WHILE it would be pushing it to say that Brexit just got interesting, the resignation of David Davis is a tasty plot twist.
The man in charge of the Department for Exiting the European Union has instead decided to exit his job, having taken Brexit-shaped umbrage at the Chequers last-chance saloon.
Last Friday’s meeting has been irresistibly compared to an Agatha Christie novel, the one where all the suspects hand over their mobile phones on arrival and are told that if they don’t agree with Miss Marple-May, they’d be given a card for a local taxi firm and told to take a long walk down the drive to the big gates at the end.
Some have summoned up And Then There We None, and the Chequers edition would certainly be a tempting watch. Who would be left standing at the end? I reckon it is another Christie classic that should grab our attention now – that little-known follow-up, And Then There Was Nonsense. Or maybe it was one of the Hercule Poirot novels, Three Act Tragedy – as renamed for Brexit as Three Hundred and 33 Act Tragedy, a thriller without an end, and not many thrills at all.
This morning’s paper-and-ink sheets were printed before this latest twist in the Tory whodunit, a psychological thriller about a tribe of political cannibals clad in boring suits. This lot take bites out of each other while chuntering about what the people voted for.
Most of the people probably can’t remember what they voted for by now. It is unlikely that many of them voted for endless chaos, backbiting and butter-knives between the shoulder blades – all enacted without getting any closer to the grand denouement where Poirot explains everything. Hercule, please use those little grey cells to untangle the endless, self-harming Brexit blood-fest.
Mind you, Poirot’s from Belgium so the Brexit-besotted Tories such as Jacob Rees-Mogg won’t listen to a word he says.
The newsprint version of the Daily Telegraph leads with “I will vote down May’s Brexit plan, warns Mogg” – a story now as stale as yesterday’s toast.
In my version of And Then There Were None, Mogg would be the first to choke on a hard-boiled Brexit egg. The Tory Brexiteer has spent two years moaning about the progress of something he desperately wanted to happen.
Over at the Brexit-bonkers Daily Express, the headline will raise a dry chuckle in Brussels – “MAY TELLS EU IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS.” Get serious? You can’t even keep hold of the man who’s meant to be in charge.
Mogg and the other leavers are wrapped in a hollow fantasy in which everything would he perfect if only we just went for a hard, Europe-booting Brexit – without ever explaining how that would work, beyond gin-fumed fantasies about breaking free. Details are thinner on the ground than the hairs plastered on Poirot’s skull.
Davis sent Mrs Maybe a tear-stained letter, saying he would not be a “reluctant conscript” to the plan agreed at Chequers. He said the plan was “certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense”.
The famous board game Cluedo has more than a passing similarity to an Agatha Christie novel. The game is sometimes released in new versions. The latest one is the Brexit edition, marketed under a new product name: Cluelessdo.
I am not exactly a fan of Miss Marple-May, but it is possible to feel sorry for her at times. She and her headache-racked officials spent months trying to come up with a compromise that could move Brexit forwards – only for the Brexiteers to denounce the draft as a betrayal.
If only this were a locked-room mystery, then we could leave them all in there to play out this endless Tory drama.