Hard Brexit. Soft Brexit. And now red, white and blue Brexit.

We’ve moved from describing what will be a complex and painstaking process in terms of its texture to its colour. However, neither is particularly illuminating.   

The British Prime Minister may wish that she had stayed with the rather bland - and increasingly ridiculed - phrase of Brexit means Brexit.  Instead, she has switched to saying she wants a red, white and blue Brexit, a phrase which is no less opaque than its predecessor.

As if to raise the cliché stakes even further, the EU Chief Negotiator on Brexit - Michel Barnier - told the UK to "keep calm and negotiate". 

In his first public speech on the issue, Mr Barnier seemed to veer towards a red, white and blue Brexit himself, but his colours were more emblematic of his native French flag than any Union Jack.  

His no-nonsense press conference gave more clarity at least on where the EU stands. 

There were a lot of "no's" - no cherry picking on issues such as the single market; no to a non member country having the same rights and freedoms as EU members; no speculation about the nature of the future relationship will be between the UK and the EU.

If we have started to get a sense of what Mr Barnier does not want, we are no closer to a sense of what the UK government does want.  

Recent statements from Brexit Minister David Davis suggested that there might be a softening on the stance of paying into the EU to retain some access to the single market. 

Ditto a suggestion from some diplomats that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had suggested he did not have a problem with immigration.  

A memo carried out of Downing Street with the scrawled phrase "have its cake and eat it" led to the suggestion that this might be government policy on an EU withdrawal.

It’s hard to see though which government policy that phrase might not apply to, since it seems the ideal stance for any government to take, on any policy.

Theresa May has always said that she does not intend to have a running commentary on what the UK wants out of its exit negotiations with the EU. 

It is a logical negotiating stance. 

Machiavelli believed that nothing was more perilous or uncertain than "the introduction of a new order of things". 

The UK government faces more peril and uncertainty than most, and so playing their cards close to their chest makes sense.

But on such a crucial issue, involving so many other countries, it may have been naive to think that that would become an acceptable response in the longer term. 

The fact that the Prime Minister does not want to discuss Brexit negotiations does not mean that no one asks. 

The resultant answers, from government ministers or pieces of paper being carried out of Downing Street, are pored over for meaning in a way which is not always satisfactory.