My heart goes out to Boris Johnson who for the first time in his life is going to have to devote his time and energy to making the some of the most important decisions of his life. The most pressing is whether to change his mobile phone number which has served him so well over the last ten years.
As he presides over yet another cabinet meeting pretending to listen to that goody two shoes Sunak irritatingly outlining sensible proposals which will save the economy his mind wanders.... ‘What is it about this girly swat that they all love so much? He’s so nice it isn’t normal. I must find his weakness. It’s all Allegra’s fault she promised she could change my image so that the public will love me. Why don’t they love me? Look at all the sacrifices I have made. Look what I have achieved. The money is shit. The flat is shit and since Carrie’s ghastly makeover looks like an Algerian brothel...and that fucking dog.... and I haven’t had a decent shag since that foxy waitress..what is her number?....’
There lies the dilemma for the Dear Leader. His trusty analogue Nokia (he still slyly calls it his Nookia) given to him by his old chum Biffy Fitzpatrick (‘to keep those GCHQ Johnnies off your back old fruit’) is full of tantalising phone numbers. So many it’s difficult to remember where they are or who they are. Only the other day he was reminiscing about a pneumatic young thing he met at a trade fair when Foreign Secretary. ‘I wonder if...’ as he randomly stabbed at his Nookia key pad. ‘Ah, it’s ringing’.
‘Good afternoon Prime Minister’, trilled Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.
So that’s his first problem. This old phone is stuffed with old shags, potential shags, cronies, people he has helped out, people who have helped him out. People who may want favours. In other words it is a phone book of opportunities. And now it appears that Dom Cummings (‘ I gave him the earth and this is how the little shit repays me’), might be leaking some juicy messaging. Poor Boris bears the scars of a man whose back has been scratched raw over the years. And this is just the beginning. A leak is a long time in politics.
Now for his other dilemma. How heavy does he want to put the boot in to his old foe Cameron. Not that he really wants to, it’s just that he can. And it’s jolly good sport. It’s the Flashman in him. Sometimes he can’t help himself. But there will be a time when he becomes an ex Prime Minister. He has had to reluctantly endure the hard work, the relentless pace. And he has always been short of money. So when the Johnson circus finally pulls out of town there will be no boots big enough for him to fill. Not since Cherie Blair was invited to choose ‘one or two things’ from an expensive Melbourne department store will there be such a public display of greed. No board room will be safe from from the Johnson reach. His snout will be so deep in the corporate trough than even the pigs will complain. So he has pressed the big red Something Must Be Done button. He had to. But prays that not too much will be done.
The Cameron story isn’t really much of one. He is a throughly decent guy whose whole life has been trying to ‘do the right thing’. He was perfectly open about what his role was. And Sunak, another thoroughly decent guy, played it by the book. It will eventually, after a few mea culpas, go away.
The Dyson one, unless more emerges, isn’t really much of a story either, but has a little more traction. I’ve never cared much for his flip flops nor opportunism. One moment he threatens to pull out of Britain if we didn’t join the Euro, then threatens the same unless we have Brexit. Well, we have and he still moves his manufacturing overseas. His offer of ventilators was clearly not so altruistic after all because his whines for tax relief. A despicable little man.
But the cover of ‘we had to do anything to deal with the pandemic’, will only go so far. By all means cut corners, break a few minor rules, get the job done. The public understands that. But they will not forgive ministers, civil servants, their friends and their relatives making money out of a killer virus which has wrecked many lives. That is Johnson’s problem. There is a stench of corruption hovering over Downing Street. And it won’t go away