16 Jul 2017 at 08:41
Politics has become a Spectator sport. A balmy summer’s evening with barmy politicians hoovering up large quantities of acceptable bubbly, spitting venom and bile. There was enough malice aforethought to make it a murder scene. Except that in politics you can die a thousand deaths. What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.
At this stage I would usually write, ‘if only I was a fly on the wall….’ But I didn’t need to be. Every wonderful, excruciating and joyously embarrassing detail has been lovingly salacioused into the press. Of course, there were cameos from the arachnidian Priti Patel (God, that woman scares me) and other minor players like Loathesome, Moggy and a few Westminster Disneyland delusionists who honestly believe that one day they will be Prime Minister. Even Madame, like Banquo’s ghost, briefly ectoplasmed an appearance. But the poor thing has a horror of meeting people who are not police and fireman and a suffers from a crippling phobia of journalists. I am told that she was devastated and shed a tear. But only a small one. Not to worry though, she is off on a walking holiday with Philip. What could possibly go wrong?
But all eyes were on the two feuding families the Johnsons and the Davis mob. It would have been like watching that menacing part of Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet when the Capulets and the Montagues strut their stuff. But that’s probably too dignified. More like the rival street gangs the Sharks and the Jets.
My old chum David Davis is the master of the wind up and exudes a genuine charm that Johnson merely fabricates. He know just the right scab to pick and the put down that will send Bozo into a frenzied sulk. Firstly, Davis charmed and kissed sister Rachel. Boasting that he is wooing her back into the Conservative fold. Then he taunts that our Foreign Secretary is a failure. Bozo’s mob then threaten to ‘kick him in the bollocks’. It was all wonderfully grown up. Herogram for Tim Shipman for reporting it all.
Yet it has been a weird week. Not unlike those balloon debates we used to have at school. You had to give a reasoned debate about whom you will chuck out. May has gone but is still clinging onto the the basket with her finger tips. But at the moment it is Hammond whooshing through the air. There has been a concerted and successful effort to smear him. Firstly, the cabinet leak, from more than one source, about his ‘sexist’ remark that driving a train is so easy even women could do it. This shows a terrible lack of judgement. Would you feel comfortable with Patel, Loathesome or Greening driving a packed commuter train? I’d feel safer if Richard Hammond were at the controls.
And then there is the ‘let’s end austerity and make ourselves popular with public sector workers by chucking them some dosh,’ brigade which is apparently let by my cousin (I doubt whether she realises it) Justin Greening. This is quite bonkers. Have they all forgotten the wage inflation of the sixties and seventies that made us the Sick Man of Europe? Apparently so. And they do so at their peril. So now it is Hammond who is the dead man walking. He is the one oozing common sense. Bizarre.
But the Bozo star appears to be on the wane. Judging by Fraser Nelson’s last piece, the Speccie (or rather the splendid Andrew Neil who has an attic full of Johnsonian broken promises) has taken against him. The gist was that the shagathon that has added to the gaity of political life could become a serious turn off for voters. I am inclined to agree.
Many years ago when I was writing for Punch we had a front page predicting that Davis would one day lead the Conservative party. We were about twenty years out of date. Oh, and have you noticed his uncanny resemblance between Davis and Martin Shaw of the Professionals and Judge Deed?
May is now at her most vulnerable. MP’s are away. Mobiles will be throbbing. She has created a government of all the talons.