It’s not just about Brexit – it’s deeper and longer-standing than that. Ironically, relations would improve if they each a bit more combative.
Its failures begins with the machinery of Government – the core civil service itself. This must be fixed.
So much of the Government’s strategy is predicated on the belief that this is impossible. But what if that’s wrong?
The longer the delay in making a decision, the longer it will take for an alternative to be ready.
When I asked freight experts at a Treasury Select Committee hearing if we still had enough time, they said: “You would have to get a hell of a wiggle on.”
In my experience of departmental life, it will take at least six months before we can judge Javid’s management.
It is too fragmented to deliver this successfully – so a senior Cabinet minister should be tasked with bringing about change.
Here are just a few of the ways that I have seen work and that government should be adopting more broadly.
We are likely to get a deal with something for everyone – a ‘softish’ Brexit with May-style immigration controls. But the longer-term offers great opportunities.
Whitehall has at times imperilled its reputation for neutrality, but there remains a positive ‘can-do’ attitude about Brexit. The Government should harness it.
“If they don’t, well, it’ll be like you and I negotiating when you’re very clear what you want and I haven’t got a clue. You’re going to win!”
“Some of these forecasts and inherently uncertain… I think it is fair to say that some of these forecasts have proven wrong in the past.”
It would allow the Prime Minister to gain support from the moderates of her party and, crucially, gain the initiative in the more centrist national debate.
It’s often suggested that the Remain wing of the Cabinet wouldn’t wear such a choice. I doubt it.
Fairly or unfairly, the pro-EU cause is already associated with elites. The arrival of the Withdrawal Bill in the Upper House will do nothing to diminish that impression.