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David Davis: bullish wheel-greaser or Brexit fall guy? | Politics | The Guardian
Some rightwing critics have already been publicly scathing. Vote Leave’s campaign director, Dominic Cummings, memorably described the Brexit secretary as “thick as mince, lazy as a toad, and vain as Narcissus”. Davis’s former chief of staff James Chapman also accused his boss of drunken misbehaviour in a House of Commons bar and working a three-day week. “I feel it is time to get annoyed with Mr Davis,” wrote Thatcher biographer Charles Moore recently. “For ages now, he has been flying from meeting to meeting, speaking at dinner after dinner, staying late at party after party, encouraging his bonhomous reassurance to be favourably contrasted with Mrs May’s anxious gloom.”

In private, those who have worked with Davis paint a more nuanced and sympathetic picture, while confirming the outlines of the caricature. “In meetings he is more serious and slightly more across the detail than he appears,” says a former No 10 official. “He did believe a fair amount of his own bullshit, but unlike other cabinet Brexiteers, he was in touch with objective reality.”

“Davis is what you see,” adds a senior colleague who worked for him and is one of a number of sources who confirm his fondness for a drink. “He is not stupid, but he is quite idle – a good parliamentarian and maverick in Tory terms, yet immensely difficult because he’s just got thousands of prejudices for every occasion.”

“Our political class, including officials and journalists, is coming up against a process which isn’t just about bright men who are plausible and get the broad outlines. The EU is built on a really rigid legal order. Our difficulty is when our generalism comes into contact.”

“We just can’t cope with it,” agrees the DExEU source. “We don’t have the wisdom in the system. The political class can’t cope with the complexity of it.”
UK  EU  Brexit  politics  DavisDavid  ToryParty  negotiations  DExEU  RobbinsOlly  BarnierMichel  WeyandSabine 
february 2018 by petej

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