This week the background noise of uncertainty over Brexit increased to a deafening roar as Theresa May took her Chequers plan to Salzburg only to have it dismissed out of hand. While much of the press has been fuming about the way the EU27 have treated the Prime Minister, this outcome should not have been a surprise. The Chequers plan has all along been less of a workable solution to Brexit and more of a hotchpotch of ideas, intended to satisfy the demands of the Tory backbenches rather than the EU. While the tone from Barnier and Tusk has been more than a little condescending, that we still don’t seem to have a clue what we’re doing with just six months to go is utterly ridiculous.
There has been a theory all along that May has been pursuing a plan of strategic incompetence”, deliberately making as little progress as possible while all the while stringing along the over-excitable Brexiteers she has to work with in the cabinet. The end game being that she can stumble into an extended transition period under the cover of having no alternative. While this will actually be something of a win it is also a high-risk gamble.