IF the writers of Blackadder had trademarked the phrase “cunning plan” they would be richer than royalty today. Almost as one, the Sunday politics shows were in the mood to predict the future, with everyone wondering what the Government might, or might not, have up its sleeve.

“Something big is going to happen in the next few weeks,” said Sophy Ridge. “We just don’t quite know what yet.”

Andrew Marr wondered if Number 10’s “cunning plan” was to pretend they had one.

On Sunday Politics Scotland, Gordon Brewer also asked if the Government had a “cunning plan” to circumvent the Benn Act that requires it to seek a delay to Brexit in the event of no deal.

Lots of questions, but as for answers they were harder to come by than an apology from Donald Trump. The only sure bet on Sunday mornings is that a husk of hares will be set running by the papers; said Lepus europaeus will then be chased by the TV shows; who will in turn hand the matter on to those lucky enough to be putting together Monday’s papers. Think of it as the circle of life, media-style.

Yesterday’s chief hares included John Bercow being in the running to head a caretaker government, and Boris Johnson planning to barricade himself inside Downing Street if he lost a vote of no confidence.

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Marr, wisely, turned to a voice of reason from Europe, and few come across as more level-headed than Krisjanis Karins, the Prime Minister of Latvia. Calm, reassuring, the soul of clarity, one cannot help but think that negotiations would have been in a better place now if the US-born former businessman had been in charge. But there were limits to even Mr Karins’ patience. Describing the UK Government’s proposal as a basis for negotiation, he added that if the offer turned out to be “take it or leave it” then that would be “very difficult” (translation: forget it).

Next contestant to play the speculation game with Marr was Shami Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General. As all those with a Higher in Sunday morning shows will be aware, the encounters between Marr and the Baroness are not always plain sailing. Turn to page 56 of your textbook for an account of the great squall of November 2018 (Marr tackled her on backing Labour’s Brexit stance even though she had voted Remain. “I don’t know about you, Andrew, but I’m a democrat.” Marr barked back: “Don’t try and patronise me. I’m as much a democrat as you are.” Comedy gold).

All was calm yesterday, with Ms Chakrabarti assuring viewers that there was no loophole in the Benn Act through which the PM could wriggle. Asked about arrangements to have ABJ (anyone but Jeremy) as caretaker PM, she would not be drawn. Bercow? Kenneth Clarke? “We’re now getting into almost fantasy football,” she said of the names being mooted as team manager.

If anyone was going to have some answers on Brexit it would be the man with the word in his job title, right? Wrong. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, had dropped in on his way to Amsterdam, part of a whirlwind tour of European capitals this week. Is there a cunning plan regarding the Benn Act, asked Marr, and do you know what it is? “There are various variables that may happen,” said Mr Barclay, generously. Would anyone bring some Rumsfeldian clarity to the matter?

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On Sunday Politics Scotland, Ian Blackford, SNP leader in Westminster, had a go. Like Baroness Chakrabarti, he reckoned the Benn Act was pretty watertight, dismissing Downing Street mutterings as “bluff and bluster”. “We’ve gamed out all of this,” he went on. Presenter Gordon Brewer, while acknowledging Mr Blackford was keen to stay “secret squirrel” on the opposition’s plans, pressed him further. Aside from some bluster on the MP’s own part about seizing control of the Commons agenda – as had been done to bring about the Benn Act – details were there none.

The Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine was asked if there was a cunning plan on the Government’s part or, Brewer added, even a rubbish one? Downing Street’s plans thus far, the presenter said, had turned rather “Baldricky”, ie fallen apart on contact with reality. Copyright that adjective now, Mr Brewer, it will make you a fortune.

Ah, Blackadder and Baldrick, who knows what you would have made of Brexit. You may recall (and if you do not it is on YouTube) the poignant ending to the brilliant tale of Edmund Blackadder and his trusty, if not very bright, servant.

It is 1917 and Blackadder’s company is about to go over the top. The battlefield guns fall silent. Maybe the war is over, Baldrick speculates, maybe it is peace. It is not.

Baldrick says he has a plan. A cunning and subtle one.

“As cunning as a fox who has just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?” inquires Captain Blackadder. Alas it is too late, and Blackadder’s final words ring out: “Good luck everyone.”

Before we go, brief mention in dispatches for Sophy Ridge, who went to Boris Johnson's constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip for a vox pop. “Don’t you even mention that name in front of me, that filthy piece of toerag,” said a shopper. I now declare the 2019 Brenda From Bristol Award for Plain Speaking officially open.