Number 10 are now singing from the stricken leader in the bunker ‘fight back’ play book. Arrogant macho posturing that he will fight and fight to win. Parade his diehard loyalists on the media telling us that support has never been stronger in the vain hope that it may be true. Reassure those who have sacrificed everything for their leader that laying down their political lives will be generously rewarded. Smear, threaten and bribe anyone who even suggests that only the Great Leader can save the country and the party. Bring back the war horses that propelled him to victory. And finally, distraction. The Big Dog whistle to core supporters.
That blurring in the skies followed by that splat to the ground and the flurry of fur scuttling backwards is the hallmark of the Johnson excuse for an administration. Boom! A dead cat is launched. It’s trajectory is headed towards the Mail, Express and Telegraph and the leden hosen wing of the party. Splat! It lands on Dacre’s sacrificial altar followed by second coming headlines of how the wicked BBC will lose its licence fee. Then there is a blur of grey fur as the reverse ferret does it’s familiar jig. And it goes on and on and on….boom, splat, blur of grey fur. Groundhog day without any hope of redemption.
As Grant Shapps will soon discover, it will be a very different operation from last time where his job was to persuade backbenchers that the front runner for the leadership was a winner. His job now is to persuade that Johnson deserves one more chance. That he will reform. That he will get a grip. That he will listen. That the whole culture of Downing Street and the Whips office will change. Trust me.
It is the culture that is the problem. Those who are the first to condemn workplace bullying seem to think that Westminster is exempted. Wragg is not some snowflake backbencher whose mum sent him out for a bag of sweets and ended up in Westminster. He is a serious politician and chairman of a serious select committee. He knows that if he can’t back up his allegations he will be finished. And now he is going to the police. Boom! Off flies the dead cat. Splat! ‘I know nothing of these allegations. There will be no investigation’. Rustle, Rustle, blur of fur as the reverse ferret performs his jig. ‘We will, of course, investigate’.
‘No thanks’, says Wragg, ‘I’d prefer to leave it to the experts’.
Boom! Off flies the dead cat this time to the Times. Time for a smear by former Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones. But just a moment didn’t old Jonesy want Wragg’s job and was defeated? Rustle, Rustle the reverse ferret prepares himself for the Sundays…
And there is more to come from Cummings. Don’t worry, Nadine Dorries, our very own comical Ali will take to the airwaves.
The real problem of the Johnson exit strategy is that there isn’t one. He needs a Dennis, or a Philip or even a Marina to tell him the hard truth. Will Carrie? Who does he confide in?
This could end in a face saving fudge where Johnson leaves with a modicum of dignity or it could be a full throated, blood spattered, goat bleating Halal execution, where he is dragged from Downing Street in the back of a police car. I hope that is the former.
There is only one drumbeat from all wings of the Conservative Party, ‘Get Boris Done’. And he will be.