The battle for Brexit was always a two-pronged attack, vowing to take back control of our borders and wave goodbye to the pesky immigrants polluting our otherwise prosperous shores, and to warmly welcome bendy bananas and overpowered vacuum cleaners while taking back control of our laws.
But for Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis – a stalwart of civil liberties until the bitter last – Brexit has offered yet another opportunity, allowing him to take back control of some of his time too. The gift of time has been endowed by means of train trips to and from Brussels, the journey from London St Pancras to Bruxelles-Midi taking just over a couple of hours.
That’s enough to allow for plenty of light reading, but as it turns out, Davis doesn’t do notes. On his recent visit to EU headquarters to commence the second round of Brexit talks, Davis was pictured sitting at the negotiation table briefless, which doesn’t refer to his lack of a change of underpants.
Davis didn’t need them: his tight and homespun whities were more than clean enough for a sojourn cut so staggeringly short. He wouldn’t have his trousers pulled round his ankles on this occasion: not like last month, when he was forced to capitulate to a timetable prioritising other issues over trade. Best to show your face and leave the dirty work to the experts: besides, what point sticking around when you have nothing to say?
Instead Davis’ trip to Brussels proved little more than a glorified photo opportunity, and after just three hours he left almost as empty-handed as he came. There was time enough for a quick jaunt round the Place du Luxembourg, where he gobbled waffles and mussels and pralines and gulped down beers.
Then it was back to the station, Davis already Blighty bound. He certainly does know how to exit the European Union. Another couple of hours spent playing Age of Empires, a world all of his own confined to his mobile phone. And though he was sated on some of Europe’s finest foodstuffs, he was able to make yet another meal of it, home in time for lunch.