A very dangerous alliance is developing between three senior Downing Street figures who were once mortal enemies which could destroy the Johnson government. They are meeting in a secret location in St James’s Park under cover of dark. They have never seen eye to eye before. One is reported by the press as a lazy, hedonistic photo bomber who is never out of the news. The another is more of a behind the scenes killer who stalks the corridors of the Foreign Office and sometimes, arrogantly strays dangerously into Number 10 territory. Little is known about the last conspirator. A bookish type who lurks in the Treasury. They can just about stomach the Johnsonian faux optimism, the ridiculous unfulfillable promises and even view the steady trudge of bright eyed moped brained cabinet ministers with a degree of amused contempt. But what has set the cats amongst the pigeons is that the Prime Minister intends to get a dog. This is something that neither Larry, Palmerston, nor Gladstone will not possibly tolerate. The fur will fly.
It is strange how cat talk dominates the new administration. When Johnson gave a bizarre interview with Talk Radio’s Ross Kempsell he threw ‘a dead cat on the table’ by brazenly inventing a passion for making cardboard buses. It’s a clever conjuror’s stock in trade; deflection. Concentrate on the outrageous and the punter will not know what you are really up to. And now there is the 10% opinion poll jump. The dead cat bounce. A free gift to any new Prime Minister. But they never last long.
There is a long tradition of Downing Street Mousers. Neville Chamberlain had the Munich Mouser. Wilberforce served Heath, Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher. Then Sybil came onto the scene to be replaced by Humphrey. Humphrey was the first Downing Street cat to become a personality mainly because of a totally invented news story that Cherie Blair hated cats. And then he disappeared. We had a field day. I was writing spoof stories about how he was being held hostage and tortured in Peter Mandelson’s Political Re-education Clinic deep in the bowels of Downing Street. I even made a short for Channel Four with a slo mo Humphrey padding along in time to Queen’s ‘another one bites the dust.’ We were just being satirically mischievous, but some people believed it to be true. Alastair Campbell had to fight a rear guard action to stop it all spinning out of control.
The Boris dog story has all the hallmarks of being a bit of press mischief. It was born in the Daily Mirror with an anodyne quote from the Battersea Dogs Home speaking of their long co-operation with Number 10. It has the whiff of bollocks about it, but with Boris it’s mad enough to be true. He was pictured being licked by a yappy dog during the election. But, hey, haven’t we all? I was bitten on the bum by a Rottweiler in the 1983 election. The poor thing spent a couple of months in the Priory as a result.
I would imagine that there are focus groups being questioned about whether there should be a dog at Number 10, and if so what sort. It would have to be a macho one. No bloody lap dogs. A big strapping brute. The sort that would have to wear Y fronts. Or maybe a bulldog? Oh, yes. So Churchillian. And what would you call him (no bitches in Downing Street please!)? I looked through the list of names for fierce dogs. Three stood out. Buck? ‘Er, no Prime Minister think of the headlines. BORIS TAKES HIS NEW BUCK FOR A WALK, could perhaps cause misunderstandings’. Brutus? ‘Not after that reshuffle sir’. Mauser? ‘God, that’s a cracker, THE DOWNING STREET MAUSER. Love it!’
‘But Prime Minister it’s German. Miss Patel and Mr Raab would not be amused’.
‘Well, what about something patriotic? The war. People love the war. Dam busters. Great British heroes defeating the Hun. What was the name of that pilot chappie who had a black dog and the politically correct Guardian reading ghastlies changed its name for the film? What was it now? Began with an N?
‘No, Prime Minister. no, no, no’.
The real political difficulty would be what to do with Larry the most popular cat in Britain. He has been offered lucrative mousing roles on Love Island and Celebrity Big Brother. So will he be the last victim of the Night of the Blond Knives? Of course not. There would be rioting in the streets. The people would be betrayed. There will be an exchange of letters.
‘Larry, is neither a gloomster nor a doomster. He embodies the optimistic Can Do Britain which makes us the greatest place in the universe. It’s a privilege to have you on my team’.
‘Prime Minister I am honoured to be part of the dynamic, diverse (which doesn’t apply to dogs) winning team. Under your inspired leadership I feel turbo charged to taking back control of the vermin which are infesting Downing Street’.
And then there will be the photo shoot.
‘But Prime Minister is it wise to be filmed stroking a pussy? Think of the headlines’.