Never a bad time for a despatch from Mr. Tony Jay:
The Brexception that obeys no rules
I’ve said this before and I’ll no doubt say it again at exhaustive – and exhausting – length via a voluminous geyser of made-up words verticastically velocitated from my dangerously bulging verbumlocium, but every day it gets just a little bit harder to find the requisite testicular fortitude to write about the blood-drenched bowel-movement that is the Conservative Government of Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
Not because it isn’t a proto-fascist regime that merges shameless greed with the kind of brazen incompetence that fertilised British military graveyards for centuries, because it is, and not because it isn’t staffed by classless morality voids hosting the cold, dead hearts of fairground lifers, because it’s that as well, and not because it isn’t funded by people whose major qualifications are bringing to the table first-hand experience of installing repressive crime syndicates at the top of collapsing nation-states plus a gajillion roubles in need of laundering, because it’s definitely that too, and saying so frequently and loudly is both honest and good for my mental health. No, it’s because every single passing moment seems to bazooka yet another great steaming log of barefaced bastardy right into the collective face of a dazed and confused populace. There’s just so much of it, and we’re not talking small portions here. Today’s United Kingdom is the 1950’s Roadside Diner of faecal feastery, where all the plates are hubcap sized, no one leaves without polishing off a jumbo-sized ‘chocolate’ milkshake, and your place in the centre booth is reserved for every single one of the early-riser, morning, mid-morning, elevenses, mid-day, brunch, lunch, matinee, post-matinee, dinner, late dinner, Mediterranean dinner, evening meal, supper and late-night bargain bucket servings. There’s literally no time to pause for breath and give anything they do the furious dismemberment it deserves because whenever you try, oh look, here comes another facecake of cynical cruelty booming down the chute and it simply … does… not… stop.
We recently had the annual Tory Party Conference, which was held, in a fairly deliberate trolling of the city’s Labour voting majority, in sunny Manchester (that’s funny, BTW) and it was, as usual, a dreary montage of boosterish mouth-flappers sprinkling culture-war chum all over their paeans to God, Queen and Country in front of mostly empty conference rooms while the vast majority of delegates were gainfully employed elsewhere snorting lines of uncut Antiguan Boom-Boom Powder off the arses of ZHC rent-boys and betting wads of public cash on the results of pit-fights between starving dogs and handcuffed Union organisers. Just an average week on the jolly for the Natural Party of Government, nothing out of the ordinary or vaguely troubling to a complicit News Media still coming down from the addictive sugar-high of the previous week’s Labour Party Conference. In advance of that gathering the haunted ventriloquist’s puppet and short-term seat-warmer known as Sir Keir ‘Is there anybody there?’ Starmer and his backroom team of overcaffeinated twitter trolls had trailed it to the Press as a make-or-break opportunity for the charisma-sink that walks like a man to finally introduce himself and his inspiring political vision to the Great British Public, but instead had mismanaged a cringemakingly inept power-play that shone a merciless spotlight on how crap they are at basic politics, then alternated between semaphoring their pathological hatred of anyone who’d actually want to be a member of the yucky old Labour Party (look at us,
RupertMister Murdoch, Sir, we don’t like dirty lefties either) with mind-numbingly boring speeches cribbed directly from Federation of British Industry press releases circa 1995. All that didn’t really matter, though, because even before Labour’s deputy-leader stood up at a fringe event and drunkenly – but accurately – called the Tory Party ‘scum’ (sales of fainting couches, clutchable pearl necklaces and daggers for back-specific stabbing quadrupled in an instant) and one of Britain’s oldest and traditionally Labour-supporting Unions disaffiliated itself from the Party in disgust at its uncoordinated lunge to the Right (because nothing breeds Unity like witch-hunts and factional purging, amirite?) the News Media already had their “Labour in Disarray” stories typed up and headed to the printers, leaving plenty of time for them to concentrate on their day job of parsing Tory Party statements for signs and portents that might hint at the ups and the downs at Clown Prince Flobalob’s Unseelie Court of Woe.
It’s a very different story when they write about the Tories. Their Conferences are much more like televised rallies or communal cross-burnings, scripted right down to the pauses for electronic applause and devoid of even the illusion of democratic input, which is just how the access journalists like it. No mussyfussy swellings of dissent to be navigated through here, just staged backslapping and lines of meaningless fluff the pundits back at the studio can cherry-pick from to pretend that this time the Nasty Party are genuinely serious about whatever populist nonsense they’re blathering on about today. While write-ups of Labour Conferences read like a mean Auntie Karen phoning in an anonymous complaint to the cops about ‘those people’ down the street, traditional reporting on Tory Conferences resembles nothing so much as Politico meets The Island of Doctor Moreau. Yes, they may arguably be a collection of horrific man-beast hybrids driven by unnatural lusts and a hunger for man-flesh, but can’t we just put that to one side for a moment and recognise how their impressive message discipline gives them an advantage in the War of Optics?
Everything about the Tories is filmed through a lubed-up lens that allows their Infotainer groupies to maintain a comfortable distance from the sharper edges of harsh reality. No context, no residual memory of things that happened a day, a week, a month or a year ago, instead everything a Tory says is treated as functionally ex nihil, a discrete bubble of words and themes floating autonomously above the mundane world it’s supposed to reference, existing safely outside of the normal channels of cause and effect and vanishing noiselessly into the ether when its mayfly utility comes to an end. Political reporting in this country is basically like a drugged up 60s cult gathering held after hours in a Soho nightclub, replete with bonged-out middle-class journalists sprawled limblessly over patchouli-scented beanbags nodding away at the Enlightened One’s stream of faux-profound absurdities, only occasionally emitting a muffled “Far out, man” as their tiny minds are blown to kaleidoscopic smithereens by the dichotomy of contradictory platitudes but somehow barely cognizant of their raised backsides being rhythmically slapped by the metronomic thrusts of kaftan-wearing men with neat moustaches and unsuspecting wives at home.
Anyway, wandering off the point there.
The Tory Conference concluded with Slobberty Flobberty himself gurning and harumpetyrumping his way through a third-rate stand-up set that had even reliably pro-Tory commentators rolling their eyes at how lazy and policy-lite it was. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is killing hundreds of people a week, shop shelves are randomly bare because supply chains are breaking down, the NHS is already in crisis mode, the Government’s signature ‘achievement’ is daily being exposed as a ticking time-bomb for the economy and Northern Irish peace, the world itself is about to hit a definitive cliff-edge in the ongoing climate change catastrofailure, but Johnson just shambled on stage and ignored and/or blatantly lied about all that gloomy bring-down jive in order to give his fans a hour of the sneering after-dinner baffleslop the Tory Party faithful crave almost as much as they do tax-breaks and acts of performative cruelty inflicted on people different to them.
Whereas you guys had Trump rallies where he’d channel the bile of a million resentful vacuum cleaner salesmen standing naked in motel parking lots at three in the morning ranting drunkenly about their bitch ex-wives and how they don’t get no respect from their kids while, back in the room they paid for with unpaid alimony, a bored hooker empties out their wallet and pockets their tubs of prescription painkillers, Flobalob is more like an elderly comedian doing a winter season at the Margate Lyceum armed with a set of Mother-in-Law jokes and cracks about the stupid NiCLANGS. He knows his audience, and he knows what they like. Some perfunctory waffle about enterprise and bringing well paid jobs to all areas of the country to pad out the routine, sure, but the bulk of it was just the time-worn litany of digs at popular Tory hate-figures dressed up in a bit of fake-Latin to put his ‘Borisworld’ spin on it. Corduroy Clad Communists, Snooty Shifty Eurocrats, Corrupt Union Bosses, Smelly Eco-Hippies, Woke Black Lesbians, on and on and on in a flobbadobbing treacle of Three Word Phrases that somehow managed to avoid saying anything very much about anything at all but left his audience satisfyingly wet about the gusset and willing to forgive him once again for the occasional act of gross corruption and ongoing national humiliation.
It must have been a very draining hour for everyone’s least favourite half-melted Pilsbury Dough-Man, because as soon as he’d dropped the mike and signed “Best Wishes, Love Boris” across a few sagging breasts he was out of there and on a plane and heading south for yet another freebee holiday at the sprawling Marbella estate of former 90’s ‘It Boi’ and celebrity/politician fraud Zac Goldsmith, failed London Mayoral candidate, recently booted Tory MP, and even more recently ennobled (by, go on, guess who, rhymes with Doris Bonson) Baron Goldsmith of Richmond, the Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment [is that even grammatical? – Ed]. Son of the execrable asset-stripping proto-Brextremist James Goldsmith and brother of Jemima ‘Poundshop Lady Di’ Goldsmith-Khan, Zac has the kind of effortlessly privileged heritage that fellow Old Etonian Johnson would turn a hedgehog inside out and wear it like a codpiece to possess, although he does have the edge in the “Rode TV Celebrity to electoral success and the Top Job” Challenge Stakes to keep him warm at night. Having realised that the febrile late-Weimar atmosphere of Tory Britain is a difficult one for a socially liberal libertarian environmentalist millionaire to prosper in, even one with a record of Islamophobic dog-whistling that must go down great guns with his occasionally Pro-Palestinian sister, Zac has settled down with his share of the family fortune to make even more lovely, lovely money alongside his unelected role as UK Minister for Lemuria and Wherever.
A stay at this Marbella estate goes for something like £25,000 a week, which is a nice little earner for a holiday pad on which he very likely doesn’t pay any Spanish tax because of the convoluted holding company/offshore investment mechanism by which Zaccy Boy owns the property, but it should raise some interesting questions in the wake of the release of the Pandora Papers. I say should, because of course, it really won’t. The British Press mostly ignored the revelations, and even the ones that didn’t have shown little to no interest in pursuing the question of who, exactly, paid for Flobalob’s week-long jolly? It certainly wasn’t him, Bully Bunter doesn’t pay for a damned thing, which would mean he either got it as a freebee from a man he recently made a lifetime Peer of the Realm so he could stay in his Government, which is very bad, or some other incredibly flush ally of Tory interests stumped up the cash, which is even worse and probably illegal. But these are Tories, so no one is going to risk their necks asking difficult questions of people who sign their cheques in Arabic or Cyrillic. Suffice it to say that a lot of Oligarchs, including Big Daddy Vladdy, have similar sized estates in this part of southern Spain, so I’m sure Flobalob didn’t lack for company around the courtyard dining table of an evening, even if he did wake every morning wishing he’d said no to the third bottle of iced vodka and wondering why he wearing make-up and a dog-collar.
One question that was raised about all this in the Media, but only in a sort of desultory “I see the Chumley-Warners are favouring red roses for their borders this season” fashion, rather than the more virile “There’s a story here and we need to break it!” manner you’d expect if these were actual journalists covering a proven liar and coward. Just why was Flobalob so eager to get out of the country after the Tory Conference? We all know he likes to get away from the hard graft of, well, anything more taxing than drinking someone else’s wine and groping somebody else’s wife, but this jaunt required an extension in the Parliamentary break that in itself drew attention to his Lord Lucan style flight from Blighty. What was going on? Was it an outraged husband with a shotgun? A window opening up in the schedule of Marbella’s top liposuction practitioner? Had he killed again? …
TO BE CONTINUED (Tomorrow, same time, same place)