The Russia Report – What it means and what can be done

So, the day finally arrived. The eternal ghost at the Tory feast has finally emerged into the public domain – in the form of the much heralded and long delayed Russia report.

To merely regard it as “long delayed” doesn’t really do sufficient justice to the outright painful dragging of feet which took place to delay its publication. It was placed on Boris Johnson’s desk on the 17th October; completed, fully reviewed and ready for its findings to be released. The standard turn around time for a simple matter of prime ministerial approval is ten days – Boris Johnson managed to delay it for nine months.

Given the endless litany of pitiful and downright illogical excuses trotted out over this period by all manner of subservient Downing Street stooges, many wondered whether this report would ever see the light of day at all. I know I did. After all, the government had even resorted to the frankly absurd measure of attempting to grant chronic failure Chris Grayling meaningful employment in order to potentially block its release.

Fortunately, having somehow managed to underestimate Chris Grayling’s innate ability to inexplicably fail, this last throw of the dice died unceremoniously on its arse – though the news that this now almost mythical report was finally going to see the light of day still caught many by surprise. In fact, Nigel Farage found himself so stupefied with excitement that he announced his conclusions of the report nearly three hours before he’d actually be able to read it.

The report wasn’t published until 10:30am, but Nigel knows better than to let the truth get in the way of a good lie.

So, putting Nigel’s laughable delusions of purity to one side, what did the report actually say?

For the especially curious amongst you who wish to go one step beyond Nigel Farage and actually read the blasted thing, it can be viewed in its totality here (inevitable redactions not withstanding, of course). However, if you simply wish for an overarching, take away message in relation to how those pesky Russians subverted our democracy and aided in a steaming pile of Brexit being shat out upon our collective front lawn, here it is:

The government found no evidence of Russian involvement in the Brexit referendum – because they didn’t bother to look for it.

No, really. They legitimately avoided looking into the matter altogether.

Now the committee itself stopped short of saying this was a nefarious act of deliberate avoidance because, let’s face it, they lacked both the remit and resources required to even come close substantiating such an accusation – but we can engage in some amount of deductive reasoning based on what we already know.

For instance the manner in which this report was continually downplayed and delayed, while dubious from the very outset, has now been exposed. In fact, the committee representatives went to considerable length to notify the watching world that the seemingly endless repertoire of excuses the government had used to justify the lack of publication were patently false. On each and every count.

No ifs. No buts. Entirely false.

Given that the government’s own paper trail of brazen dishonesty has led us to the inescapable conclusion that there was something in this report they had wanted to hide, you then have to look into what this could be. The most damning element of the report is clearly the government’s utterly bewildering refusal to even take a cursory glance at potential Russian inference, so we’ll make it our choice for further examination.

It has long been an open secret that Russia are at the very forefront of cyber warfare. It’s an incontrovertible fact and the supporting evidence is harder to ignore than being bludgeoned round the head with a frozen haddock. In a world where military and economic supremacy forever eludes them, they have to engage in more underhand tactics – utilising both our inherent credulity and an over-reliance on easily manipulated social media platforms to build our understanding of the world around us. Whether it’s through perpetuating the flow of misinformation or sowing the insidious seeds of social discord, as a tactic for destabilising rival nations it’s proven to be far more cost effective than staging military incursions.

Entertaining the notion that our government legitimately didn’t consider such skulduggery to even be a potential threat to UK democracy, would be to grant them such a minuscule level of competence they’d find themselves outwitted by the average kidney stone. However, while many critics would likely buy into the idea that recent Tory governments have been unfathomably incapable, the far more likely alternative is that they simply didn’t want to open that potential Pandora’s box.

Why would they be so afraid, you ask? For a start, even if they were to uncover the slightest whiff of interference in the Brexit referendum it would serve to undermine the vote – and, as we’re all acutely aware, the idea that the result was somehow sacrosanct and beyond all question forms the cornerstone of Brexiteer (and, by extension, Tory) rhetoric. Without this safe haven of boneheaded obfuscation, the justification for Boris’ Brexit crumbles to dust.

But that’s a mere ideological concern. The real meat of the matter likely lies in the increasingly sinister links the Conservatives have with Russia – not least in the form of party donors. Furthermore, Vote Leave figurehead, former Foreign Secretary and current regrettable Prime Minister Boris Johnson has more than his fair share of mysterious and unexplained links to Russian oligarchs – so how do you think Boris Johnson feels about following through with the intelligence committee recommendation to finally sanction an investigation?

Take a guess.

Of course.

Even to the less sceptical of souls, such an astonishing failure of government and dereliction of duty with regards to basic national security should raise serious questions;  not least in relation to the personal motivations lingering underneath each and every calamitous decision – but what can be done about it?

Regrettably, as with many potential solutions to the innumerable ills which serve as a blight on our nation, the answer finds itself marooned in the realm of starry-eyed idealism rather than being firmly grounded in any plausible reality – but alas, a stubborn, almost fanatical devotion to the mission of never letting this matter rest is the only remotely viable chance of recourse which exists.

As a citizenry, we’ve been dealt a “Fuck you” so potent it should have sufficient strength cross those normally impassible partisan borders and enrage the populace as a whole. We’ve all been played for saps by Boris and friends. They spent an entire nine months attempting to sweep the Russia report under the carpet, being sure to further bury the truth under a fresh layer of bullshit whenever pressed upon its whereabouts.

Irrespective of what side of the political fence you pitch your tent upon, the message of today’s report is impossible to deny: whether it be through gross incompetence or self interested chicanery, the collective sum of recent Tory governments have failed the country – and both the media and electorate should not let this matter rest until the guilty have finally been held accountable.

Of course, impassioned calls to action aside, I don’t consider any scenario in which justice is actually done to be the least bit plausible. In all probability, this will merely disappear like a fart in the wind. Gone the way of the stink created by Robert Jenrick’s dodgy dealings or the foul odour left in the wake of Dominic Cumming’s unconventional eye test. As pungent as both stenches once were, they’ve now all but vanished into the ether – all without any consequence being administered to the perpetrator.

Perhaps you’re fine with this. Maybe you’re sufficiently tribal to the extent whereby honesty and integrity are outmoded concepts to be cast aside in the relentless quest to help your side emerge triumphant in this increasingly preposterous “culture war”. If you’re that far gone, I’ll never be able to convince you otherwise.

But don’t kid yourself into thinking that Britain is a functional democracy accountable to the people – because in reality, you’re more powerless than ever.


Britain, COVID-19 and the Perils of Electing a Government of Liars

It’s fair to say that I wasn’t best pleased at the outcome of the 2019 general election.

This wasn’t due to any undying loyalty to the resoundingly vanquished opposition mind, nor was I sufficiently enamoured with any of the night’s many losers to the extent where their pain vicariously became my own.

However, there was one oh so simple hope I did carry with me throughout the campaign.

Owing to my sense of optimism being beaten down, desecrated and terminally punctured over the preceding few years, I wasn’t hoping for anything outlandish or crazy – I just didn’t want the mendacious demagogue who’d spent his entire career violating the very concept of integrity to win the majority he so craved.

So, inevitably, that is precisely what happened.

Hello darkness, my old friend…

However, as loathsome a prospect a Boris Johnson premiership undoubtedly was, the greater threat undoubtedly lay in the cabinet of misfit toys he would bring into power alongside him.

And we weren’t talking your garden variety political jobsworths either – these were premium chancers. Unscrupulous careerists to whom being a conduit for the most brazen of lies isn’t so much a question of integrity, rather a rite of passage to attain a higher position on the proverbial greasy pole.

You could argue that the political realm has always been awash with the amoral and callous, relentlessly pursuing their own self interest. “T’was ever thus” as Johnson’s most slippery of lieutenants once said – and, by and large, that’s often been the case.

The key difference however, is that a ghoulish lack of empathy and perpetual undercurrent of astonishing ineptitude becomes really apparent on the rare occasions a legitimate life or death crisis holds the nation in a relentless stranglehold.

And that’s just the hospital deaths.

Of course I’m referring to the coronavirus – a pandemic which needs absolutely no introduction as it continues to keep vast swathes of the global population marooned at home.

The outbreak of this new and highly contagious virus has exposed both the alarming fragility and rank hypocrisy residing in both Britain’s public services infrastructure and the powerful establishments to whom its ultimate fate is tied – the treatment of the NHS being the most obvious example. It’s all well and good praising them to high heaven and offering up tokenistic applause when they’re the only thing standing between Britain and an unthinkable fatality count, but don’t expect superficial gestures to erase a decade of gutting their resources and having your sympathetic pals in the gutter press undermine their plight at every turn.

The more obvious examples of failures of leadership and historical negligence on the part of the government are well documented by this point. However, the true extent of their blundering is effectively impossible to quantify – owing almost entirely to the deliberate obfuscations and contradictory communications from the government.

Let’s use a recent example to illustrate the point – Britain’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the EU ventilator procurement scheme.

This was an unedifying cavalcade of calamity and confusion from the get go. The first stance attempted was that we simply didn’t need to. We were out of the EU and didn’t need to cooperate with those pesky eurocrats anymore as Britain could stand alone.

So far, so Brexit – but, soon after, word got out that this wasn’t actually the case and Britain hadn’t taken part on account of “missing an email”. A convenient and undeniably useful excuse for when you’ve forgotten to do a work assignment perhaps, but considerably less credible when a global pandemic has the country you’re attempting to run gripped tightly by the gonads.

This confused and apparently gleeful indulgence in contradictory messaging rumbled on for a while, essentially relegated to a background gripe with more pressing items of woe being at the forefront of the news agenda.

However, the moment senior Foreign Office official Sir Simon McDonald informed the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that the decision was indeed political, Pandora’s box lurched open once more – the sorry spectacle attaining its peak level of intrigue when the following bizarre and seemingly coerced retraction was hurriedly released into the public sphere:

If you listen really closely, you can hear the sound of Sir Simon McDonald falling on his own sword for “the greater good”.

So what really happened? Who’s actually responsible for this procession of pitiful incompetence? Nobody on the outside could ever realistically hope to know – and that’s precisely the point. Clearly something is amiss, otherwise the messaging wouldn’t be so erratic – yet with each jarring gear shift the truth becomes ever the more buried beneath increasingly vague and repeatedly contradictory lines of communication.

And, if the spin doctors are especially lucky, it’ll serve as a suitably convenient distraction to an altogether more horrific government induced catastrophe elsewhere.

You could be forgiven for thinking a torrent of disinformation, itself being bolstered by incredibly cynical timing has a fairly familiar ring to it – and you’d be right. It’s the Vote Leave modus operandi – and its reemergence is no coincidence; not when many of its key figures now ply their trade at the very top of our current government.

Dominic Raab is Foreign Secretary, Priti Patel is Home Secretary, Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister – and, of course, we have former Vote Leave Director Dominic Cummings as Boris’ senior adviser. To name but a few.

Don’t forget Michael Gove either – as much as you probably want to.

With this in mind, it’s important to realise that this isn’t just a government dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a government with a constant focus on its own PR – and when you’re an administration with such a startling penchant for hapless bungling, you need a crack team of shameless bullshitters to do the donkey work.

Naturally such donkey work ranges from the sinister to the downright embarrassing. Whether you’re subtly attempting to retrospectively change the nature of the target you’re about to fail, or heralding a decrease in reports of shoplifting while the vast majority of shops are closed as some sort of achievement – integrity is left forlornly at the door when you sign up for Team Boris.

Just stick to the script, never concede even a semblance of fault and never, ever, under any circumstances acknowledge the amount of care workers who have died. This isn’t just a grisly statistic for the generic Tory drone, but a political inconvenience which must be evaded at any cost.

Besides – if you let empathy seep too deeply into your thoughts and flaunt these rules on moral grounds, it would be an admittance of culpability – and that will certainly leave you in a very uncomfortable position when the inevitable public inquiry rears its vengeful head.

He’s not the Messiah – he’s just a convenient distraction

Death has a curious way of affecting opinion on public figures – at least when viewed through the admittedly dubious lens of a media narrative.

This is perhaps understandable. After all, what more emotive subject could there be to tug on the collective heartstrings than one concerning a very public life being snuffed out before its time? Whether you loved the individual in question or became agitated by the mere mention of their name, once that vicarious journey slams unexpectedly to a halt it feels churlish to offer up even the mildest of criticism. Wall to wall veneration becomes the order of the day – whether that be from the shocked and sympathetic public or the brazenly cynical media hoping to eke out as much mileage from the tragedy as possible; even if that means performing a judgement u-turn so vast it’s visible from the far side of the galaxy.

As inadvertently cynical as my tone may appear, I do get it. Death is a grisly subject and the finality it brings can lead to even bearing witness to a close encounter scattering your emotions far and wide across the spectrum.

However, that’s not to say we can’t sometimes find ourselves guilty of sanctifying the unfortunately stricken individual to a nauseatingly absurd degree.

Irony not included.

Surprisingly enough, it’s actually not Jesus to which Allison Pearson is referring to here – rather Boris Johnson; a man with a such a long list of calamities and moments of shame it stretches around the Earth’s equator twice.

However, putting personal opinion and diametrically opposed politics to one side, there’s no doubting that Boris Johnson was dangerously ill with the coronavirus – and, in a moment which provided a refreshing demonstration that simple human empathy hadn’t quite abandoned the general public at large just yet, people of all political stripes stepped up to wish the Prime Minister well.  The emergence of Covid-19 hasn’t just sparked a national crisis, it’s caused the entire planet to grind to a halt. Nobody is immune, nobody is safe and everybody’s life is now haunted by the lingering worry that some of our loved ones might not make it through to the other side of this. If ever there were a time to put personal grievances to one side for the greater good, it’s now.

Fortunately, despite being confined to an intensive care unit for a couple of nights, Johnson did indeed survive and is currently undergoing a period of recuperation at Chequers.

Less fortunately however, is the manner in which his illness and recovery have been hijacked – for both the purposes of political capital and to serve as a totemic success story to divert attention away from a back catalogue of confused leadership, dereliction of duty and a crisis which is now severely out of hand.

If you squint, you can just about make out the fact that over 10,000 people have died in a matter of weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic has perpetuated a desperate struggle, the likes of which the majority of us have never witnessed. This, combined with the fact that we’re still mired somewhere in the middle of an ongoing emergency with no known conclusion on the horizon, makes it rather difficult to predict what the overarching story of Covid-19 in Britain will actually be – which leaves a tantalisingly blank page on offer for anyone who wishes to slant the upcoming history book in their favour.

So it comes as absolutely no surprise that Boris Johnson, purely by the virtue of surviving the coronavirus, is being painted as a quasi messianic figure whose personal victory over the disease somehow equates to Britain scoring an overall win, regardless of how many dead bodies pile up around him.

Also – 980 people died.

This rather callous descent towards the realm of cynical spin was always inevitable. Not least when you consider how the government initially handled the coronavirus outbreak – specifically by doing absolutely nothing while subtly attempting to sell the sinister notion that the “herd immunity” approach was a good idea; clearly unconcerned that this would lead to countless preventable deaths.

“We’re following the science” it was claimed, which isn’t the easiest claim to dispute as a layman. Though it was rather disconcerting to see that no other nation in the world was following the same science as we were – not to mention wasting little time in implementing strict and coherent lock-down measures.

When it became clear this strategy was heading for unmitigated disaster, the government changed approach. However, no sign of humility or contrition was on display – rather they made the peculiar claim that “the science changed”. Conveniently enough to the same science most others were utilising weeks before.

Even when the lock-down was finally imposed on Britain, it was ramshackle. Effectively starting life as advisory rather than a state imposed restriction, this confusing, ham-fisted attempt at leadership reached a crescendo of abject absurdity the moment Boris Johnson’s own father appeared on TV to undermine his son’s advice less than 24 hours after it was issued – which isn’t a sentence  that should appear when writing a retrospective of competent government strategy.

Furthermore, such critique makes no mention of the grim fate being experienced by NHS workers. Despite having no choice but to literally face down a highly contagious illness, many have been forced to go without basic PPE on account of a startling lack of availability. Rather than admit any culpability for failing to properly equip an organisation they’ve been gutting for a decade, Health Secretary Matt Hancock opted to suggest that the NHS staff were at fault for not utilising what was available in a suitably economic fashion.

Naturally, such a slight was PR suicide for the government – so it must have come as a considerable relief that the media were more interested in the fact that Boris Johnson was binge watching Lord of the Rings.

The last time I saw the Tories cheer the NHS to this extent, it was to celebrate denying their staff a payrise.

It has to be acknowledged that we’re currently living through unprecedented circumstances in which the occasional strategic misstep is somewhat of a bleak inevitability – but that doesn’t mean it’s time to treat the government with kid gloves and award them a suitably naff “I tried my best” badge.  At the time of writing, there have currently been 11,329 deaths in the UK from the coronavirus – and that only accounts for those who died at hospital. They must be held to account – with the piercing, concise and constant opposition a genuine life or death situation demands.

However, given that the actual death figure is likely to forever remain a chilling mystery and the nations media is singularly enthralled by the individual survival of Boris Johnson, while barely paying lip service to the thousands no longer with us, the full spectre of what still faces us remains unclear.

In such uncertain times it would be of substantial comfort to be able to trust in our government – but, owing to their tendency for evasive sophistry and a pliant, sympathetic media all too happy to obfuscate, it just gives the distinct impression that they’re hiding something.

Election Post-Mortem – The Week That Regrettably Was

Well, that election was a bit shit wasn’t it?

There’s really no other way of dressing it up. From the moment the exit poll dropped not only were all my worst fears realised in a brutal flash of stupefying reality, but the grim inevitability of living under five years of a Boris Johnson led government was no longer confined to my nightmares. For all his deceit, for all his blunders and in spite of the six months we’ve already suffered through offering alarming clarity on the fact that he’s fundamentally unsuited to the job, none of this seemed to matter – the man who hid in a fridge to avoid an interview is going to be Prime Minister for five years. At least.

Still, that’s where we are and we’ve got little choice but to deal with it. So in that spirit, let’s take a look back at election night and see if any small scraps of hope can be salvaged from the still burning wreckage, shall we?

Boris Johnson Wins – With a Terrifying Majority

A result so terrifying, Huw Edwards suffered a spontaneous bowel evacuation live on TV. Maybe.

Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. As much as I’d love to soothe your woes with the revelation that the events of election night were all just a bad dream and you’ve actually woken up in 2014, in a move which apparently vindicates a campaign entirely characterised by cowardice and chicanery, Boris Johnson has been granted a “stonking majority”.

The sad truth is that this victory wasn’t especially surprising, with the only real shock being in the staggering margin by which it was won. Nevertheless, this didn’t prevent the visceral reaction from those in opposition being one of indignation, bewilderment and a hefty side portion of self righteous anger.

Which is a reaction that I personally, could completely understand.


However embittered protestations, irrespective of how vociferous or accurate they may have been, were worthless at this point. The day had been lost and the die had been cast – there was nothing left to do but accept our fate and attempt to obtain some understanding as to how best to deal with it.

Stonking majority or not, the delusional nature of what Boris Johnson had successfully flogged remains unchanged. The relentless, often ludicrous barrage of meaningless slogans and tenuous at best metaphors may have succeeded at the ballot box, but will prove to be horrifically exposed on the merciless battlefield of international negotiations and diplomacy.

Of course Boris has always been the consummate bullshit salesman – it’s just that now the opposition have no real means of hindering him. They (and by extension, the entire country) are now helplessly strapped along for the ride, able to do little more than scream objections to terminally closed ears as they’re dragged ever deeper into the rabbit hole of mindless exceptionalism and excruciating metaphors.

Talking of which:

The Fight to Remain Hits an Insurmountable Brick Wall

Can’t blame a guy for trying, right?

Contrary to what the ‘will of the people’ narrative would have you believe, 2016 was an awfully long time ago. In the intervening years between the regrettable then and the unfortunate now there’s been enough twists, broken promises and governmental incompetence to last a lifetime and the cause to Remain fought their corner valiantly – never missing the opportunity to put forward the apparently unfashionable notion that this whole Brexit malarkey which nobody can agree upon was just a mite bit ridiculous.

But alas, to the dismay of a movement which had clung desperately to the faintest of faint hope through each and every tribulation which came its way, that fight came to an end with Boris’ resounding victory. Unceremoniously snuffed out in a blink of an eye the second the damning exit poll desecrated our screens.

We tried guys – but it’s over.

Defeatist – perhaps. Realistic – I’m afraid so. Brexit is happening. There’s simply no viable route left through which to stop it. The People’s Vote, which was always just tantalisingly out of reach, has now been consigned to the dustbin of history, never to re-emerge. Now all that’s left is a dismay inducing smattering of ifs, buts and maybes.

Understandably, many of its most fervent proponents now feel at a loss. Where is there to really go from here? Unfortunately, an obvious, conveniently inspiring answer isn’t especially forthcoming.

You can point out the flaws, but nobody with sway will be listening. You can observe that, in terms of actual vote share, parties in favour of a second referendum actually received more votes, but no tangible success will be forthcoming. As flawed as a first past the post general election is in serving as a de facto rerun of the referendum, it’s the closest we ever got to one – and the outcome is binding, logic be damned.

However, there is one important thing to bear in mind. While democracy didn’t fall into line with your wishes on this occasion, you still have your democratic right to expression. The result may have given Boris Johnson a mandate for Brexit, but it does nothing to vanquish its insurmountable flaws – nor should you be expected to ideologically fall into line behind it.

Your voice is still important and, let’s face it – with the Tories set to face severely limited opposition in Parliament – it’s arguably more important than ever.

Opposition Parties Collapse – The Blame Game Begins

He’s probably had better nights.

Ah yes, the blame game. An inevitable consequence of crashing disappointment and, with so many vested interests at play in this election, there’s been many accusatory fingers on display – gesticulating wildly in every direction imaginable, while curiously averting attention as far away from themselves as possible.

Whether it be Brexit, Corbyn, the Lib Dems or the entire opposition’s starling inability to put their differences aside for the greater good to name but a few, the uncomfortable reality remains unchanged. The opposition, irrespective of which colour rosette adorns their clothing, lost – badly.

I’m sure you’ve each got your own personal theories – I sure have – but whatever bias tinted explanation we may have, the attribution of blame is a largely worthless endeavour. Not only because the truth most likely lays in the ultimate failure of the collective, but the dubious value of scapegoating pales into insignificance when compared to the harsh lessons ready to be learnt.

And believe me, “harsh” in an understatement.

I appreciate that the sense disappointment is still raw amongst many of us, the gaping wound of defeat causing tempers to fray while being painfully exacerbated every single time the perplexing sight of Prime Minister Boris Johnson shambles into view. It’s bad, I get it – but given how dispiriting the prospect of five years living under this preposterous chancer is, the possibility of it being extended to an entire decade is a fate we should all seek to avoid – collectively.

However, in order to even stand the faintest hope of achieving what would be a gargantuan reversal of fortunes, drastic changes need to be made.

The Corbyn project, for all the virtuous intent it may have indeed had, is not going to fly anytime soon, if ever. Bemoan the rigged system and note the claimed doorstep popularity of the policies all you like, the electorate rejected it – resoundingly. A hurtful predicament for aspirational idealism to find itself in no doubt, but it’s time for cold, hard pragmatism to come to the fore.

The situation is desperate. We just don’t have time to wait for a plan heavily reliant on improbable circumstance to maybe reign supreme in decades to come. As unappetising a prospect as it may be, the hearts and minds of the moderate Tory voter are not going to be won over by a far left candidate – and these are the votes you’re going to need should you ever hope to seize back power.

It may not be a proposal which sits comfortably, in fact it will likely chill the average momentum activist to the bone – but elections are there to be won. You don’t win anything for remaining mired in the minority, not even a wooden spoon – and all your good intent will simply disappear into the void, of no use to those who most need it.

As for the Lib Dems, should they wish to ever hope to gain any electoral ground again, anyone who had even the least bit of involvement in the notorious coalition should be kept so far away from the leadership they’re in a different galaxy altogether. Until then, they’ll continue spinning their wheels hopelessly in the mud as their influence and relevance fades with each year that rolls by.

Sometimes you just have to grin and bear an impure approach. The Tories didn’t win because their ideas were better – far from it – but they sure as shit knew how to game the electorate.

I don’t doubt that the battleground is slanted in the Tory’s favour, but it’s not going to change anytime soon. You can complain, but it didn’t yield anything of value this time. So the choice is really simple – adapt to the situation at hand, or remain on the fringes forever.

Speaking of fringes:

Fringe Simpletons Claim Boris’ Victory as Their Own

The phrase “lunatics taking over the asylum” springs to mind.

In the wake of Boris Johnson’s electoral victory, it’s often been pondered, most likely in a bid to scavenge any hint of a silver lining from the darkest of horizons, whether or not he’ll make another spontaneous ideological shift.

After all the man is essentially a blank moral canvas, ready to paint with whatever ideological stance best suits his career at any given time. Plus, with the lingering concern of a threadbare majority now firmly in the past, he no longer has to cater to the unbridled numbskullery of the ERG. Maybe he’ll finally become the warm hearted, liberal slanted centrist his most obsequious of acolytes have always insisted he is?

While I can’t completely rule this out, there are two significant problems which undermine this, perhaps fatally, as a potential reprieve.

Firstly, we have to consider the influx of new Tory MPs who have ridden the crest of the Boris wave all the way into Parliament. Now it’s become almost a cliche that the Tories are the “nasty party” but, if the flimsy grasp on the apparently outmoded concepts of compassion and decency demonstrated by some of the new arrivals are anything to go by, they’re not just confirming such a characterisation, rather proudly proclaiming it via a loudhailer from atop the Tower of London.

For a case in point, take Lee Anderson – the new Tory MP for Ashfield.

Even putting his past record of sexism, staged managed doorstep encounters and a penchant for anti-Semitic conspiracies somehow to one side, his electoral campaign was characterised by one key policy which seemed very dear to his heart – the introduction of forced labour camps.

No really, I’m not joking – though I dearly wish I was.

Not only does this highlight an alarming acceptance within the senior ranks of the party towards the reprehensible, but it’s also a disconcerting reminder of the moral repugnance Boris Johnson will be expected to appease.

Which brings us, rather regrettably, to the second problem: the rather unsavoury crowd Boris Johnson and his campaign of jingoistic dick waving has attracted – who are currently swarming around his victory like flies zeroing in on an especially pungent shit.

There’s little worth in naming names at this point, we all know the main offenders. The real issue lies not only in what it represents, but what it could precede.

Boris Johnson has spent a lot of time recently attempting to craft a cooperative facade, droning on about how now is the time for “healing” and bringing the country back together – having previously been torn asunder by the Boris Johnson.

Some would argue that this is a sign of leadership, though to do so would be to miss the important context – his campaign was specifically designed to pander to the very nationalists who want nothing to do with diverse social cohesion. They want to keep Britain British – and now he’s got to keep this fringe yet sufficiently substantial demographic onside.

Ignorance will be plead and sophistry will be spun, but it isn’t a coincidence that such characters are swooping in to claim Boris Johnson’s majority as vindication for their poison. They were sought out.

While Boris Johnson winning a majority have left many on both the centre and the left feeling somewhat disenchanted and bereft of fight, the parasites clinging to his coattails give you more reason to be vocal than ever.

Because while they’re on the fringes now, if the flow of travel continues unabated, it’ll seep into the mainstream – and from that point onward the infiltration will be complete.

The country you knew will have changed forever.

The Election, Brexit and the Demise of Britain

If you’re reading this then congratulations – you’re on the verge of surviving a general election campaign.

Not that I wish to jinx you, of course. There’s clearly a very real chance that the next inevitable Boris blunder will involve a botched attempt at a jovial caper in which he rugby tackles an orphan into a disused canal, causing you to spontaneously combust on the spot in sheer horror but hey, you’ve made it this far – and let’s face it; if the sight of a bedraggled, philandering globule of mendacious spite attempting to indulge in painfully rehearsed seasonal whimsy didn’t end you right there and then, you’ve probably got nothing to worry about.

Oh fuck off.

Given the amount of farcical buffoonery on show, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that there’s not actually anything riding on this election; that it’s just meaningless pageantry in which snappy yet ultimately meaningless slogans and twatting around in JCBs to create excruciating visual metaphors is somehow a valid methodology for determining who will make a good Prime Minister.

All fluff with no substance essentially – and that’s exactly how the Tories like it.

Boris Johnson there, wasting five seconds of your time that you will not be getting back under any circumstances.

The contrast with the truth however, could not be more stark. This election is important – undeniably so. There simply hasn’t been a period in my thirty years of existence in which the stakes have been this high with a sense of stability so tenuous.

This country has changed beyond recognition. Both the political and social landscape we’re helplessly trapped within has become so volatile and vituperative, there’s a palpable sense that it’s about to break apart at the seams. Such toxicity just isn’t conducive for maintaining a stable, prosperous nation. Gone are the days in which fractures inflicted through division and disagreement were held together by an underlying sense of social integrity. Brexit hasn’t just damaged such a foundation, it’s obliterated it into smithereens.

Leave or Remain. Racist or traitor. You’ll have undoubtedly heard the invective – it’s become impossible to escape from. It’s been bubbling under since the referendum campaigning began and, since the result, it’s embedded itself so deep into the zeitgeist that it’s become self sustaining. This is the dichotomy upon which you’re now defined. Pandora’s box is upon and there’s no turning back.

Understandably, this ever dehumanised populace – still locked in a curious state of furious bewilderment over what the Brexit they’re fighting over even is – becomes ever the more desperate; and it’s this very desperation that provides the perfect backdrop of confusion and instability upon which exploitative chancers can really thrive.

And that’s precisely how Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

If this is your leader, then your country has lost its mind.

There’s a certain irony which has arisen ever since Boris Johnson stepped into Number 10 – specifically regarding the frankly absurd circumstance of how a man, who has crafted his every utterance and cynical career move to aid his life long quest to lead our country, could end up being so astonishingly incompetent upon receipt of his dream. Barely a day has passed since Boris Johnson took office without his own inherent ineptitude and flagrant disregard for common decency working in tandem to craft some form of scandal. You’d think that a man so obsessed with one solitary goal coming to fruition would have taken the time to obtain a skill set suited to succeeding in the role.

But, regrettably, it has never been about serving for Boris Johnson – it’s been about status.

Owing to such a calamitous lack of both ability and morality, the Tory campaign has undertaken a frankly bizarre tone. Not only have they had to craft a false reality within which they’re required to pretend the last decade of misery were nothing to do with them despite being in power for the duration, Boris Johnson is such a catastrophically atrocious candidate that the only way within which he can appear palatable is to somehow persuade the viewing public that they should doubt their own sanity.

The debates were a prime example of this – at least the ones that Boris wasn’t too scared to show up for. Devoid of any real answers, incapable of articulating anything beyond the realms of a three word slogan shat out by his press team and flustered by any challenge to his narrative to the point of total incoherence, Boris Johnson was simply a car crash. Yet were you to listen to his supporters, the most nauseating and perplexing of which being Acolyte in Chief Matt Hancock, you’d think we’d just witnessed the Gettysburg address with a parting of the Red Sea thrown in as an encore.

Vomit inducing perhaps, but as I’ve relentlessly banged on about many a time, narrative is key. It doesn’t really matter if you actually won, as long as enough people think you did.

While the horror stories detailing the grim outcome five years of unhindered, far right infested Tory rule could bring are often met with a scoff and waved away as hyperbolic fear mongering, just look around you. Take a moment to scrutinise what is actually happening. The dirty, underhand tricks designed to mislead and confuse, the deliberately inflammatory rhetoric bidding to cultivate a sinister atmosphere of mistrust and intimidation, the lies upon lies upon lies – if any of this seems normal to you, chances are you’re living in a failed dystopian state.

Dismiss me as an embittered, hysterical leftist should you please, but the reality remains. You’re being conned – we’re all being conned.

So where to from here? Polling day is imminent and we stand teetering on the brink of handing a liar free reign to do whatever he pleases for five years. Can anything really be done to prevent this?

Well, you’ve got a vote. One, solitary vote with which to express your admiration or disgust – so use it. It might not make a difference. It might be completely in vain, as our deeply flawed first past the post system could well see it disappear feebly into the void if your constituency votes against you – but you have to try.

What we’re witnessing now with Boris Johnson and his pseudo churchillian bluster isn’t the dawn of a glorious new age in which Britain’s potential is unleashed through means he’s curiously unable to explain – it’s a swindle. The emperor has no clothes and his shrivelled genitals are riddled with pubic lice.

If he’s granted a working majority on election day, the lies won’t stop – especially not now they’ve been vindicated in his own mind.

And the worst part? You’ll have to suffer through five years until you can do anything about it.

The Tory Party and the Art of Shameless Deception

Feeling confused? Frustrated? Finding yourself forever lost in a state of total bewilderment as you wade through an endless torrent of especially pungent bullshit, all in the vain hope of salvaging even a brief foothold of understanding as you become further swamped by empty promises, meaningless slogans and the uncomfortable sensation that everyone is lying to you?

It can only mean one thing – a general election is here. Perhaps Brenda from Bristol had a point after all.

For the most part it had been pretty bog standard – what with all manner of wonderment promised with little in the way of detail from which to achieve it forthcoming, coupled with the inevitable Boris blundering inexplicably having absolutely no negative effect on the polls.

However, in the past few days, an especially insidious change was afoot – emerging from the murky waters of the Twittersphere during ITV’s showpiece ‘Johnson v Corbyn’ debate.

Seems legit.

The debate itself was fairly standard fare, what with Boris Johnson’s ceaseless tangential waffling around any question more difficult than being asked to explain what a potato is, while Jeremy Corbyn was continually pressed yet continued to be frustratingly hesitant on whether he’d back Leave or Remain in a hypothetical second referendum – despite the fact that his personal convictions are ultimately immaterial when it would be the people making the final choice.

Though, away from the debate and within the realms of the eternal dick measuring contest known as social media, something peculiar was happening. Twitter suddenly found itself awash with Tory propaganda masquerading as indisputable fact courtesy of a previously unheard of account calling itself ‘factcheckUK’.

Now independent fact checking organisations are nothing new – you can find many scattered throughout Twitter attempting to extract morsels of cold, hard reality from the onslaught of bombastic political bluster – but seeing one spawn at such a pivotal moment from the void of non-existence would rightly unnerve any sceptical mind.

Yet there it was – the much heralded blue tick of certified Twitter approval right next to their name. So they must be the real deal, right?

Fortunately, a few eagle eyed souls managed to not fall victim to the Twitter norm of offering a cursory glance at most while scrolling through a timeline and noticed the biggest red flag outside of Soviet Russia – @CCHQPress. This wasn’t just an account sympathetic to the Tories – this WAS the Tories; engaging in the sort of shameless subterfuge normally associated with your garden variety Facebook troll.

You’d think that being caught red handed in a sinister yet clumsy act of brazen deception would lead to many a grovelling, hamfisted apology being on offer. This is an election after all – surely it would electoral suicide to be busted holding the voters in such blithe contempt?

While that would be the sane and indeed vaguely honourable reaction, regrettably this isn’t an episode of Happy Days in which mistakes are made, lessons are learned and the Fonz calls the gent’s toilet his “office” without a hint of irony. This is the Tory Party. They don’t do integrity – but they do have an apparently inexhaustible supply of frighteningly cynical morality vacuums to churn out in the aid of ostensible “public relations”.

Regrettably related photo of Dominic Raab.

Dominic Raab, James Cleverly and Michael Gove to name but a few were asked to explain this most lamentable of con tricks, yet their response wasn’t one of contrition, rather one of obstinate defiance.

“There was no trickery!” they insisted in carefully rehearsed tandem. “Look! It says ‘from CCHQ’ right there!”

Superficially, this protestation is indeed accurate – but they typically neglected to mention two key points. Firstly, were the account to retweet anything (which it did), any reference to CCHQPress would be entirely absent, owing to the longstanding Twitter aesthetic.

And secondly, the member of the design team responsible for the page banner was clearly briefed to ensure the “From CCHQ” subheading was in the smallest possible font size which still allowed to be in any way credibly legible to human eyes.

However it wasn’t the pitiful attempts at claiming refuge in the most ludicrously ramshackle shelter of plausible deniability imaginable that was the take home message from this sordid display of skulduggery, rather how little regard they had for the very notion of integrity. Dominic Raab in particular seemed to actively revel in his obfuscation, seemingly offering himself a mental pat on the back whenever he indulged in a spot of misdirection or pretended to have no understanding as to how Twitter works.

This is really the fundamental problem we’re faced with as this election looms ever closer on the horizon. This isn’t just about Brexit – it’s about whether we as a nation are about to hand a working majority to a gaggle of historical incompetents who have absolutely no qualms about deceiving you for their own self interest.

It’s often noted that the Vote Leave campaign under the stewardship of Dominic Cummings did their utmost to baffle the public with a tsunami of misleading data and fanciful untruths – and now he’s the most senior adviser to Boris Johnson as he heads into this most critical of elections, the disinformation disseminator has been cranked into overdrive. The campaign is barely a couple of weeks old yet there’s already been enough bullshit to fertilise the entire planet, overwhelming your senses as you struggle to distinguish between the dubious and the outright deceitful – the actual truth becoming forever lost in the ever thickening haze.

In a sense, you’ve almost got to hand it Cummings. Not only is he undeniably adept as propagandist, he’s managed to get his minions so well drilled in the art of bare-faced blagging that the message has become almost impervious to reality. While the truth is what we should value, the narrative always reigns supreme – which is why, even when caught with their pants inconspicuously stuck around their ankles, you’ll still get a chronically hapless goon like Matt Hancock simply ignoring any valid counterpoint and sticking rigidly on message. Laughable perhaps, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. The message, regardless of credibility, must remain unblemished – as it’s this message that will create the false reality in which the Tories aren’t a cabal of hopelessly detached jobsworths who have spent the past decade screwing over the country.

The message that will win them the election.

I wish I wasn’t so pessimistic. I long for an election night in which all my worst fears are vanquished and relative sanity finally establishes a grip on the country I call my home – but the polls are increasingly ominous, barely shifting irrespective of the scandals which befall Boris Johnson on what seems like a daily basis.

This is being referred to as the most important election in generations – and it is. But it’s not just about Brexit. It’s about what type of people we want running the country – and if Boris Johnson and his reality distorting cronies are granted a majority, it’ll be all the validation they need.

Because their deceit won’t stop with an electoral victory – it’ll simply confirm that their approach of unscrupulous dishonesty gets results.



Boris Johnson and the Denial of Reality

I loathe the term “fake news”. It’s fair to say I detest it with every facet of my curmudgeonly being.

Having seemingly started life as a suitably simplistic, go to response for anything which didn’t sufficiently jive with Donald Trump’s delusions, it’s now become ingrained in the common vernacular; poisoning all manner of discourse by allowing ease of access to the most obnoxious of dismissals while perfectly pandering to the detail deficient sloganeering which has similarly infested our politics.

Which is why, having rather firmly established that fake news as a concept is a festering boil lodged up the arse crack of our culture, it’s somewhat disconcerting to see our own government not only employ it with jovial abandon, but actively revel in it.

This is factually incorrect – but don’t kid yourself into thinking they care.

As troubling as it is to see a government we rely upon for maintaining a vaguely functional society indulging in such brazen deception, it would be inaccurate to portray it as in any way surprising. With a cabinet stuffed with Vote Leave cronies who somehow managed to escape the associated miasma of corruption and deceit with their careers inexplicably intact, the ghoulish, almost ethereal visage of Disinformation Disseminator in Chief Dominic Cummings has left conspicuous fingerprints upon every single government communication.

And with terminal deceiver Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, you’ve got both a totemic figurehead and morality free vessel through which the bullshit can really flow.

They’re even resorting to utilising the Comic Sans typeface for propaganda purposes – like utter bastards.

While keeping tabs on the often snooze inducing, beyond tedious world of general government business is largely a venture reserved for the politically inclined or misery sadists, the current administration have, in the blink of an eye, got to work upturning the proverbial apple cart and setting it ablaze in a bewildering display of propagandic pyrotechnics. Barely a session on social media passes by without happening across a peculiar mix of gaudy press releases from the Tory party; either hammering you with painstaking rhetoric which is regimented to the point of being robotic, or cynically yanking on your heartstrings with video shorts eulogising the NHS – eking out every last drop of political capital from a highly valued institution before it’s sold off to a megalomaniacal Wotsit with a toupee.

My own cynicism and admitted political biases aside however, there’s something undeniably unsettling about all of this – and I’m deeply concerned that it seems to be passing through the zeitgeist largely undetected.

Perhaps we as an electorate have simply become too blasé as to the current political landscape – beaten down to the point of begrudgingly accepted submission having lived through the past few years of relentless subterfuge and endless scheming from those who claim to represent us.

Brexit hasn’t just torn us apart, it’s all but irrevocably neutered us as a discerning nation. Dazzled to the point of blindness with nebulous concepts and baseless assertions being fired at us from all angles, no longer do we as a collective seem to even partially raise an eyebrow at governmental incompetence or staggeringly illogical rhetoric. Little is made of Boris Johnson claiming there won’t be customs checks in the Irish Sea as he signs a deal which places customs checks in the Irish Sea. Barely anyone seems especially bothered by members of Johnson’s own cabinet directly contradicting both their Prime Minister and each other as to how this deal will even work. Most chilling of all, barely a whiff of widespread public outcry is to be found as the government not only attempt to force it through Parliament without due scrutiny or any economic impact analysis to hand, but outright decry such logical procedures as “for the birds”.

Concerned? Don’t be. It’s the “will of the people”, remember? After all, they “know what they voted for” and any attempt to question either the feasibility or sanity of proceedings should be considered a bitter attempt to “overturn democracy”.

Sound ridiculous? Well, it is – but nevertheless, it remains a persuasive narrative. I live in an area wherein which Leave achieved a substantial majority. People buy this – irrespective of whether or not I’m able to understand exactly why.

It is due to this that the mere thought of an election anytime soon fills me with a cold sense of dread. While I’d love to be fully on board with the notion that we can rid Number 10 of this most ghastly of administrations, I suspect many are underestimating Boris Johnson.

Sure, he’s a demonstrably awful Prime Minister – of that there can be little doubt. However during electoral campaigns – and indeed referanda – the game significantly changes. The regrettable concept of optics comes into play and the message being transmitted takes overwhelming precedent above apparently outmoded criteria such as competence and suitability.

It may be commonly accepted amongst political aficionados that Boris Johnson is more full of shit than a herd of diarrhetic elephants, but is the passive swing voter (of which there is a substantial demographic) suitably engaged as to be aware of this lamentable character trait?

The answer to this question is one that unfortunately escapes me and will be revealed only through the passage of time. An election at some point in the near future is now a grim inevitability and you can be sure that Johnson and Cummings will be prepared to say whatever it takes to drag them over the line.

Naturally the actual truth will be in perilously short supply in the oncoming propaganda blitz, but I fear that won’t especially matter.

After all, who doesn’t like being told exactly what they want to hear?

Boris Johnson and the Degradation of Democracy

“You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?”

It was this piercing, unabashed line of inquiry from Eddie Mair which lifted the lid on Boris Johnson’s character; offering a curious yet troubling insight into the darkest recesses of his psyche – at which point, back in 2013, weren’t especially well publicised.

Back then he was “Bojo”- a seemingly fitting moniker to describe a man more befitting to the role of stand in circus clown than serious politician. Mair’s damning condemnation of the then Mayor of London bore little resemblance to the carefully staged managed public persona of cuddly old Boris. Of course this darker side was no secret to the initiated, themselves being acutely aware of a career underpinned by brazen dishonesty and shameless cynicism – but to the passing observer such revelations slipped conveniently under the radar.

They didn’t see a conniving charlatan indulging in morally bankrupt political chicanery – they saw a bemusing, floppy haired tit getting stuck on a zip-wire.

Oh Boris. What are you like?

Fast forward the clock from these comparatively halcyon times to the increasingly regrettable present day however and what do we find? Just what is that fuzzy haired embodiment of cartoonish buffoonery up to now, I wonder?

Turns out Boris has been a rather busy boy since being inexplicably rescued from the aforementioned zip-line escapade – and a very naughty one too. Following his stints as the figurehead of the notoriously mendacious Vote Leave campaign and as the most professionally despised Foreign Secretary of the modern era, Johnson has finally found himself where his supreme ego always insisted he belonged – Number 10 Downing Street.

And to say it’s not quite gone according to plan, would be an understatement on a par with describing the Hindenburg disaster as a “mild technical hiccup”.

A mere glance at a timeline of Boris Johnson’s first few weeks in office reveals what would be a sorry record of calamity were it attributed to a departing Prime Minister who had just finished a full term – yet Johnson has only just started.

Resounding defeat in his first six votes, his majority decimated – the tipping point being the moment it literally walked away from him as he was giving a speech – a conflict of interest scandal arising from back when he was London Mayor which he’s been unable to explain and, the final turd atop the shit sundae, was found by the Supreme Court to have acted unlawfully and providing misleading advice to the Queen.

And that’s without even mentioning the latest uproar with regards his deliberately inflammatory invective.

In truth, keeping up with the Johnson Travesty Train is a fruitless endeavour. Barely a day goes by without this shambling charlatan igniting another political dumpster fire with a cretinous utterance or hapless blunder. There was a school of thought, of which I aligned myself with, who considered a chaotic Johnson premiership to be a grim inevitability – but nobody, not even in the shadowy corners of their most nefarious nightmares, expected it to be quite this horrific.

While we live in a time of undoubted division, further dragged through the mud by a chillingly vituperative vernacular, I struggle to recall a more sinister administration than this one. Institutions and ideals which formed the bedrock of this country and its rise through history are now derided, besmirched and callously undermined. Parliamentary sovereignty? An overbearing inconvenience. The rule of law? A matter of opinion. The eleven most senior judges in the country? Inherently biased – and besides, what do they know about the constitution? The entirely unqualified Jacob Rees-Mogg clearly knows better.

And at the head of this grisly cabal, an absurdist caricature of Etonian privilege – utilising bemusing verbal flourishes and painfully rehearsed tomfoolery to cast a veil over his most insidious jaunts toward the murky depths of demagoguery. Each and every instance of cynically constructed whimsy serving as a deliberate distraction from a shameful back catalogue of conscious deception and attempts to drag the discourse right down to the gutter in order to galvanise the base he’s staked his political career upon.

It’s fair to say the charming clown act has suffering a timely yet jarring death. Befuddling japery, even with the joviality cranked up to eleven, simply doesn’t wash when it’s preceded by attempts to arbitrarily shut down our democratic institutions and crass dismissals of his parliamentary colleagues receiving death threats.

Case in point – his speech at the UN went down about as well as a cup of cold sick mixed with gravel.

In some respects, I’m able to at least glean a small semblance of hope from the justifiable horror his recent actions have caused. This isn’t normal, nor should apathy allow it to become established as such. Though this poisonous deluge of relentless propaganda isn’t going to abate anytime soon – not with Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings prowling the corridors of Number 10.

Democracy and the rule of law in this country were built up over centuries, establishing a reliable base from which our society could thrive by enjoying a free and comparatively unhindered existence; nor can it be obliterated overnight, save for a military coup.

But that’s not to say it isn’t fragile or that vigilance is unnecessary. The cracks are already beginning to show – growing in size with every government lackey who pushes the notion that independent judges are swayed by political bias and establishment loyalty; edging ever closer to the point of collapse as Boris suggests that the very institution of Parliament is somehow betraying its own people.

Boris Johnson plans to run an election characterised by a mantra of  “The people vs Parliament”.

Say no more.

The Bad, the Worse and the Gove – The Week That Regrettably Was

With Parliament undergoing summer recess, you could be forgiven for being lulled into a sense of calm. Sure the economic abyss of no deal is right around the corner, but when there’s less politics on TV it’s easier to pretend that everything is just hunky dory.

That said, Boris Johnson and his gaggle of duplicitous cronies are still on the prowl – so allow me to completely ruin your day with a few selected shots of misery from this past week.

Don’t thank me all at once:

Michael Gove Blames a Potential No Deal on the EU’s “Refusal to Negotiate”

Never before have I found the sight of a man drinking water unsettling, but Michael Gove raised the bar.

We all remember the carnival of cretinous cock swinging that was the Tory leadership debates. Why we had it all; the empty platitudes, the nauseating grandstanding, the deep, dark sense of foreboding that the country is about to disappear unceremoniously down the toilet.

Still, as agonising an experience as this was for the helpless onlooker, the tortuous nature of proceedings at least allowed it to be memorable – meaning it has become oh so easy for the wonder of hindsight to recount any instances whereby the ostensibly honourable candidates were later found to have been delivering their bold proclamations by way of their rectal passage.

Chief amongst the deluge of dubious declarations was the peculiar idea that somehow, in spite of all credible logic, a new leader would bring about a seismic shift, breaking open the long since concluded negotiations with the EU and finally delivering the fantastical Brexit deal they were simply too mean to allow us before.

Naturally every single candidate insisted that they were the right man to succeed in this implausible endeavour – expect Rory Stewart of course but, as the solitary sane candidate to make the TV debates, he had no chance of winning and was swiftly eliminated.

Perhaps the most notable of those insisting that they had a deus ex machina stashed away in their back pocket was one Michael Gove.

Despite bearing the look of a man who spent his formative years being deprived of his dinner money on a daily basis by Walter the Softy, Gove is clearly of the opinion that he’s a formidable opponent. Proudly referencing the time he supposedly got the better of Jeremy Corbyn with such gusto you’d have thought he’d actually defeated Darth Vader, it seemed he was of the unshakeable belief that he would force the EU to scramble back to the negotiating table through sheer force of will.

Which is why it was such a curious sight to see Gove and friends, not even two weeks into government, already being resigned to the novel idea that a negotiation the EU have repeatedly described as closed was actually closed.

All of a sudden the self-assurance had vanished. Gone was the vigorous chest-beating and steely defiance – in its place a pitifully feeble attempt at shifting the blame for a looming no deal at the feet of the EU; all for the apparent crime of maintaining a consistent stance.

The logic behind this blame game is as transparent as it is sinister. Despite the repeated gaffes and utterly ludicrous public statements, the likes of Michael Gove aren’t stupid. They know what they promised, they also know the damage a no deal Brexit would do to the country and, most importantly, they’re acutely aware of the staggering dissonance between their aforementioned promises and the increasingly desperate reality.

Nobody would want such a cataclysmic deception attached to their name, not least if you’re planning on attempting to quench your insatiable lust for power at the inevitable election. So sure, go ahead – blame the EU. Not only are they a convenient scapegoat, past experience has proved that, with enough strategically targeted shots of disinformation, a sufficient portion of the populace will find them a seductive enough fall guy upon which to attach liability for the woes you and your cronies inflicted.

Why else do you think Dominic Cummings is slithering around Number 10?

As No Deal Draws Closer, Claims of “Project Fear” Become More Absurd

Just in case you weren’t worried enough about potential shortages in medication, here’s our Health Secretary looking as though he’s been possessed by the very concept of despair.

You’ve most likely noticed that the phrase “Project Fear” has been cropping up more and more recently, which tends to be the case when the country is about to indulge in the monumentally stupid.

Despite its inherent laziness and total lack of recognisable logic, it has remained remarkably effective when it comes to swaying public opinion. Warnings of medication shortages and economic doom have never been the most palatable messages to swallow, irrespective of how credible they may be. So it naturally comes as a great relief to see a supposedly reputable figure glibly dismiss such worries, blithely ignoring the opposing arguments while making enough references to “Project Fear” to ensure that it burrows itself deeper into the zeitgeist.

Perhaps the most prominent target of this callous campaign to undermine any and all concerns is the NHS – which is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that people generally aren’t keen on the idea of dying on the back of there being no available treatment.

As a potential no deal Brexit lingers ever closer, the astonishing inadequacy of the UK’s preparations has become all the more stark – and no real answers have been forthcoming.

Armed with no solutions whatsoever, Boris Johnson and his cast of lamentable stooges had but one alternative – spin.

This began with the announcement of an extra £1.8bn in NHS funding. Sure, it wasn’t anywhere near the £350m per week that mendacious bus had told us about, nor was it quite the influx of new cash it was being heralded as, but that will have mattered not to Boris. It offered up the chance to embark on an apparently triumphant media onslaught and collect a few nauseating photo ops with the very NHS staff he was so cynically exploiting – reality be damned, in his solipsistic mindset this was a win.

However this was nothing compared to what former chancellor Lord Lamont came out with on Newsnight, turning in a performance as farcical as it was surreal as he transcended the concept of spin entirely and staked all his chips on a tactic of flat out denial.

Time and again he was presented with grim analysis from industry experts and doctors, only to casually bat them away on the rather unconvincing premise that he simply didn’t believe it. Not a single credible counterpoint was given, instead opting to rely on the somewhat conceited notion that his dispassionate word alone was enough.

Granted this detached arrogance and complete lack of empathy is perhaps what you would expect from a Tory peer but, as ludicrous as his self delusion was, it is necessary for their government to survive.

Boris Johnson’s government have effectively backed themselves into a corner, purely on the basis of successfully flogging a no deal being their de facto central policy. With the parliamentary arithmetic overwhelmingly against them and their majority cut to a single MP, any credence whatsoever given to the notion that a no deal would be a disaster will turn an already toxic package into an impossible sell.

The only potentially effective weapon they have in their arsenal is a narrative of perceived public support, hoping – however credibly – that when the inevitable stand off ensues the electorate will take their side.

The repeated spin and mindless cries of “Project Fear” aren’t really designed to win over their fellow parliamentarians, rather for keeping a potentially volatile public in check lest enough of them discover that the no deal Brexit being proposed by the government is likely to kill people.

The Government Considers the Backstop Undemocratic – Despite The Fact it Was the UK’s Idea

Would you buy a used car from this man? Hell, I wouldn’t even buy a pet rock.

When Boris Johnson unveiled his not at all far fetched plan to make Britain the greatest country on Earth based on mindless optimism and a curiously unquantifiable “can do spirit”, many were sceptical. This was the harsh reality of real life, not an Enid Blyton novel – just how the hell was this supposed to work?

The simple answer is – it wasn’t. After all, it doesn’t need to work if you carry out a suitably effective propaganda blitz of shameless dishonesty to distract away from your litany of failings.

This week provided us a perfect case in point, as we watched the disconcertingly ethereal Dominic Raab embark on a tour of the Americas – seemingly in a bid to position brazen deception as the top UK export.

While there, he engaged in many a media interview. While they all featured Raab’s signature brand of entirely unwarranted haughtiness, if you did manage to sit through them without feeling the need to conduct a frontal lobotomy on yourself, there was one subtle change to the script you may not have picked up on.

The backstop has long been derided, most often by sedentary garden vegetables like Mark Francois and his chums in the ERG, but Raab had introduced a different angle. It wasn’t just the backstop anymore – it was the “undemocratic backstop”.

Now why would they suddenly be calling it undemocratic?

A cursory look on your Google machine would reveal that it was suddenly everywhere, cropping up in interviews like a mantra designed to seep into your brain and cloud your perspective. Though there was something undeniably absurd about this latest narrative device, with even the slightest scratch to its surface revealing a deception so obvious, it was staggering that they would even try to pull it off.

Not only is the backstop a creation of the UK, it was Dominic Raab who negotiated it. Furthermore, as if the levels of hypocrisy involved hadn’t already pierced through the stratosphere, both Dominic Raab, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson voted for it as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.

So why take such a transparently dishonest stance? The answer to this, as with the majority of what is sinister coming out of this current administration, lies with Dominic Cummings.

Cummings sees himself as a disruptive force – a Machiavellian iconoclast whose approach isn’t so much about fixing what he perceives to be wrong with the system, rather demolishing it entirely. The sort of bloke who’d treat a gashed leg by hacking it off and handing you a crutch.

While his nihilism may not be entirely shared by the population at large, there is both a significant quantity of bitter resentment and a pervasive enough feeling of disenfranchisement brewing out there – and Cummings knows exactly how to fan the flames of anger towards his desired targets.

And what better way to divert the inevitable ire a no deal would bring towards the EU than by characterising them as malevolent oppressors, desperate to tighten their stranglehold on Britain by trapping them in the black hole of the “undemocratic backstop”?

It’s not true of course, as was previously demonstrated in a single paragraph, but the truth is always superseded by popular belief and, let’s face it, if they can get away with corrupting enough minds with as clear a falsehood as this one, there’s likely no limit to what they can get away with.



Prime Minister Boris Johnson – The Week That Regrettably Was

As difficult as it may be to believe, the apparent eternity of bullshit laced proclamations and shambling buffoonery known as the Boris Johnson administration we’ve suffered through was actually just over a week.

No really. It was. I’d offer my congratulations on making it through, but any residual pride you may have left over from from your survival will be immediately drowned by the realisation that we’ve got another few months of this preposterous carnival to navigate. At least.

Still, while our national prospects and collective dignity may be disappearing round the u-bend, our brazen deception industry is set to boom, with Johnson’s newly assembled cabinet of misfit toys providing enough stupefying insanity to make you want to catch the next shuttle out the Solar System.

To clarify the point, here’s a look at a few selected ‘highlights’ guaranteed to send debilitating chills through your very soul.

So, if you’re of a shamelessly masochistic disposition, read on:

Dominic Raab Claimed He’d Sold No Deal as a Possibility Before the Referendum

Don’t look so nervous Dominic. If you balls this up, just pretend you said something else later.

Remember Dominic Raab? Our erstwhile Brexit Secretary and suspected pod person who was lamentably ineffectual to the point whereby he made his predecessor David Davis look almost palatable by way of comparison?

Well he’s now our Foreign Secretary, which is quite the promotion for someone who’s only recently got to grips with the concept of an island. Still, he’s a dyed in the wool Brexiteer and, if the make up of Boris Johnson’s so called “war cabinet” is anything to go by, ideology far supersedes fusty old values such as competence and integrity – so Raab’s position in this hierarchy of horror was assured.

Apparently aware that they were a ramshackle gaggle of eternal incompetents which no sane electorate could ever approve of, this newly appointed cabinet embarked on a PR drive – with risible Raab front and centre.

Round the television studios he went, in his own mind delivering the bullish, uncompromising vision of a respected statesman while simultaneously appearing as a woefully inept charlatan attempting to bullshit his way out of every corner to those of us still left in reality.

There were many dubious claims and astonishing moments of reality denialism to pick through, ranging from the notion that our negotiating leverage will somehow increase having thrown everything away with no deal, to indulging in the now customary attempts to blame all our woes on supposed EU intransigence.

Though there was one particular claim that got people’s attention – the moment when the increasingly embattled Raab insisted that he himself had laid out a no deal Brexit as a possible option during he referendum.

Surprisingly Raab was challenged on this, finding himself immediately flustered when confronted with the apparently radical notion of a politician not being allowed to lie with impunity. Naturally he was unable to provide any actual examples, instead opting to mumble out vague allusions to an unspecified moment in which he might have said something.

But alas, it didn’t put the fact checkers off the scent and, upon closer scrutiny, it was revealed that the claim made by our unscrupulous Foreign Secretary came directly out of his arse.

However the sad conclusion of this pitiful debacle isn’t so much that Dominic Raab is a mendacious ideologue willing to play fast and loose with the truth to suit his agenda. That’s long since been known, even with the painfully late arrival of actual media scrutiny.

Instead it’s the hope sapping realisation that, irrespective of such an unashamed lack of integrity and abysmal ministerial record, Dominic Raab is our Foreign Secretary – duping the nation towards the abyss while the citizens he claims to serve watch on helplessly.

Andrea Leadsom Overloaded Her First Business Roundtable Meeting With Brexiteers Who Already Agree With Her

“One to Weatherspoons please”

Given that the central motif of this newly formed government is one of blustering defiance, it is of little surprise that cabinet stooges are falling in line with this baseless PR drive.

So who better than newly appointed Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom to clamber aboard the bandwagon of bullshit? After all, it was Andrea Leadsom who, two years ago, called upon broadcasters to leave justifiable concerns to one side and indulge in some state mandated propaganda, so any chance to wave a little flag and report that everything is unfathomably fantastic was always going to be something she’d dive into with glee.

And what finer an opportunity to bask in the superficial glow of mass scale self delusion than by inviting a group of business owners who just so happen to be heavily involved in eurosceptic campaigns to your first business roundtable meeting? 

Contributing to the pungent stench of confirmation bias was Gerald Mason from Tate & Lyle Sugars, also noted for running the ‘Brexit Golden Opportunity’ campaign, Tom Crotty from Ineos, a company run by noted Brexiteer Jim Ratcliffe and, of course, Weatherspoons’ Tim Martin, a man so terminally incorrect you’d be dubious of his answer if he claimed we were living on planet Earth.

Considering that the vast majority of business owners, both large and small, are generally of the opinion that Brexit is a fundamentally bad idea, this heavily slanted discussion was curious and many a theory sprouted as to the logic behind it. There’s a certain school of thought which, perhaps accurately, views this as a means of shovelling more coal into the PR train. Leadsom unsurprisingly described the meeting as “positive” and, let’s face it, the more optimistic soundbites you’ve got in your repository the easier it’ll be to repel the inevitability of difficult questions. The legitimacy of the answer is of little concern, Leadsom’s primary focus is to survive on a day by day basis.

However, given the incredibly disconcerting lack of competence in both Leadsom and indeed the entire cabinet, I can’t help but wonder whether this ideologically biased roundtable meeting is merely a comfort blanket for the faithful.

After all, our current destination is light years away from the sunlit uplands Leadsom so memorably promised. The idea that hey, maybe she was right all along must be rather seductive – regardless of how fallacious it may be.

Certainly preferable to contemplating the incensed backlash which would materialise when your deception is laid bare for all to see.

Boris Johnson is Spending £100m of Public Money to Prepare Citizens For The No Deal He Insists Won’t be a Problem

Who needs food when you can feast upon the succulence of baseless optimism?

The Tory leadership contest was quite a surreal experience to witness. Not only were the participants essentially presenting a sales pitch which the overwhelming majority of the audience had no actual means to either accept or decline, the ever insidious spectre of Brexit ensured that the headline act of this entire risible spectacle was a bizarre pissing contest in which contestants had to convince the befuddled nation they were the most serious about committing economic suicide.

Since Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minister, it would seem he emerged the triumphant rhetorician. However it was also worth noting that, with perhaps the exception of dead eyed soul vacuum Dominic Raab, Boris Johnson’s candidacy stood out from the rest simply due to his eagerness to dismiss the threat as no deal as only a minor concern. “Vanishingly inexpensive” was his phrase of choice as he spewed out a relentless stream of vapid soundbites, presumably in a bid to avoid scrutiny from the “doomsters” by causing their very bodies to shut down by way of sensory overload.

The trouble is it becomes somewhat more difficult to take the “vanishingly inexpensive” claim especially seriously when your first move is to spend £100m of public money on a glitzy ad campaign to not only prepare the nation for an event you’ve sold as unproblematic, but one you’re under no credible obligation to enact – and that’s not even mentioning the mind numbing absurdity of adopting a theme of boundless optimism while you simultaneously push public information campaigns ripped from the very same playbook you’d refer to in a time of war.

Cognitive dissonance aside, what we’re really seeing here is the simple incompatibility of Boris’ bluster and observable reality reaching critical mass. Johnson is basically trapped. Having risen to the highest office in British government by feverishly clinging to the coattails of specious populism, the mound of bullshit upon which his kingdom was built is now beginning to collapse – and there’s no plausible escape route.

An admission of deception wouldn’t help him, nor would an attempt to wind back the clock and call the whole thing off. As excruciatingly obsequious as his acolytes currently are, an admitted betrayal would see his base desert him and, given that his duplicitous shenanigans and woeful ineptitude saw anyone who values integrity in their public officials long ago, they’re all he’s really got left.

All he can do his plough onward, hoping against hope that the increasingly precarious balancing act he’s locked himself into doesn’t come crashing down and bury his career beneath the debris.

It will of course, providing perhaps the only fitting end to a charade of a public service career explicitly undertaken to cater to his own self interest.

The only question is, who else will be caught up in the blast radius as Boris Johnson’s cavalcade of catastrophe comes tumbling down?

The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.