I don’t often give Boris Johnson any credit, but today I doff my cap. Not because he sacked Cain and Cummings, but because of the reason. The full frontal, kick in the bollocks, the cardboard box walk of shame normally reserved for the office sex pest or a sticky finger in the corporate till was a deliberate humiliation for Dom. And as for that hopeless waste of space chicken boy Cain who is to communications what King Herod was to babysitting, don’t let us shed a tear. The fact that they were sacked and paraded in sack cloth and ashes, not for their arrogance, their entitlement, their incompetence, their appalling bellendery that has trashed the Conservative brand almost beyond repair and plunged the government into terminal crisis, but because they briefed against the woman he loved. Good on you Boris.
Carrie Symonds has more political nous than our Prime Minister will ever have. She understands comms. She gets Parliament. She has a feel for politics. She has empathy. Time for a job swap. I know that is a really stupid thing to say because it could nor should ever happen. But her courage and savvy should provide little glow of hope into the gothic gloom that engulfs the Conservative party
No doubt Cummings and Cain will wreak their revenge in the Sundays. Then a book or two. Dom will no doubt join Steve Hilton, that other Tory wrecker loon with a power complex to think tankerdom in California. And what about chicken boy? His USP is blowing the lid off Johnson’s Downing Street. And that’s about it. Nobody in their right mind would employ him has head of comms or anything else. Maybe he’ll be given a graveyard shift on Talk Radio or LBC. For a while.
You Johnson, you sad, hopeless husk of humanity, how are you going to retrieve it all? You haven’t a clue have you? The answer is obvious. Make Allegra Stratton director of comms and get a grown up to tell you when you are acting like a twat. Which is most of the time. And you need someone to give you an ism, more than back-of-fag-packism. But who is the greybeard to be? Well, it has to be someone who is liked by all sides of the party who can charm back benchers. Who can sniff out trouble before it happens. Someone who believes in consensus. Who is collegiate. Who is without ambition. Someone who can say to Steve Baker, ‘well Steve, what a brilliant idea’, without collapsing into hysterical laughter.
It’s the lack of ambition problem that is the problem. It nearly always will be. I have an idea which I hope will not wreck his career.
So who is it who has the skill set to ‘get Brexit done’? Who understands what makes the party tick and backbenchers purr? Who is not tainted by Cummings, Cain and the snake wrestlers at the heart of government? Who is a big beast who you can trust on the media not to leave hostages to fortune and not be a lickspittled toady? I’ll tell you who. Brandon Lewis. Former chairman of the party, minister of state at the Home Office and who was breathtakingly honest over the breaking of international law. Make him deputy prime minister with a roving brief. He can restore order and credibility to the party. Oh, it will piss off Gove and Raab. But who cares? They have failed. They are yesterday’s men. And it will take the heat off of Rishi Sunak who is beginning to realise that being heir presumptive is a curse rather than a blessing. And it will give Johnson an opportunity to eventually bow out with a little dignity intact.
And then do what Thatcher did. What all strong leaders do. Appoint a balanced cabinet based on competence. Devotion to Brexit should no longer be the only criterion for high office. The argument is over. Just make the best of it. And for God’s sake let’s have ministers who are competent.