After seven days of spectacular chaos, what lies ahead for the UK?

Theresa May launches her leadership campaign. Credit: PA

After seven days of spectacular chaos, the fog is now starting to lift. I think it is possible to see what the way ahead might look like. Here's my best guess;

1) Theresa May will be the next Tory leader. Although it is not unheard of for the man who wields the knife to wear the crown (think Gordon Brown), I suspect Michael Gove's spectacular, sudden and brutal knifing of his former ally this morning probably does for his own leadership prospects. Even for the Tory party, the sight of this much blood might be too much to stomach.

Leader of the House of Commons, Chris Grayling. Credit: PA

2) As Theresa's campaign manager, Chris Grayling is likely to be the man in charge of Brexit.

I suspect Boris Johnson and (if he doesn't win) Michael Gove are probably finished as serious forces in modern British politics. Their behaviour seems frankly erratic. And that is putting it politely.

3) Theresa May has already said she won't trigger Article Fifty this year. I think this kicks it firmly into the long grass. That is not the same as saying we are going to stay in the EU, after all - I suspect that boat has sailed - but Theresa May is a quiet, cautious politician. My every instinct is that she will hit the brake and keep her foot on it for a very long time. As the country senses this, an uneasy calm may begin to descend.

Jean Claude Juncker. Credit: PA

4) Mr Juncker can say what he likes, our future relationship with the EU is going to be decided by one woman above all others; Angela Merkel. In their first meeting, I imagine Theresa will make an argument that goes something like this; 'I have not triggered article fifty and I have no plans to do so any time soon. We helped to build the Single Market, we are a critical part of the European economy and it makes no sense to exclude us. I will not trigger our departure until there is a clear understanding that there will be no attempt to punish us.

That said, whilst we might accept the principle of freedom of movement per se ( in a world where the GDP per capita ratios of member countries are aligned) it is clearly creating strains across the continent. This is not just a British problem. Therefore, what is required is a measure that returns control of immigration policy to national governments. You could call it an emergency brake - thus preserving the absolute principle of Freedom of Movement.

Once the economies of member countries come into GDP per capita alignment, the problem is likely to evaporate. No one is complaining about the influx of Italians into the UK.

If you, Angela, do not agree to this, the problems will spread to other populations and other countries. You know this, therefore the way ahead is clear.'

Donald Trump. Credit: PA

5) The fact that this conversation is likely to take place in private between two quiet, clever, cautious women suggests to me that there is a much higher prospect of success than might otherwise be the case (if I am sounding like an out and out feminist here, that is because each passing day makes me more of one...).

It is also possible that a third woman in the same mould may join the conversation from the White House in November. This in itself could provide a major contribution to calming everything down.

That said, the noisy entrance of a President Trump might push Angela Merkel and Theresa May closer together anyway.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Credit: PA

6) By allowing concessions within the EU, Ms Merkel would reduce the incentive for other countries to leave.

For those in the Euro, leaving is fraught with all kinds of attendant complications anyway, so there is a decent chance that the sense the centre is listening and yielding on immigration policy may take the heat out of the equation and make it easier for progress to be achieved in areas that are arguably more central to the German mission (such as proper fiscal union).

7) In this scenario (dependent on a lot of 'ifs', I grant you), one might argue that there would be, in the end, little point in us ever actually leaving the EU (if we have got what we always wanted, why leave?). But there are a few other points to consider here. It is not just that we have voted to leave (a pretty central fact for the incoming Prime Minister in itself). The truth is very few people have bothered to make a positive case for the EU in recent times. It has been repeatedly used as the scapegoat for a million issues and, true or not, it is very hard to reverse that tide of rhetoric.

If Ms May could achieve what I suspect she would want - a quiet, cautious divorce that keeps us in the Single Market, retains the City's status as the financial capital of Europe and settles the rest of the EU down - then that is likely to prove a much more attractive political option than going over the ground a second time.