Thursday 30 June 2022

Playing games


Apparently, the revolting Tories who failed to depose the Prime Criminal a few weeks ago are coming back for a second go. The Guardian claims that they are ‘ruthlessly organised’ this time, but if they were remotely capable of achieving such a state, they wouldn’t be in a situation of needing a second attempt. When it comes to ruthless organising, one thing that can be said for Johnson, on the basis of hard empirical evidence (to say nothing of his home receiving more fixed penalty notices than any other address in the UK) is that he is very capable of ruthlessly organising a party in a brewery (or indeed anywhere else), unlike those seeking to displace him. Their latest cunning plan consists of arranging a slate of anti-Johnson MPs to fill all the places on the 1922 Committee, the organisation for backbench Tory MPs. It really shouldn’t be that difficult: since only backbench MPs are allowed to vote in the election, and we already know from the numbers in the no confidence ballot that the overwhelming majority of those are against him, they’re aiming at an open, barn-door sized, goal. Their performance to date doesn’t guarantee that they won’t miss, though.

Apparently, some of those who voted to retain him as leader in the latest ballot did so on the basis that there would be enough other people voting against him for him to do the decent thing and resign anyway, as happened with his immediate predecessor. That cunning plan avoided them putting their heads above the parapet as well as playing to their own cowardice, but depended on the assumption that a man who has ignored convention, rules, decency and honour his whole life would suddenly discover an attachment to such values when it became clear that four out of every ten of his followers were no longer willing to follow. Anyone believing that really is too stupid to be an MP, another reason to doubt the effectiveness of their organising skills. Others apparently only discovered how venal and dishonest Johnson is when they saw the scale of last week’s by-election defeats and realised that their own seats might be in danger. Self-preservation is a strong instinct, but it isn’t known for encouraging organisational skills in those who had lacked them previously.

The man himself has drawn a line – cleverly using invisible ink so no-one can see where it is – and has moved on. From his perspective, he never did anything remotely wrong; issuing apologies and taking responsibility are just words to be deployed as and when their use can no longer be avoided. The real villains are journalists and reporters who insist on reporting what they want to report rather than regurgitating his press releases. Is there more scandal to come? Almost certainly. Any Tory MP who thinks for a moment that there will be no further revelations about Johnson’s actions is living in the same fantasy land as the man himself. The best that they can hope for is that people are so accustomed to his dishonest behaviour that new revelations receive scant attention. It may be working: attempting to appoint Carrie to senior posts and asking a Tory donor to cough up £150,000 to build a tree house for a six-month old in the garden of a house where his tenure is neither secure nor long term have both received far less coverage than the inherent corruption involved would deserve. He can always divert attention with another emergency phone call to President Zelensky.

The Tory MPs are treating the whole thing as some sort of Westminster parlour game, but by their actions – or inactions – they are complicit in facilitating the most corrupt and dishonest government which the UK has ever seen. This is no game.

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