The turf war between Fox and Johnson isn’t just about who’s running the Brexit Show. The less power Fox has in influencing the process, the less likely Brexit will be to actually happen, and the more regional the ultimate solution will be. The more the Foreign Office is in control, the more likely it is that we’ll be stitched up and cobbled together into some sad collection of former EU states, with little in the way of global trade deals to show for our determination to be free of the EU.
The media is also battling for position as the play enters its next stage. Murdoch surprised many by backing BREXIT in the referendum. Richard Desmond of The Express went eurosceptic ten years ago, and his newspaper has prospered by backing the right side of the EU exit debate ever since, being used by Theresa May to show The EXpress favour with this breaking story.
Richard Branson is out there, sniffing the political air, looking for potential business advantage by backing a second referendum and a reversal of BREXIT. Whenever Murdoch looks like stumbling, he’s always in there hoping he can pull inside strings and get into the big games of satellite TV, and Premier League football. He’ll trade any political deal to get higher up the greasy pole. The problem is, he’s not really that bright, and will no doubt fluff his lines. He’s not really charismatic either in his TV appearances, and needs to be doing outlandish things like ballooning to make it seem he’s more than he really is.
Boris is so happy to be landed in a senior office of state when he imagined his political career was over that he too will be easily tradeable. Euroscepticism, for him, was a flag of convenience, as was his earlier extreme loyalty to David Cameron. He now smells his interests are best served by watering BREXIT down, and going native at the Foreign & Colonial Office, which has always been the lead government department of EUisation.
Only Liam Fox has the long term staying power to push through BREXIT. His record has never wavered. No wonder he wants some leeway clear of Johnson at the Foreign Office, and some economic powers be granted to his new department. It makes sense. Fox is highly intelligent and owes nothing to birthright and Etonian connections. He is the only way Theresa May can deliver on her promises. Will she back him over Boris?
She’s making out they’re a pair of squabbling children for the sake of a bit of easy publicity, the old divide and rule trick. But she will, eventually, have to decide which way to play this one.
Fox will resign if he feels he’s being undermined, and, if he did, the event would do for May’s ‘Brexit means Brexit’ strapline and posture. The show would be over before it’s barely begun, and Parliamentary chaos with constant revolt from the hard eurosceptic core, would result.
Boris would be an easy one to knife on the other hand. Where would he go if he resigned? It’s a no brainer. The Foreign Office is due a haircut.