The real hero of this government is Isaac Levido, wisely drafted in to pummel the government back on message. Boris is at his best when not acting extempore. His autocued addresses to the nation were sharp and clear. But where Levido really has become a miracle worker is making Raab look vaguely intelligent and preventing him going into his default death’s head rictus grin when asked difficult questions. There is a mixed message in promoting someone as your deputy who won’t be a threat. If the PM had died or been very seriously incapacitated for a long period of time, who would have taken over? And how? There is no clear line of succession as there is in the US constitution. When this is all over this will have to be reviewed.
Back to Levido. Just gaze in admiration for what he has done for that triumph of the mortician’s art, Priti Patel. To be fair, there are some miracles that defeat even Levido. He can’t, for example, prevent the gothic gloom that descends when she enters the room, nor the sudden drop in temperature, nor the troubling reality that her reflection is never seen in the ornate mirror in the Number 10 dining room. But he put her on a black box, prevented her from screaming ‘fuck off’ to Sir Christopher Whitty and sinking her fangs into the throat of that little policeman whose only purpose I assumed was to be her pre supper snack. Clearly, Levido’s finest achievement was to de smirk her. But there are some cases that are beyond his skills. Liz Truss. Now doesn’t she set the pulse racing? We haven’t seen her yet. Oh, how I miss her incisive wit, her poise, her outfits designed by David Blunkett. She always reminds me of that great Greek orator, Demosthenes, because she sounds as if she has pebbles in her mouth.
Patel is an enigma within a riddle to me. She is worshipped and seen as a future Prime Minister by pretty young men of the right with a fluid sexuality and by the perma tanned, tight white dressed, Lambrini brigade who claim to be digital entrepreneurs. It may be that they just love dominant women who are as thick as mince. Sadly, even reading Allison Pearson, (best hide her columns behind extreme pornography to avoid the social shame) doesn’t qualify me as a psychiatrist. Is it too much to hope that one day Patel might just realise that she will be happier when she gives people a piece of her heart rather than her mind?
And what of Boris? For the first time in my life I genuinely feel sorry for the guy. And for the first time in his life he has realised that he is not immortal. His terrifying experience may even make him a better person. He may at last understand empathy, that being kind to people is really important, that the devil really is in the detail. And that is the same for all of us. This horrible and terrifying experience has brought about a real sense of community, of caring for others, of looking after the old and the vulnerable, of giving shelter to the homeless. A couple of days ago I was patiently standing in my Tesco’s shooting the breeze with strangers. Suddenly, there was a ‘situation’. A row had broken out between a hatchet faced teenage girl, her brother who looked as if he had escaped from Fagin’s kitchen, her nan who had a face like a robber’s dog and the charming and patient shop staff. This family from hell took umbrage at being told that they could only enter the store two at a time. Nan would have to wait two whole minutes before being joined by her two spawn of the devil. They shouted and swore and threw things. And when female child of the Master of the Pit screamed, ‘and we will never fucking come here again, the queue erupted in applause. For the staff.
Perhaps, we as a society might have began to practice as well as understand the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘the best way to find ourselves is to lose yourself in the service of others’.