I haven’t been doing much blogging of late because British politics appeared so boring. The Brexit argument has been solved but not settled. The genial good humour of the new Speaker has civilised the Commons. The Labour leadership elections have been breathtakingly dull and predictable. And the only exciting thing about the Johnson administration to date is how many women he is going to appoint at the imminent reshuffle. Why this has become a benchmark of good government has always been a total mystery to me, probably because we have never really experienced good government. But now we have to think in terms women but northern women. Wooo. So next week we will marvel at the highest number of women from Scunthorpe, women from ethnic minorities.... You get the drift. It is not popular to say this, but I find it all patronising and demeaning to women. Yes, let’s have more diversity but please let those who are appointed be vaguely sentient and competent . Take Priti Patel. Oh dear. Isn’t it bad enough that her views are enough to make Nigel Farage blush? The answer is no. There is far worse. The lights are out and there is nobody at home in the Patel cranium. Putting her at the despatch box is almost an act of cruelty. Yet she will survive. And then there is Liz Truss. All I ask in all humility is, ‘why’? She is one of those weird curiosities of existence. She is like a divine practical joke like lettuce.She will survive. It’s all very confusing. And the list is seemingly endless. However, watch out for Nicky Morgan as I hear that she will be replacing Baroness Evans (who? Precisely) as leader of the lords. Morgan, like Amber Rudd are serious players.
But fizzing below the surface are some serious problems that will have to be resolved fairly soon. There are regular, informed and consistent briefings appearing in the press designed to undermine and humiliate the Chancellor. Crowing about the sacking of his special advisors. Boasting that he will be surrounded by Johnson cronies. Suggesting that he will not be on post for long and that he has been ‘reprieved’. Whoever (good morning Mr Cummings) is responsible for this is putting him on a collision course with the Prime Minister. If history teaches politicians anything (discuss) it is that if a serious rift on policy between Chancellor and Prime Minister is allowed to fester it explodes into a nasty recriminatory resignation which holes the government below the waterline. Javid is no bloody fool. He is one of the few really competent ministers. Making an enemy of him is bad and dangerous politics. Is there anyone in government with the stature and clout of a Whitelaw to bang heads together? I never thought I would ever say this but Boris Johnson needs a Willy.
And then there is Scotland. Sturgeon does a pretty passable Boudicca tribute act fighting off the foreign power that occupies her vassal state. She rides high on the hog. For now. The Derek Mackay incident gets a few paragraphs in the English press, but it’s potential to destroy Sturgeon is enormous. Mackay was being lined up to succeed Sturgeon. There have been rumours of heavy drinking and wild parties. That he had been warned to calm down. Was he warned about the sort of behaviour that has just led to his resignation? I stress that Mackay has not been accused of any sort of criminal offence, just the sort of behaviour which shows a terrible lack of judgment. Was this the first time and if there wasn’t who knew? And was it brushed under the carpet? On its own this is just about a fellow being incredibly stupid. But in March Alex Salmond stands trial for serious sexual offences. I haven’t a clue whether the allegations are true or untrue as that is the sole prerogative of the jury. However, rumours must have been flying around for months. Who was aware and what if anything was done to keep things under wraps? This could be the perfect storm which could hobble the SNP. Where is Ruth Davidson when you need her? Politics has now become rather interesting.