Apparently, if you want to do a trade deal with the world’s second largest economy, a country which just happens to have the world’s largest standing army, threatening them with military action in two years’ time when your big new boat is finally ready is likely to prove counter-productive. Who’d have thought it? Not the Defence Minister for sure.
It seems that if you live on an offshore island which trades heavily with its nearest neighbours, it is highly likely that the shortest and easiest sea crossing route will be vitally important to your economy. Who’d have thought it? Not the ex-Brexit Secretary, certainly.
If a large group of countries of which you are part spends several years negotiating a close trading arrangement with another large economy, and you then decide to walk away, then that country is likely to see your now much smaller size and negotiating leverage as an opportunity to claw back some of what they had to give away when negotiating with the larger block. Who’d have thought it? Not the International Trade Secretary, who cannot understand why they’re not offering better terms rather than worse ones.
And if you want to find an alternative route to transport goods between the UK and the EU, choosing a port with no facilities and a company with no ships is apparently not the best way of going about it. Who’d have thought it? Not the Transport Secretary, who thought it was a jolly good way of helping a start-up company.
It’s easy enough to see all this as being just down to good old-fashioned incompetence, seasoned with a good dose of Anglo-British exceptionalism and a delusional belief that things can go back to the way they were when the Empire ruled the waves and the natives did as they were told. Alternatively, maybe it’s just the cumulative effect over the last two and a half years of the cabinet having been served Theresa May’s home-made jam tarts, complete with psycho-active mould.