One part of Mr Johnson's essay in particular kicked up a nice bit of fuss:
"Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology."
His reiteration of Vote Leave's infamous £350m a week figure sparked a response from Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK statistics authority:
A few things which are important have happened. The government revealed its plan for ongoing security cooperation with the EU, which surprise surprise, is to keep everything as close to the same as possible, including our continue participation in Europol and the European Arrest Warrant.
Theresa May has headed to Canada to fire up trade talks, with the intention of setting up a working group to "swiftly transition" the Canada-EU CETA trade agreement into a new Canada-UK FTA post-Brexit. Easy! This is apparently the approach we are taking with all countries with which we already have a trade deal. This is of course despite the fact that those trade deals involved 29 countries instead of 2 and mostly ignore services, and that those other countries will want to know what our ongoing relationship with the EU is before they sign, and that we cannot legally sign until we have left the EU and the single market. Oh, and also that we could stay in the EEA which would maintain all those trade deals in one swoop.
A letter organised by the CBI and signed by executives of 120 businesses with over 1 million employees has been sent to Number 10 urging a 3 year transition period and warning against a cliff edge. In an unambiguous call for progress in talks, the letter says: “Our businesses need to make decisions now about investment and employment that will affect economic growth and jobs in the future. Continuing uncertainty will adversely affect communities, employees, firms and our nations in the future.” The trouble is that this is already what the government says it is doing its best to achieve, despite its own actions making this outcome less and less likely. Whilst messaging like this certainly puts increased pressure on the government to get things moving, it is extremely unlikely to alter their approach thanks to a lack of detail on how businesses think these things might best be achieved. It is obvious that our team is devoid of reasonable ideas and thinking to this effect, and it may not be enough for us to simply say get on with it. We should tell them how to do it.
On that point, in a late twist the top official in the Department for Exiting the European Union has left his post after just one year. Compound this with the moves by Mr Johnson and Mr Gove, and it really looks like our government still doesn't know what it wants or how to achieve it, putting considerable pressure on Mrs May ahead of Friday's big speech. I suspect there are many more twists and turns to come.