Watching Jon Snow present the C4 news yesterday evening was a delight. What the hell's going on here, he blustered - GDP up! and Nissan investing! - but, but, ... how can this be? It's supposed to be all doom and gloom - the government is obviously cheating!!
Jon-boy, this is war. Whatever the government did or didn't do for Nissan, there'll be many a dark deed done on the road to a successful escape from the clutches of the Commission. It gladdens the heart to see that some proper pragmatists are settling down to their three-year-long task of doing Whatever It Takes. Perhaps the wretched remainers in the ranks of the Civil Service are being brought to heel. Or side-lined. Whatever: they'll get the message if it's relentlessly reinforced at every turn. Johnson / Davis / Fox maybe up to the task after all.
The EC will get the message, too. You won't talk to us? You hold out nothing better than 'Britain must be punished'? Why then, we'll cut our deals somewhere else.
Altogether more annoying was the spectacle of Hammond studiously avoiding any sign whatsoever of pleasure at the news. He has every right to be cautious: but his sour, pessemistic line went beyond prudent management of expectations. Being charitable, he must have signed off on whatever 'deal' was done for Nissan, which is the main issue on the practical side.
But rhetoric matters, too. Churchill, who never failed to give his listeners a blunt understanding of just how tough things were going to be, also never failed to give them a vision of ultimate victory, with a credible display of his personal conviction and determination.
He wasn't much given to toleration of obstructionist attitudes, either. Get with the programme, Hammond - this is entirely do-able.