The management principle that in static organisations, people are promoted to their level of incompetence reveals the government’s two most inept politicians to be the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Appearing at Davos last week, Philip Hammond pitched the government into its current – conceivably terminal – Brexit crisis. Thanks to his intervention, the Chancellor’s game plan is now obvious: the softest possible Brexit. Getting away with it involves a softly, softly approach. The politics of being outside the EU but ruled by the EU as a de facto Brussels protectorate require copious doses of political Temazepam. This, one would have thought, would have come naturally to Philip Hammond. Keep the Brexit game plan under the tightest of wraps and spring it at the very last moment, when the only other option is crashing out of the EU with no deal.