No Drive, No Spine, Very Little Vision: Even Science Can’t Explain the Creatures That Cling to Johnson | Marine Hyde
For followers of British politics, this week was probably best understood in terms of quantum physics. For the past six months, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have explained that they cannot comment on the Partygate scandal as they await Sue Gray’s report. Then, the very day this report was released, they explained that it was in the past now and it was time to move on.
I know what you’re thinking: so WHEN?! When was the time allowed to obtain real responsibility? ! Well, scientists estimate that there was four picoseconds of liminal time on Wednesday when lawmakers breaking the law was an appropriate topic to challenge said lawmakers on. It was hoped that some challengers would be able to step into this magical moment without being dragged into a black hole, and somehow extend the moment to try and figure out what the answers were.
A version of this device was used once on an episode of Stargate, so it would probably only need a minor tweak for Westminster. But in fact, the window of opportunity – the window of “taking responsibility” – closed before it even opened. Or to put it another way: If you’ve been sitting in your metaphorical police car policing Downing Street for six months, now you’ve got shit to show for it except severe donut-induced arterial hardening. And I should probably tell you that while you’ve been waiting, like a rolled-up Krispy Kreme, the government has abandoned its obesity strategy, so… thoughts and prayers. Oh, and while you’re reading this, the prime minister has changed the ministerial code so that ministers accused of breaking it – for example him – don’t have to resign. Shitfinger strikes again! Seriously, anything he touches…
There has been a rise in the number of Tory MPs who will publicly say that a Prime Minister who breaks his own laws at a time of widespread national distress is a bit of a dealbreaker. But a fascinating number still cling to Johnson. They are not parasites, biologically speaking. They don’t have the dynamism of a flatworm, let alone the root ingenuity to me of the kind of alien you might expect to see emerging from a prime minister’s chest cavity. No, think of them more like a huge community of barnacles living under a whale. Unfortunately, the rest of us only get a clear picture of who’s on board when the whale has done something fatally unfortunate, like swimming up the Thames, or explaining why its gas-powered parting speech was more important than the lonely death of your mother. .
In any event. The things Boris Johnson says to the 1922 Committee are far more telling than what he says to the stupid old public, and on Wednesday he explained to backbenchers that Britain would not have won the Second World War if Churchill hadn’t been pissed off. This comparison just makes me imagine Churchill giving Johnson an extremely dismissive look up and down and saying, “Well, sir, you’re useless at your job. But I’ll be sober tomorrow morning. You see, Johnson made the classic mistake of comparing himself to dazzlingly competent people. Very, very daring to bring in Britain’s greatest warlord. Other figures to avoid would be the likes of iconic Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane, who has also managed to enjoy a stellar career while regularly losing out.
Downing Street pandemic officials, by contrast, oversaw a mishandled catastrophic response to Covid that resulted in the needless deaths of thousands – likely tens of thousands. The one stellar bright spot — the Vaccine Task Force — has been worked remotely by others. Why the Emotional Support Alcohol Suitcase is expected to be essential to the process of this batch has never been explained. At some point, we may just have to consider a crazed counterfactual to file away with questions like, “What if Keane’s deal with Blackburn had gone through and he never signed for United?” and “What if Hitler had won the war?” Namely: what if the Downing Street pandemic staff HAD NOT been pissed off half the time? I don’t want to go back to sci-fi quantum physics too much, but I think we’d all love a wormhole to transport us to that sunny part of the multiverse and away from this release.
The only benefit of Partygate’s fall from grace was that the need to distract from it seems to have finally forced the chancellor’s hand on the cost of living crisis. And so to hapless boyband member Rishi Sunak, who really wants to give the audience his bad boy, tax-cut conservatism, but continues to be pushed into crowd-pleasing harmonies and U-turns during the second chorus. You know the type of tariff: new support measures for households, exceptional taxes.
Still, if the past six months has taught us anything about the type of artist we’re dealing with, it’s that Rishi Sunak is too wet to robbie and quit. Reports that Sunak spent £500,000 in Treasury cash on vanity-adjacent polls and focus groups feel closer to the mark. Perhaps one of the hard truths the focus groups told him is that the previously popular Rishi Sunak franchise was all about giving people money: via furlough, or in the form of half-baked burgers. prices and so on during restaurant meals to help. No one knew who he was before all of this. Unfortunately, they now know he’s a guy who couldn’t even convince his own wife to pay him taxes, so he has to work harder than ever to be Mr. Unconservative. Nobody wants to hear what’s new.
As for how long they can put up with the prime minister’s old tunes, that remains a question with varying answers. Free for those who can afford it, very expensive for those who can’t.