So the handbags between Boris Johnson and Liam Fox have begun sooner than most expected. Fox, predictably, is trying to grab some FCO land, claiming that he needs it in order to do his job properly (which may actually have a scintilla of truth about it), while Boris Johnson, equally predictably, is resisting all attempts to shrink his remit (against all odds, given the way that the Fox and Davis ministries have been set up).
I use the word predictably above because this is what any reasonable individual would have expected to happen if you put BoJo, David Davis and Liam Fox in a bag and then figured they would work together nicely. Which begs the question of May: what exactly was she expecting to happen when she appointed those three?
Some pundits have suggested that she wants to sabotage Brexit. Others have said she realised it was an impossible task and thought she would let the Three Stooges “own it” in order to shield herself from blame when it inevitably went tits up. Others have taken that scenario and then spun it round to suggest that she as a Remainer thought that perhaps the Leavers had some clue about the way out of this conundrum and thus appointed them all in earnest.
Meanwhile, Number 10 is still pumping out the idea that Article 50 will be triggered early 2017. Take away all the speculation about why May appointed the BoJo/Davis/Fox trio of doom and then look at what it actually means in concrete terms (basically, scenario three in the paragraph above): if we take the prime minister at her word, she will trigger a two year exit process from the European Union early next year in the hopes that those three guys manage not to totally ruin the future of the country during that time period. Uh oh.
In other words, speculation has been rife about what May’s plans actually are in relation to Brexit given that what she appears to be saying and doing (and appointing) makes no apparent sense. But what if everything she is doing is really just to be taken at face value? What if BoDavisFoxJo really are going to decide the future of the entire nation?
I think I’m going to spend the rest of the summer believing that the prime minster actually has a master plan for how we emerge from this mess relatively unscathed that does not involve trusting Boris Johnson and/or Liam Fox with anything actually important when the time comes. Time will tell whether that turns out to be delusional or not.