The United Kingdom has more in common with Hawaii than you might think. Yesterday the fiftieth State was thrown into panic when an incompetent pressed the wrong button sending terrified Hawaiins to the nuclear shelters in fear of Armageddon. Yet barely a week beforehand the good people of Britain began running for the hills, stocking tins of canned goods and bottled water awaiting the prerecorded ‘don’t panic’ message from John Humphreys who had already boarded a private jet to take him to a secret location in Antarctica. And as the Queen was ushered into her bunker in Buckingham Palace with a rattling biscuit tin under her arm, another message crackled across the air waves.The the sound of klaxons, flashing lights, closing blast proof doors and senior civil servants running baths and reaching for razor blades echoed through COBBLERS, the briefing room where Theresa May runs the country. Strapped to a chair and surrounded by beefy men in white coats, her wild eyes dart across the room in a mixture of anger and bewilderment. A croaky voice screeches above the mayhem, which momentarily halts a mandarin in his search for a cyanide capsule in a tooth cavity. ‘And WHAT is WRONG with Chris Grayling becoming party chairman?’ Nick Timothy told me he would be an asset. Provide us with intellectual rigour, policies to unite the party and galvanise the country into voting for ME’. Just as she launches into her ‘ the country needs me! Only I can deliver us into a Brexit of milk and honey, and I will go ON and ON,’ speech, a Gavin enters the room and administers the liquid cosh, moves over to a flashing computer terminal, deletes GRAYLING and inputs Brandon Lewis. Almost immediately the riots in the streets and the looting subsides, whilst people plant roses in the barrels of the guns of the police. Crisis averted. The Humphreys plane diverts back to Heathrow and the Queen gets back to watching Jeremy Kyle.
A few months ago a friend of mine told me how after a good lunch at the Garrick he popped into the Kingsley Amis’s house for a digestif. He was shocked at the scene. The great man was surrounded by empty bottles. The room was strewn with paper thrown in every corner. In the middle sat Kingsley with a knitting needle stabbing randomly at the paper. My friend was aghast.
‘What on earth are you doing?’ He spluttered.
‘Oh, just choosing the shortlist for the Daily Mail poem of the year. Help yourself to a drink’.
One gets the sinking feeling that the thought process of this last reshuffle fiasco was not a great deal different.
As just about everything possible has been written about it, let me keep this simple. It was a bloody disaster. It’s no use briefing that the dead wood is going to be put on the fire unless you do it. It would have been far better to under play it all and emerge with strength and some degree of dignity. It has made her look weak. It has strengthened the power of the madmen. It has kept the incompetents in place to alienate the public still more. And it has brought morale on the back benches to an all time low. The usual whispers of a palace coup have started again, much earlier than they should have. Nothing will happen until a front runner has emerged. And the Gover has put his think tanks on the Number 10 lawn. Wisely, he has hinted that the race could be between Spider Boy and someone called Hinds. I must say that I have never heard of Hinds. But he seems to be bright and personable. I am just not sure that country is screaming for a former President of the Oxford Union to lead us into the modern world.
The whole purpose of the exercise was to show that Madame was in control. That the party had direction. Rejuvenation. Rebranding. At least with Anusol you know what it is meant to do.
I suspect that the role of Nick Timothy is overblown. He is not the Rasputin that some would like him to be. After all Rasputin was charismatic and had a thirteen inch penis. But like Timothy he was notoriously difficult to kill off. Writing pieces in the newspapers slagging off ministers is not a good idea. Nor putting forward policy options. It gives the impression that he is still running things from the political grave. It’s not a wise idea to have government by seance. Will someone have a word? Get him running a bank? Make him Governor of Bermuda?
But thanks to Trump and Henry Bolton with his latest squeeze, it is all yesterday’s news. For now. Please can someone get a grip? The local elections are a few weeks away. Momentum is slowly ethnically cleansing anyone with an ounce of decency from Labour and some very, very scary people are running the sweet shop. And the kids think it’s cool. God help us all.