My favourite character in The Inbetweeners – Channel 4’s sitcom about male adolescence – is Jay: the teenage schoolboy who is forever issuing blithe, if not wholly convincing, boasts about how manly he is. “On holiday in Spain,” he declares casually, “me and my mate took a pedalo out and went to Africa.”
Nothing can shake Jay’s self-confidence. When his date fails to show up to a party, he tells his friends that she’s had to fly to Paris for a modelling job. Asked why he isn’t preparing for his exams, he explains that his teachers have banned him from revising, because it “wouldn’t be fair on the other kids”.
I was reminded of Jay this morning, as I watched David Davis being interrogated over Brexit.
Ever since his appointment as Brexit Secretary, Mr Davis has been giving airy assurances about the fanatical diligence of his efforts. Last December, he told MPs that he was “in the midst of...