We were all fools. How could we have been so stupid to doubt David Davis. EU officials have been complaining for a while now that British negotiators are so unprepared, that it must surely be some sort of diplomatic trap. Now Davis has explained everything, in comprehensive detail: Brexit negotiations only look like a cockup, whereas in actual fact, the chaos is all intentional, all part of a very, very cunning plan; or what Davis would like to term, “constructive ambiguity”.
David Davis seeks to make a virtue of "constructive ambiguity", saying: "Sometimes you will find it difficult to read what we intend."
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) August 15, 2017
The BBC reported this morning that:
The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union tells the Today programme the Brexit process so far has gone “incredibly well”. He said the lack of clarity over what the government plan is intentional, calling it “constructive ambiguity”.
"Constructive ambiguity" is my solid gold, bullshit phrase of the week.
— nickyclark (@MrsNickyClark) August 15, 2017
Davis’ tune has changed quite dramatically from a couple of months back, when he lambasted Hammond for “inconsistency”, or even a few weeks ago, when he promised “certainty” throughout the negotiations, :
'Constructive ambiguity '?? Translation: 'we haven't got a clue & it can't be done & it's causing a hell's own mess of the UK.' https://t.co/Ve5sCo261i
— A C Grayling (@acgrayling) August 15, 2017
Even more bizarrely, Davis’ ‘strategy’ flies in the face of his own sage advice; as he wrote in his 1988 book, How to Turn Round a Company:
“Understanding clearly the intent of the other side is the first step to a mutually successful negotiation and quite often turns a straight win or lose style of negotiation into something more creative and mutually beneficial.”
Davis: characteristically economic with the truth.