Saturday 11 December 2021

Escaping the kitchen


Lord Geidt, the PM’s ethics adviser (a pointless job if ever there was one) is allegedly considering his position after being made to look a complete fool by believing what the PM told him in the first place, and then seeing that contradicted by the report of the Electoral Commission. He does indeed face a very difficult choice. He can either believe the new assurances provided by the pathological liar in Downing Street and see his own reputation further trashed when the inevitable happens and the Johnson regime implodes, or he can take the opportunity which the PM has, entirely unintentionally, provided to him and quit now in the hope of salvaging what remains of his reputation. On second thoughts, it might not be that difficult a decision after all – it certainly wouldn’t be for most people, although, there again, most people wouldn’t have been so foolish as to accept a job as an ‘ethics adviser’ to a man like Boris Johnson in the first place. Mathew Parris sums up the reason why Geidt has been placed in this position as follows: “Geidt assumed a gentleman wouldn’t tell him a barefaced lie about his scratching around for inappropriate ways of paying his interior decorator. Geidt’s assumption was correct. A gentleman wouldn’t.”

There is an increasing sense of ‘fin de siècle’ about the current regime, and the sharks other Tories can sense it. Liz Truss’ response to questions about ‘that’ party was to emphasise that last Christmas she hadn’t been partying – she’d been off signing trade deals. Leaving aside the minor little detail that these trade deals were basically about replicating deals we already had until we decided to leave the EU, and that all that ‘hard work’ wouldn’t have been needed at all had the government done what the leavers promised and kept the UK in the Single Market / Customs Union, it was a blatant leadership pitch, drawing a clear line between her and Johnson. (Although Parris was pretty blunt about the ‘benefits’ of a Truss premiership as well!) How long it takes for them to dislodge a man who is incapable of realising how bad he is at the job or how serious things have become is yet to be seen. Tory MPs are traditionally a very loyal bunch, until the day that they aren’t, at which point their innate brutality in pursuit of self-preservation comes to the fore.

Cummings reckons it will probably be next summer that Johnson is finally told to go and spend more time with his families – for most of us, that looks like a lot of pain to go through in the meantime. The bigger question is what comes next. A belief that any of the current crop of likely replacements would be any better would be seriously misplaced. Pinning hopes of salvation on replacing Johnson with a proper austerity-supporting Tory just looks like choosing a different frying pan, when what we need is to get ourselves out of the kitchen.

No comments: