Friday 14 June 2024

An unwelcome interruption


It’s always the foreigners who mess things up.

Things were going swimmingly for Rishi Sunak and his project to annihilate his party. He’s always saying how strong his commitment is to serving the public, and this project, with all its benefits for future generations, is his way of demonstrating it. His definition of poverty as the unavailability of Sky television went down incredibly well with those who already wanted his project to succeed whilst also helping to move a few waverers across. Giving an aide who is unable to resist a flutter on political events enough nods and winks to make a decent stab at the date of the election days before he announced it was almost a master stroke. Making sure that it was duly drawn to the attention of the Gambling Commission might have been a little harder, but where there’s a will, as they say.

And then along comes a G7 meeting, forcing him to take two days out to swan around one of the most remote corners of Italy with a bunch of foreigners, creating the danger of a poll recovery in his absence. Worse still, his new best friend, the Italian PM best known for her extremist positions on just about everything, insisted on giving him a huge hug. In front of the cameras too – raising a serious threat that some of Nigel’s supporters might see him as being worth a vote after all. Fortunately for Rishi, he’s well blessed with aides and assistants capable of carrying on his project without him, albeit unintentionally. Grant Shapps, along with Michael Green, Corinne Stockheath and Sebastian Fox – four for the price of one – did a sterling job of reminding people just how utterly the Tories are going to be destroyed in three weeks’ time, although urging people to vote to avoid handing Labour a supermajority was a bit more of a positive message than he would have wished. There’s a danger that some might take it seriously.

He’s now itching to return to the fray. Only another three weeks to remind people, incessantly, that the next PM will be either him or Starmer, and that a vote for anyone other than him is a vote to turf him out of put someone else into Downing Street. Sometimes, the simplest message is all that it takes, and encouraging people to see it as a simple choice between him and somebody else – anybody, really – should be enough to finish the job. The hardest part will be finding enough time to campaign in his own constituency to ensure the right result. Failure to lose there could condemn him to weeks or even months more in Westminster when he could be reacquainting himself with his riches in California.

It's a hard life.

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