Concrete Progress

Coming back to work after a long summer break can be painful, but be thankful that you’re not David Davis. The man whose job probably defined the phrase ‘poisoned chalice’ was yesterday called upon to give an account of progress towards securing a deal on Brexit. With exit payment talks sequenced ahead of the new trade deal, the desire for ‘concrete progress’ on the former must be palpable. As Davis admits: this could take the full two years on its own. This discussion could, of course, be circumvented, but as Davis put to Kier Starmer, that would cost £100 billion – would he pay that? With the EU apparently running out the clock, and Davis holding to the (surely sensible) negotiating position that ‘nothing’s agreed until everything is agreed’, one wonders whether trade talks will commence within two years, never mind being concluded within that window.