start sessions with a positive affirmation. Theresa, I like your jacket.
May: Well, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. This is the only jacket I’m wearing today, and so you either accept that I am wearing it or you reject it and I leave this room without your agreement. And, make no mistake — if Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, no one could afford a jacket. We would all freeze to death.
Therapist: I’m detecting you’re quite angry at the moment?
May: The British people were angry in 2016 and it’s our job to deliver on that. And if Jeremy Corbyn were prime minister . . .
Therapist: You mention this Jeremy a lot. Is he important to you?
May: He’s important to everyone in this country.
Therapist: Can you say more about that?
May: Not without an unamusing joke about Marxism scripted for me by the Downing Street team, no.
Therapist: Do you wish Jeremy were here now?
May: I’ve been very clear. I’d like to speak to parliamentarians on all sides, even though I hate them and entirely reject all their ideas.
Therapist: Let’s move on. I’m going to say a word and I want you to tell me what comes to mind. First one, “compromise”.
Therapist: Another one, “mistakes”.
Therapist (becoming desperate): Any dreams you’ve had recently?
May: Look, plenty of people have dreams, but until they show a workable plan to realise those dreams they are just being grossly irresponsible.
Therapist: I know a lot of your colleagues voted against your Brexit deal. How did that make you feel?
May: This isn’t about me.
Therapist: Do you ever think of . . . doing something else?
May: Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not how to behave. Look at Andy Murray — he doesn’t just give up tennis when things get tough, does he?
Therapist: Well actually, it depends on the hip replacement.
May: The hip replacement? Is that what they’re calling Corbyn now? He’s seven years older than I am!
Therapist: I’m not sure we are understanding each other.
May: I’ve come here, I’ve answered your questions. But you’ve never once said what you actually want! What about your psychological weaknesses? Have you never suffered a loss of confidence? How are you planning to get out of here?
Therapist: That’s not really how this works, Theresa —
May: Don’t you Theresa me. If I wanted to have a humiliating conversation, I would be in Brussels.
Therapist: In future sessions . . .
May: I have no intention of coming to more sessions.
Therapist: Really? That’s strange, because I’ve received a written request for us to meet regularly.
May: It’s out of the question.
Therapist: Same time next week?
May: Fine. But I have a condition.
May: Tell me who I make the cheque out to.
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