Like many today, not least amongst the Tories' High Command, I was scratching my head at David Davis' baffling resignation from the Commons.
After it was clear that Mr Davis wasn't the victim of some lurid tabloid expose - in his neck of the woods I guess it it would be sucking the toes of a model whilst wearing a Hull City shirt - other explanations had to be considered.
Was it really a surfeit of principle? Or simply an overweening ego that drove Davis to torpedo all of the Tories' carefully constructed plans? Trying to work out what was going on, Prince Metternich's comment on the wily French statesman Talleyrand came to mind. Talleyrand had a legendary reputation across Europe for subtle signals and crafty strategies that outfoxed his opponents. On learning of his death, Metternich asked, "What does he mean by that?"
Davis, of course, ain't no Talleyrand. He's a much less complicated populist politician. He knows there's a vociferous minority of people out there who subscribe to the Daily Mail's analysis that the country is going to Hell in a handcart, and that politicians to a man and woman are venal bloodsuckers. Striking this ultimate anti-political pose he must think that his political star is going to rise.
Me, I'm not so sure. Firstly, I'm always suspicious of politicians who wave around the 13th century Magna Carta as if it is some trump card in any 21st century debate. The 1215 document, let's not forget, was a barons' charter and never meant to espouse freedom for the masses. And throughout our history, when the need arises, balances are struck between freedom and security - internment during World War Two is a recent example.
Secondly, whilst Davis trots out a familiar list of supposed monstrosities loathed by the likes of the Liberty pressure group of well-paid lawyers, and the insufferable Henry Porter in the Observer, I don't think he's got the British people with him. Eradicate the DNA database? - which has convicted scores of murderers, paedophiles and rapists who otherwise would have got off scot-free? Rip out CCTV? It would appear that Davis is seriously out of touch if he thinks that there's a mass movement to trash the cameras which have significantly reduced crime in our town centres, especially after dark. In my ward, the cry has been for more cameras, and not fewer.
It also takes a perverse genius to resign your seat on one of the few issues at the moment where the Labour Prime Minister has a commanding lead over the opposition. Little wonder, then, that David Cameron, (subconsciously quoting Yes Minister?), damned Davis' stunt as "courageous" and "personal". What does it say about the Tories' chances at the next election, for example, when the man who was Shadow Home Secretary has so little faith in his party's chances that he can't hold on for a couple of years when he would presumably be in an ideal position to repeal the 42-day limit.
Famously, another 19th century statesman, Disraeli, remarked on becoming Prime Minister that he had, "climbed to the top of the greasy pole." Davis will of course hold onto his seat. But by his rash resignation today, he has in the long run doomed himself to a slippery exit.