Ladies, gentlemen, Jackals — our own indomitable Tony Jay:
“WHEN THE SHIT GO DOWN…”
There I was, trying once again to take a bit of ‘me’ time off from ranting about the Fall of British Democracy and have an actual life doing nice things with nice people (more or less successfully, I’ve been busy) but they only go and drag me back in, don’t they? It’s just an endless calypso of “I told you so!” with these motherfudgers, and there ain’t no low where they won’t go. I’m only telling you about all this because, frankly, the current Era of Sinemanchin and the Court that Mitch Built looks pretty annoying, so you could probably do with the odd dollop of “Look at those arseholes, at least we’re not them!” to ease your fretful brows. No, no, don’t thank me, I’m here for you.
Right, where to begin?
Remember the ‘Partygate’ scandal that blew up at the arse end of last year? Flobalob Johnson’s Downing Street posse exposed via insider leaks as having held a LOT of boozy office parties during the strictest Lockdown periods, which they piously denied, only to get shown up by more leaks, repeated as necessary to inflict maximum humiliation. I know it doesn’t sound like much, not when compared to the much greater crimes they’ve committed out in the open, but something about the image of chubby-cheeked Tory totty whooping it up behind the doors of 10 Downing Street seemingly every night before necking a couple of paracetamol and fanning out each morning to solemnly warn the peons how very important it was that they obeyed the restrictions their betters were gleefully ignoring has ‘cut through’ like nothing else.
Mucho anger was seen across the land, and lo, a great plummeting there was in Tory poll ratings. Johnson himself has been lying like a scabby floor-rug all the way through the shitshow, including numerous times on the floor of the House of Commons, which is an official Resignation Level Offence, tossing whoever happened to be closest at hand under the bus and hiding behind a series of ‘independent’ inquiries, the credibility of which have crumbled like sandcastles at the slightest scrutiny. He’s cornered and desperate, leaking authority like an incontinent gerbil and with a steadily shrinking circle of Cabinet loyalists willing to sort-of defend him while also casting a gimlet eye on the bookmaker’s odds for who the next Tory Party leader will be. If it wasn’t for the horrendous damage all of this is doing to the country as a whole, it would be my absolute favourite binge-watch TV show of all time. Right up there with Mandalorian, Witcher, and Hey, Duggee.
Now, leaving aside the whole “Have you no decency, man?” fulmination about why he hasn’t resigned (because obviously, no, he hasn’t, and no, he won’t, what are you some kind of moron?) we’ve reached the bargaining stage of the process. Having invented a family member with Covid symptoms as an excuse to go into isolation for a few days, Johnson evidently spent this period shitting all over those guidelines as well, because he emerged with a pair of ‘genius’ escape strategies that were clearly cobbled together in panicky face-to-face meetings with coked-up PR consultants throwing increasingly left-field ‘mind-missiles’ around while dragging the whole thing out (a simple note saying “You’re fucked, fuck off” would cover all the bases) in order to bulk up their billable hours. Both schemes were leaked to the media ASAP, whether by Johnson’s people or by those targeting him it’s hard to say and, when you get right down to it, pretty much irrelevant. Now that the Omerta demanded of the In Group has been broken, nothing stays secret for long. They’re all terrified of being left holding the bag so as soon as anything juicy enters their eyeline it’s straight on the old jungle telegram to friendly media sources and that’s that.
What did they come up with? Well, I’m glad you asked. Brace yourselves, these schemes are so damned sharp they could bisect your imagination if you think about them too hard.
Operation ‘Big Dog’. I shit you not, that’s what they called it. The plan being to draw up lists of Tory Party staffers and civil-servants who would be instructed to zip their plump and inviting lips while Johnson, in full-on Disappointed but Stern Statesman mode, ceremoniously ladened them with all the blame for his actions and ‘accepted their resignations’ before ‘moving forward with lessons learnt”. The idea being that ‘culpability’ and ‘responsibility’ are just non-corporeal NFT type things that can be traded off to the nearest mug and forgotten about. That’s just how this business works, yeah? Well, sometimes, yes it does. When the person demanding the sacrifice has either a deep well of loyalty or an even deeper bucket of treats to dip into, sometimes people will take that bullet, confident that their savvy sacrifice will earn them brownie points and a grateful leg-up in the non-too distant future. That’s hardly the case here, though, is it? Why guzzle the tainted Kool Aid for an incompetent boob like Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson when it’s pretty clear that he’s a spent force and all the future mojo rests with those dismantling his Premiership? I bet the sharp-dressed boys from Lye, Deaneye and Faykit Public Relations Inc didn’t dwell on that possibility for too long, but when you’ve got a fool for a client…
Operation ‘Red Meat’. Because big words can confuse little minds. Loyal(ish) Ministers (all of whom not-so-secretly see themselves as already campaigning to succeed Johnson) would go forth and bombard the Tory Party’s radicalised elements (MPs, Press, Membership) with a flurry of Hard Right wet-dream policies to get them all barking mad for two more years of this… whatever it is. Home Secretary Pritti ‘Salon Kitty’ Patel, announced she’d send the Navy into the Channel to Protect Our Borders from Browns (fap-fap), Culture Minister Nadine ‘The Goon from Mills and Boon’ Dorries announced she’d freeze the BBC’s budget and end the licence fee by 2027 (fap-fat-fap-fap), Health Secretary Sajid ‘The Squeeky Sontaran’ Javid announced plans to immediately strip away every Covid protection on the books despite hundreds still dying every day (fap-fap-fap-fap-FAP-FAP-FA-BOOOOOOOOM!).
Oh yeah, that’s some good squirrel-meat, and the ever-credulous News Media gobbled it up like the finest prairie oysters, but the maw is cavernous and its appetite endless, and these vomitus vol au vents barely touched the sides before reality closed back over the scene. The Navy let it be known that they wouldn’t be patrolling the Channel, and that if they did, they wouldn’t be launching any missiles at refugee dinghies, they’d be rescuing those poor people and bringing them back to safe harbour in the UK because that’s what actual human beings should do. The pushback against Dorries’ anti-BBC shtick was immediate, wide and deep (outside of the obedient placemen at the top of the Corporation) and boiled down to “Fuck off, dimwit. Like you’re going to be calling the shots in 2027?”. And while Javid’s cynical surrender in the face of the pandemic just to curry favour with the
BrextremistCovidiot Right of the Party will have disastrous real-world effects, in the long term that’s his balls on the block for when cases and deaths skyrocket again.
And what has all this frantic dog-whistling achieved? Bugger all.
Very shortly after the launch of Operation: Let Rabid Dogs Lie, it was all in ruins again. Firstly, the whole Media-driven trial-balloon of how this signalled the first stages of a Johnsonian fight-back (cue the training-montage from Rocky IV and images of Johnson looking troubled on a toilet) was popped by a single tweet from infamous prick Dominic Cummings, the cranially malformed Russian Intelligence asset who used to be in charge of both the Vote Leave campaign and Johnson’s private office of political fuckery and who many people suspect to be the source (or maybe just frontman) for all of these insider leaks. Contrary to Johnson’s denial that he was ever aware in advance of the boozy Downing Street garden party he attended on May 20th, 2020 (the one he insists he mistakenly thought was a ‘work event’) Cummings claimed he has e-mail correspondence proving Johnson was well aware and had been warned it broke the Covid laws. Very quickly the word got around the News Media Twitterverse that there was independent corroboration of this and that Sue Grey, the shadowy civil servant currently heading up the ‘Partygate’ inquiry, would be questioning Cummings in person.
That sound you can hear still echoing around the mountaintops is Johnson’s pitiful yelp as the elastic band cutting off bloodflow between his testicles and his taint tightened another loop. The buffoon’s car-crash interview with Sky News’ Beth Rigby, where a visibly crushed Johnson blathered that “No-one told me that the Party (which wasn’t a Party, it was a work event, honest) was illegal” increasingly looks like the bubbles from a drowning man’s… uh…. mouth. He’d been banking on rollerblading across the razor thin line between Grey’s Inquiry conveniently finding that, while mistakes were undoubtedly made due to a wider culture of hard-working excess in Westminster, no clear evidence of Johnson’s deceit had passed her desk, and the ever obsequious Metropolitan Police declaring that, in the absence of evidence of clearly criminal criminality (which Grey’s inquiry isn’t actually empowered to make reference to, quelle surprise) they won’t be able to investigate the matter themselves. Cummings’s statement and his supposed evidence curbstomps that plan. We’ve already had a conga-line of Ministers trooping through the TV studios offering Johnson their total and unwavering support, but only on the understanding (wink-wink) that he hadn’t lied in Parliament (nudge-nudge), because lying there is, of course, a resignation worthy offence (say no more, say no more), thus giving the outward impression of support while simultaneously holding open the trapdoor for his inevitable plunge. Grey can either use Cummings’ evidence – in which case Johnson is proven to have committed a resignation level offence – or she ignores it – in which case Cummings just releases the e-mail, Johnson is proven to have committed a resignation level offence, and Grey loses everything she’s worked decades towards to give a moronic solipsist a few minutes of release.
Mmmmm, I wonder what’s the best route to a seat in the House of Lords?
Secondly, the noise level amongst Tory MPs in marginal seats, many of them in the northern ‘Red Wall’ constituencies (so called because the Democrats had the ‘Blue Wall’ in 2016 and our Infotainers are as lazy as yours) that went from Labour Red to Tory Blue in 2019 because they were told Corbyn would take away their precious Brexit, refused to fade away in the face of Operation: Dog’s Bollocks. Instead, and much to the amazement of court journalists with their ear horns firmly wedged up the rectums of only the most ‘important’ Government sources, the anger intensified, and rumours dribbled out of a so-called ‘Pork-Pie Coup’ (Oh, how not at all stereotypical of us Northerners. What’s next? Black MPs engaged in a Watermelon Coup?) whereby Red Wall MPs would flood the 1922 Committee (the unofficially official Trade Union for Backbench Tory MPs) with letters calling for Johnson to resign, 54 of which would trigger an automatic Vote of No Confidence. A lot of these Northern Tories are sitting on razor thin majorities and a ton of promises about a vote for the Conservative Party being not just a vote for Brexit and against Corbyn’s Commie Collective of Coloureds and Poofs, but a vote for more money from Central Government in the form of ‘Levelling Up’ funds. Sure, Tory cuts are the cause of the terrible state of many Northern towns, but that was because those people kept on stubbornly voting Labour. Vote for the Tory Party instead, they said, and you’ll get drenched by the moneyhose just like those Southern nancies.
Inevitably the combination of ‘Levelling Up’ turning out to be every bit the bullshit con-job those dirty Lefties said it was, plus the News Media turning against “that funny posh lad from off the telly”, has left these MPs sitting on powder-kegs of outraged betrayal with no halfway good message to tout in response. The decision of Johnson loyalists to tell these MPs that they owe their seats to Flobalob and so should be covering his warty behind with kisses has not gone over that well either. These MPs aren’t alone in fearing that Johnson’s unpopularity will tank their comfortable sinecures either, a lot of Tory MPs further South will be looking at the recent catastrophic collapse in the Conservative vote in the North Shropshire by-election (where a seat with a 20k + Tory majority went bye-bye) and thinking “I could lose my seat to a bloody Liberal-Democrat, how humiliating!” They’d be right, it would be, but are they going to do what they need to do about it?
Thirdly, and it’s linked to the above, one of these Red Wall MPs, a real piece of work called Christian Wakeford, just defected to Labour. Now, I’ve got plenty to say about this dollop of cold sick, but for now I’ll stick to its impact on the Johnson Premiership. In the short term it actually helped him. There’s a wide gap between the stripped-off, sweat-clad, all rolling around in front of a log fire with your old school chum internal Tory Party battles and actually jumping ship for another (not-quite as radically right-wing) Party. The shock of it, and the fear that moving against Johnson in the wake of it would be seen within their own Party and Membership as approving of Wakeford’s self-serving turncoatery, seems to have convinced quite a few angry MPs to back off from sending their letters in to the 1922 committee. But that didn’t actually solve the problem. Stymied from taking that particular course of action to release their frustrations, quite a few Tory MPs have started coming forward with accusations that they had been personally bullied and/or blackmailed by Johnson’s people and threatened by Tory whips, not just with regards to their own ambitions to become a Parliamentary Private Secretary and maybe someday rise to Ministerial-level responsibilities, but on a more cut-throat level, they either show proper loyalty to the Big Flob or they would find their constituencies starved of funds and infrastructure spending.
Now this verges on the “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here” territory, because isn’t this exactly how pork-barrel style politics has always worked? More to the point, this is exactly how Tory Governments have deliberately starved Labour-held constituencies for decades in order to force local councils to make harsh cuts that Conservative politicians then campaign against (sooooo cynical). To the legions of access journalists and court sycophants dominating our News Media this nasty misuse of public funds for partisan political advantage is just business as usual and no more surprising to them than Manchester United getting a highly dubious late penalty at Old Trafford would be to a sports journalist, but the simple fact that Tory MPs are making these accusations against a Tory Government has turned this into another major front in Großflobschland’s doomed war for survival. In response the usual suspects have been pushed in front of TV cameras to make the usual nonsense denials. No one had ever seen anything of the sort happen, they’re making it up, and an absolute peach of a statement from inside Number 10 itself that basically encapsulates the drivelling entitlement that Tories have been given to believe is their due. Essentially, there would only be an investigation into the validity of the claims if there was already evidence that they were true, which is illogical and arse-ended and entirely what you’d expect from this shower. Checkmate, rebel scum.
Except, what’s this? Rebel MPs are now saying that fuck-yeah, they’ve got evidence of bullying and blackmail in the form of secret recordings and texts. And that’s not all, former Minister Nusrat Ghani has even accused the Whips Office of arranging her sacking because other Ministers were ‘uncomfortable’ with her ‘Muslimness’, which is both utterly unsurprising and also a bit of potentially humiliating blowback for the Equality and Human Rights Commission that bluntly refused to investigate persistent charges of Islamophobia within the Tory Party on the grounds that important people get to police themselves. The usual denials were blurted out, but it was immediately apparent that this revelation had sent a cold shiver down the jellywobble spines of the Tory Inner Circle. The Chief Whip himself broke cover to insist that he was the person Ghani was talking about and her claims were totally untrue… which smacks a fair bit of protesteth too mucheth, me thinketh.
For some undecipherable reason Michael Fabricant, the seemingly fictional but actually mind bogglingly real Tory MP for Lichfield was allowed (or chose, since apparently no one is actually in charge of anything anymore) to take point on pushing back against Ghani’s claims with a series of statements accusing her of dishonourably plotting against Johnson, being ‘mediocre’ and making up the ‘lame’ reason for her sacking because ‘she doesn’t look obviously Muslim’. It’s hard to encapsulate in words just how badly Fabricant’s intervention has backfired, but try, if you will, to imagine a man who looks like Jeff Sessions’ dad fucked Andy Warhol’s biggest wig saying these things and you’re halfway there. Then it turns out Ghani told Johnson all about this last year and he just brushed her off, so that’s another wheelbarrow full of oops to add to the pile and quite possibly the trigger for a full-scale investigation of Conservative Islamophobia.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, just for once, internal Tory Party dust ups caused as much damage to all the rotten edifices of greed and corruption as they have to the country? This certainly could, and it’s all down to the breathtakingly arrogant fuckery of the walking Peter Principles running the Tory machine. Like Napoleonic generals hopped up on snuff and dreams of Imperium they’ve been force-marching their columns of conscripts from battle to battle, any grumbles drowned out by patriotic drums and threats of retaliation by cold-eyed NCOs. But when your Emperor has no clothes and every petty princeling has a secret room where they spend breathless minutes in front of a floor length mirror just staring at themselves wrapped tight in straining purple silk, the troops are pretty much bound to mutiny sooner or later. All power, all authority, rests on the degree to which “or else…” means something, and suddenly a lot of Tory MPs have decided that this new Media interest in Tory scandals has shifted the balance of power enough that “or else…” doesn’t mean shit.
It always starts with one, then three, then more, until everyone with a story to tell feels it’s safe to stand up and feel the cool wind of freedom blowing through their hair.
Another tasty little thing about all this muck getting flung about, one defence the spokespeeps from Number 10 are using is that Party Whips don’t have the authority to blackmail constituency MPs with cutting off funds, which is technically true but entirely besides the point. Whips would carry the message, and it would be sent on behalf of Prime Minister Needy McGimmeemore, but the person with his hand on the financial tap and final approval over all this would be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi ‘The Guardian thinks I’m Dishy’ Sunak, the badly constructed man-mantis hybrid who has been ever so conspicuously not anywhere to be found while Cummings and Co are laying the groundwork for his (long planned) assumption of Absolute Power. It just so happens that Sunak’s Treasury has just written off nearly four and a half billion pounds in fraudulently claimed furlough payments made by the Government
to their donors and chumsto private companies during the pandemic. That’s a fuck ton of money, gone, poof, like dust in the wind. How many school meals would that pay for? How many extra nurses? How much of anything the Tories have gleefully flayed from the twitching meatlump that is modern Britain would that little nugget of The People’s Money have covered? Nice that this little turd of incompetence and/or corruption is bobbing around in the drinking bowl just as eyes start to turn towards the methodology and decision-making process behind the Treasury’s funding (or not) of individual constituencies, isn’t it? I wonder how much of this will be weaponised against Sunak when he inevitably makes his (failed on the grounds of melanin) bid to succeed Johnson?
To be honest, although I’m a vindictive bastard, it’s all getting a bit boring and same-y now. As much as I enjoy seeing Flobalob worked over by the masked rascals of Cobra Kai it just needs to be over so we can move on to the Rise, Ruination and Resignation of the next Tory Messiah. This one’s done and dusted, impaled on the splintery post of his own lack of restraint and the whirlwind of unaccountability that has flattened centuries of painstakingly constructed filigree tradition like Godzilla doing Riverdance in a pair of Gene Simmons’ boots.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear that if it was up to them our Infotainment industry would much prefer to keep this daily percolation of misery bubbling away until the last icecap melts and the dolphins finally achieve their long-promised revenge. They love them some Flobalob, he’s a lazy journalist’s dream job and, when he’s not arranging to have them beat up, always ready to give them easy copy and a burble of words guaranteed to drive clicks. That won’t happen, of course, because they’re not making the decisions, and once the Editors send down the message from on-high they’ll all be there scrummaging around Bully Bunter’s leaking corpse and fighting to be the first to emote the line “…perhaps a certain inevitability to this most untraditional of Premierships ending with a fetish-fuelled murder/suicide pact…” into the nearest camera. Until then, though, they’re all rolling around in the shit like it’s Christmas every day, gasping over each fresh stroke of the lash and hammering their list of MP’s private phone numbers looking for the next newsworthy scoop.
In truth, what we’re seeing here is the inevitable end result of the British Establishment deciding to kick out the doors, walls and supporting beam-work of our national political superstructure in order to allow the Tory Party licence and freedom in which to assimilate the far-Right, faux-Populist, nakedly racist, kulturkampfer, anti-democratic, retrograde counter-Reformation which was formented (in this country, at least) by decades of increasingly extreme propaganda pumped into the brainfood supply by Britain’s radically Rightwing Press. The financial crisis of 2008 provided the spark that lit off a conflagration of anger amongst those who saw what little they had being at risk, and a blind panic amongst those who had taken it from them and feared being asked for it back. To deny that anger an outlet on the Left the Tories needed cover to make alliances with the social-media monsters of the rebranded National Front and their cash-rich foreign backers without being asked uncomfortable questions about it. But, as usual, tyre rims and anthrax, baby. You whittle a whistle out of frozen leper’s puss you should know that the best you’re going to get is a bad taste in your mouth. No half-measures allowed either, not with these wide-eyed paranoidicks who think the modern world is a cross between Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Kinky Boots. They wanted to see lips on tips and full eye contact or they were going to put the Tories in the same barrel as the Woke Elites of Islington Prime.
And so, there was Johnson.
What’s happening to him now is entirely due to a change in News Media coverage, itself triggered by a series of high-level leaks to the news outlets deemed least likely to bury them, itself triggered by a decision on the international donor/future employer level that Flobalob had served his purpose and should move (or be moved) aside. If it were down to our Hard Right Press alone, divided as it is between a handful of soulless billionaires all competing with each other to be this week’s least-shrivelled swinging dick, he’d be sure of his job for at least one whole term, even while being jerked hither and thither by whatever red-meat baited hook hung from today’s by-line. If it were down to the BBC alone, with its upper echelons firmly stocked with Tory loyalists, its senior journalists who have been Conservative cheerleaders since Daddy first bought them a pony, its finances always on the chopping block as hostage to tone and editorial content, he’d be safer than the punch-code to the Queen’s secret torture chambers under St Ormand’s Street Hospital. But they’re not the only game in town, and once it was plain that this remake of Humpty Dumpty was going to be a sustained barrage of escalatingly harder blows with submission the only approved endgame, they all made the strictly business decision that they had to jump on board the #pequodcruises bandwagon as a group, if with clearly differing shades of enthusiasm.
But the point needs to be made. Endlessly. This is who he was before Election 2019. This is who he was before he won the Tory Leadership race. This is who he was before he fronted the Leave campaign and made Brexit his personal oriflamme. This is who he was during two inept terms as London Mayor and afterwards as arguably the most useless Foreign Secretary Britain has ever had. The News Media could have done this to him at any time over the last two decades but they, as an incestuous body, always chose to do the exact opposite, no matter what the cost to anyone else. The Tory Party knew this, which is why they chose him as their figurehead. The UK’s problem isn’t Johnson, it’s Tories and their legions of enablers, and since those enablers installed likeminded ‘moderates’ in the cockpit of the main Opposition Party I have zero clue what to do about changing that in any major way.
But that’s probably exhaustion speaking. Every worthwhile journey begins with a single step, and it’s important to take proper pleasure in the first of those steps coming down hard and true on Flobalob’s throat.
Tomorrow might well belong to them, but for now, well, it can look after itself for a bit.