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”

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

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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

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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

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“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

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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?

Boris Johnson and the Inevitability of Failure

Well, it happened.

While an incredibly unedifying state of affairs, nobody can genuinely claim to be surprised. For years such a scenario was viewed as a grim inevitability, the direction of travel long being apparent as we bore witness to the perpetual circus of the Tory Party sliding from mere dysfunction into outright ideological insanity.

Many refused to believe it would happen, desperately clinging onto whatever disparate morsels of reason came along in the hope that, somehow, rationality would win the day. After all, the very idea in of itself was frankly ludicrous. We’re a sensible and highly respected nation – indulging in such self defeating buffoonery simply shouldn’t be on the agenda.

Yet, somehow, Boris Johnson is now our Prime Minster – so apparently it is.

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I’d like to say that this is going to end well but – it won’t.

Yes, in a regrettable turn of events which piss squarely in the face of an old adage insisting that cheats never prosper, Boris has got his wish. Having managed to mould a political career, a vocation which was ostensibly designed to serve the public interest, into a relentless, self aggrandising quest to gain supreme power through whatever unscrupulous means were necessary, his years of skulduggery have finally bore fruit. It matters little that it’s a harvest only an infinitesimal fraction of the country actually asked for – we’ve all got to swallow it down, no matter how bitter the taste.

So now what? Just what can we expect from an administration headed by this eternal political cipher, forever a hostage to his own desire for personal advancement rather than any sincerely held principle?

Nothing of value could really be gleaned from his leadership campaign because, let’s face it, what insight can really be gained from a shambling buffoon bellowing out shallow proclamations about the continued production of Mars bars while waving a kipper around? Granted it may have tantalised a hypothetical demographic which consider confectionery to be a hot button issue, but it’s not exactly an inspiring pitch from a man hoping to lead a country in which scores still live in poverty.

His maiden speech as Prime Minister unsurprisingly followed a similar theme. Boisterous optimism was the predictable order of the day, with Boris breathlessly promising that all manner of wondrous advancements will be ours to seize. There was no detail of course but then again, did there really need to be? Sure there are many of us who are suckers for apparently outmoded concepts such as substance and detail, but what use does Boris have for us? We didn’t vote him in, nor will our legitimate concerns hold any sway on the new Prime Minister when he can callously swat away the doubters with baseless defiance.

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Satire isn’t dead, it became real life.

There’s simply no place in Boris Johnson’s world for those pesky doubters, always out to puncture his grandiose bluster with scrutiny and expertise. The mass exodus of relative sanity from the cabinet both before and after his appointment is testament to this, making way for only his most obsequious and deluded acolytes to lavish him with the adoration he’s always craved. Boris cares not if his desires are unattainable, he just wants his fantasy to continue.

However as seductive a sensation as self delusion can be, being especially pervasive in the minds of the wilfully credulous, its credibility crumbles to dust when faced with the impassible obstacle of reality.

The Brexit conundrum facing Boris Johnson is as daunting as it is gargantuan, being underlined by the delicious irony that the most unobtainable desires he needs to somehow fulfil were entirely of his own creation.

While today is his day of triumph, tomorrow will be his day of reckoning – precipitating a turbulent journey of strife and frustration that no amount of reality denialism will be able to overcome; irrespective of how jovial it may be.

One by one his promises will fall, each being accompanied with a resounding thud as they crash to the ground. The faithful will keep their fingers firmly lodged in their ears of course, but that won’t change the uncomfortable truth of his failure. He won’t get the Withdrawal Agreement re-opened, he doesn’t have any solution to the backstop, GATT 24 isn’t the magic solution he’s claimed it to be and we sure as shit won’t be seeing £350m a week for the NHS.

I’ve got no doubt that his supporters (and there are many) will greet my cynicism with instinctive scorn, offering up the superficially reasonable objection that I’ve not given him a chance.

In truth, the ever dying optimist within me would love to subscribe to visions of a prosperous and fulfilling future under the reign of Boris Johnson. I’d love to throw negativity to one side and look past a career ridden with deceit, startling incompetence and enough bullshit to fertilise an entire continent.

But alas, I’m unable to do such a thing. Probably because he didn’t promise me a job in the cabinet.

Hunt vs Johnson – and how it finished Britain as a serious nation

Here’s a question for you.

What’s an hour long, completely devoid of reason, aimed towards a target demographic smaller than the average amoeba and features more impotent dick swinging than a bargain basement remake of The Full Monty?

Why it’s the ITV Tory Leadership Debate of course. A prime time extravaganza of toe curling misery in which we learn our future lies in the hands of one of two men – both incredibly wealthy, both with a track record of cataclysmic incompetence and both proposing ever so slight variations on the same unworkable plan.

It was a nice future we had once, wasn’t it?

Billed as a titanic clash between two fiercely competitive men, each convinced they had the magic solution to three years of unbridled woe, proceedings quickly descended into an unedifying pissing contest. Julie Etchingham valiantly attempted to regain control and wrestle some form of coherence out of the exercise, but this ultimately was in vain as important issues became clouded by farce and the onlooking nation left bemused and soaked in figurative piss.

Basically, it was dreadful.

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British politics – it’s somehow come to this.

Despite both plans, when viewed in direct contrast, being largely indistinct exercises in boneheaded futility, the two men did at least have opposing personalities giving the watching public at least some chance of distinguishing between them.

On one hand we had Jeremy Hunt. Current Foreign Secretary, scourge of junior doctors nationwide and an entrepreneur. How do I know he’s an entrepreneur? Because he’s told us he’s an entrepreneur, with the phrase “I’m an entrepreneur” achieving such mantra like status in Jeremy’s vernacular you can’t help but feel that he’s mentioning it through fear of his very sense of identity evaporating away if it doesn’t spill from his lips once every 17.8 seconds.

He wants to turbo charge the economy – whatever that means, though he assures us that, as an entrepreneur, he’s the man to do this. He’s also prepared to fashion a no deal exit if that’s what leaving the EU comes down to despite, as an entrepreneur who’s spoken with other entrepreneurs set to go out of business in such a scenario, being fully aware of just what a disastrous move this would be.

Confused? You should be – though you’re likely not viewing proceedings through the murky prism of Tory Party self interest. When you’re attempting to kowtow to a demographic of which 54% think the serially mendacious, botched satsuma spawn known as Donald Trump would make a good Prime Minister of Great Britain, you can leave reason and rational thinking at the door. It’s simply not welcome.

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Jeremy Hunt -Entrepreneur

Then we have the clear front-runner, Boris Johnson – a ghastly embodiment of self serving political chicanery. Lacking even a single scruple and holding the truth in the same withering regard as you’d possess for an outbreak of genital warts, this amoral societal tumour’s crowning achievement is somehow creating the charade of palatable legitimacy – largely on account of a carefully stage managed public image in which charming buffoonery has effectively acted as a Trojan horse to smuggle the malignant aspects of his nature through largely unnoticed.

For his litany of failings, Boris Johnson has always been adept at playing a crowd, and it was on full display last night – littering his pitch with grandiose declarations while making sure to throw in enough quips to divert the audience’s attention away from their painful lack of substance.

It seemingly mattered not one jot that what he was saying was either fundamentally wrong or vacuous to the point of being utterly worthless – the watching crowd lapped it up. Only a day before the Director General of the WTO had dismissed Boris Johnson’s Brexit masterplan as unworkable fiction, but did any of the whooping spectators really care? Of course not, he was making them laugh.

Easy answers, no matter how diametrically opposed to reality, are always gratefully received by the faithful when delivered with sufficient charisma – and so it came to pass.

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Presumably Tim’s second choice for Tory leader was Dr Seuss.

Given today’s frankly insane political climate, the metric for determining who actually won the night has shifted. Gone are the days where being triumphant in the battle of ideas will grant you victory – it’s simply not enough anymore.

Even in a debate as fruitless as this one, in which both propositions hinge entirely on a bullshit premise that the Withdrawal Agreement is open for change, the fact that Jeremy Hunt, while still delusional, won by virtue of having one toe tentatively within the realms of sanity is of no consequence.

In a post-truth world in which narrative reigns supreme, it’s a de facto irrelevance. Jeremy Hunt may have won the debate, but Boris Johnson won the crowd.

Regrettably, such superficial victories really are the bottom line these days. A calm, collected dissemination of the brutal reality we’re facing simply won’t tantalise this zeitgeist. It was of no surprise that Boris Johnson’s boisterous demand for optimism raised the biggest cheer of the evening. With a population lost in a state of tempestuous confusion, an uproarious declaration of self assured certainty is an enticing branch to cling onto. It’s solace that wins the day – the how and why is of minimal concern.

Perhaps it was all just an unfortunate inevitability. The circus of British politics has long been on an apparently irreversible slide into outright absurdity and the bombshell of Brexit only excavated further depths to which we could plunge. Not only does nobody know where we’re headed, the resultant debris has created a path too treacherous to even acknowledge.

As shallow and specious it may be, of course people are going to reach for the comfort blanket of easy answers.

After all, that’s why we have Nigel Farage. That’s why we have the Brexit Party.

And that’s why Boris Johnson will be our next Prime Minister.

Boris, Nigel and the Politics of Deceit

For the longest time Boris Johnson, the inexplicable nailed on favourite to become the next Prime Minister of Britain, had kept a disconcertingly low profile. Weeks came and went, many a proxy blustered and faltered, yet the would be emperor remained in hiding – festering away in a pool of his own risible cowardice wearing majestic robes only his most sycophantic of acolytes could see.

Yet what was the reasoning behind this uncharacteristically reclusive turn? Was it down to a genuine desire to provide a credible pitch, spending each retiring day meticulously working out the angles in order to craft a proposal which wasn’t only inspiring, but actually feasible? Or was it merely a timely moment of uncharacteristic introspection, realising that the race could be won purely through damage limitation and keeping the abominable omnishambles of human wreckage known as Boris Johnson as far away from the piercing scrutiny of public interest as possible?

I’ll let you decide – but it’s the latter.

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Feel free to enjoy the last few remaining days in which Boris Johnson isn’t our Prime Minister. I intend to.

Having finally slithered from his lair into view, Boris Johnson’s campaign to be the leader of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was now in full flow – the torrent in question being one of unrefined bullshit.

High in waffle, low on detail and tangential to the point where you could be easily mistaken into believing you were listening to the hazy mutterings of a volatile acid casualty rather than a Prime Minister in waiting; which in turn begged the question – given that Boris Johnson has been preparing for this moment all his life, how was it possible for his pitch to be this dreadful?

Through the deluge of vacuous drivel however, there was one relatively consistent feature – specifically the notion that the naive mantra of “No deal? No problem!” will be made an improbable reality by the magic of GATT 24. A much cited technicality which has found its mentions rising in tandem with the general sense of desperation as a no deal Brexit creeps ever closer.

Regrettably, there’s one tiny problem – it’s bullshit.

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When even the disgraced Liam Fox is calling out your bullshit, chances are your plan is on very shaky ground.

This particular red herring has blighted the discourse for months, in spite of it being debunked time and time again. It’s been decimated so comprehensively it’s frankly staggering that, not only is it allowed to be pontificated as a credible point, it remains a disconcertingly pervasive deception.

Almost as if the truth stopped mattering a long time ago.

The sad reality is the GATT 24 swindle isn’t an isolated act of chicanery. We’ve become so hopelessly beaten down by a barrage of selective half truths and outright deceit that trying to firefight the onslaught has almost become an exercise in futility. Not only are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fallacious claims, each having long since spread through the populace like an especially contagious virus, you’re also up against arguably the most formidable element of the con – exploitation of personal bias.

To illustrate this point, there’s only one man you need to look to:

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Let’s be honest – who else was it going to be?

Yes, just when you thought it was safe to open your eyes and tentatively peer out at the world around you, the monstrous visage of Nigel Farage takes an unceremonious dump upon your visual cortex. If there’s ever been a greater beneficiary of cultivating paranoia and nurturing an initial sapling of prejudice into a vast forest of proactive bigotry, then I’d rather not be witness to them for the sake of my ever dwindling faith in mankind.

Nigel’s often painted as the political equivalent of a used car salesman, schmoozing his marks with a combination of machine gun rhetoric and a meticulously crafted ‘proper bloke’ persona – but neither element would be successful without the devious selection process which identifies his targets.

The base upon which he preys can somewhat neatly divided into three categories – the disenfranchised, the misguided and the outright bigoted. This unfortunate trinity not only has its potency amplified by considerable and regular overlap at certain points, all three are underpinned by an element which sends its impact into the stratosphere – anger.

There’s nothing that fuels a desire for action more than a deep seated sense of persecution, whether it’s actually justified or simply spawned as a result of your own delusions – and Farage has long since known which buttons to press for maximum effect.

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“And if you look to my right, you’ll see the root cause of your lifelong sense of unhappiness.”

Whether he’s blathering about “betrayal” or concocting a narrative that an insidious wave of migrants are arriving from overseas to steal your job in particular and flog it for £5.99 on eBay, the message always has the desired effect. Not only planting the seeds of unbridled fury in the mind of his quarry, but inspiring the notion that their personal dissatisfaction, far from being within the realms of their own responsibility, is actually the fault of a simplistic (yet conveniently too far away to verify) boogeyman.

And it is at this point whereby the small matter of whether there’s actually any truth to this or not effectively becomes an irrelevance. They don’t just want it to be true – they need it to be true. It matters little whether their initial resentment came from a place of ill founded intolerance or a set of unfortunate circumstances entirely beyond their control – the entire spectrum is now ensnared within Nigel’s trap, unwitting pawns to whichever whims work towards his own personal advancement.

The prevailing trend of narrative superseding truth may work on the campaign trail, allowing the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage to prosper in their respective aims by spinning whatever tall tale works best within the current zeitgeist, its continued and increasing success does give rise to a criminally overlooked societal tragedy brewing underneath.

As unedifying as it is to see a fringe lunatic spewing out spurious nonsense to a select few, the threat it poses to the collective is ultimately minimal. In the case of these two men it’s different. Their reality warping trickery has granted them a lot of influence – so much so that one of them is about to become our next Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson’s rise to power has been as cynical as they come, callously tailoring his policies to whichever crowd he happens to be in front of at the time. The fact that his entire political persona stands atop a pungent mound of duplicity won’t matter to him, but it’ll matter to all those who back him in the mistaken believe he’s about to make their lives better.

And when it all falls apart it won’t be Boris who’s left scraping through the debris to salvage some sense of hope.

It’ll be them.

Open letter to the Tory Party – Please don’t elect Boris Johnson

Dear Conservative Party members,

How are things? Life treating you well? I can only hope that it’s being considerably kinder to your good selves than your party has been to the country. I appreciate internal disputes happen within any sizeable group, but it was a tad rude to drag the rest of us down with them. For instance I can tolerate hearing my neighbours screeching at each other through the walls every other day, but I’d be rather more peeved if they tried to resolve the tension by burning the entire street to the ground.

But not to worry, right? After all, there is a chance for redemption on the horizon – at least ostensibly.

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“Hopeful” isn’t a word I’d personally choose.

Yes, the excruciating and protracted agony of a Tory leadership contest is reaching its inevitable conclusion – abject misery. However, there is at least a choice as to which flavour of misery to poison our nation’s future with. Ranging from the familiar to the delusional, all the way down to the plain demented; it’s less a choice as to who can lead us to a prosperous future, rather who can crash the bus in such a way that fewer passengers perish as it careens off the cliff.

However, who will become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain isn’t up to the British public – what a preposterous notion that would be. No, in fact the choice lies with you – the Tory Party membership.

Now I may have my quibbles about how approximately 130,000 potential voters isn’t especially representative of a country comprised of 65 million people but alas, that’s the hand we’ve been dealt and no amount of grumbling will change it.

That’s not to say there’s my arsenal is completely empty. Innocuous and ultimately impotent it may be, I still have the option of an impassioned plea.

And that plea is simple – for the love of all that is remotely sacred, do not elect this man:

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Hold onto your hats guys, it’s going to be a bumpy one.

Inevitably, we’re talking about Boris Johnson. Amongst a group of candidates that send  debilitating shivers right down to the very base of my spine, Boris stands apart as the most wretched alternative of all.

After all, why wouldn’t he? A man who spent £43 million of public money to not build a bridge. A man who happily aided and abetted the potential assault of a journalist. A man who has been repeatedly sacked for dishonesty. A man who is not only reviled by those who have had the misfortune of working alongside him, but whose grasp on diplomacy is beneath that of malignant tumour.

A man who could very well be our next Prime Minister.

Despite being somewhat of a pessimist, cynicism hasn’t entirely overridden my brain. I’d love nothing more than to place my trust in the collective sanity of your membership, to be reassured that this veritable car crash of a politician will be rejected by voters and finally bring this overlong cavalcade of risible ineptitude to an inglorious yet fitting end.

I wish this were the case – it’s just a shame that it isn’t.

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Now if there were a poll as to who you’d rather fire into the Sun, fair enough. But it isn’t.

Pretty horrific, right? Well, if you thought that was bleak, take a look at the results of the second round:

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Absolutely terrifying.

A grim inevitability if ever I saw one, with the elimination of MP for The Uncanny Valley Dominic Raab only bolstering Boris’ position on account of there being nobody else for the lunatic wing to vote for.

So that’s it. Barring a typically Boris Johnson style implosion (which, to be fair, Boris Johnson is known for) it looks like he’s already booked his place on your final ballot – and it will be then down to you.

Though if you are to dismiss my concerns and are set on casting your vote for the bequiffed bullshitter, then I have one question to ask you – what does Boris Johnson actually stand for?

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The lights are on, but Steve Bannon hasn’t arrived home yet.

The obvious inclination would be that he stands for Brexit – at least if your only exposure to Boris Johnson is the narrative his handlers are desperate to maintain. What Boris himself actually thinks is in significant dispute; along with the question as to whether he holds any opinion of substance at all.

Keeping track of Boris Johnson’s shifting politics is as futile an endeavour as chasing a mosquito in a tsunami, shamelessly riding whatever populist wave roars over the horizon with a brazen disregard for logical consistency; forever safe in the knowledge that a deluge of loquacious waffle will create a flimsy yet effective enough veneer of plausible deniability should his capricious nature ever be called out.

When Johnson makes a declaration, a quick Google search unearths a moment when he said the opposite. If he denies he made a claim, a slight scratch beneath the surface will reveal that he actually did. An ever shifting phantasm – impossible to define and whose entire political identity is as a servant to fashionable whims and unaccountable entities who offer a leg up on the proverbial greasy pole of power.

As much as it physically pains me to admit, there is a sense of grudging admiration to be had as to the effectiveness of Team Boris’ strategy – however inexplicable its success may be. To have elevated such a dismally unremarkable chancer of no virtuous qualities to the cusp of becoming the Prime Minister of Britain is no mean feat. Deviously exploiting the paranoia of the desperate and creating a pervasive narrative of credibility in the void left behind by a failing media, who allowed box office to supersede the quest for the truth a long time ago.

In truth, this plea is somewhat redundant. The Johnson Juggernaut hasn’t been deterred by demonstrable reality, let alone the futile protestations of just one man. Hell, even his laughable cowardice in evading scrutiny as though it were the black death hasn’t caused mass realisation that the emperor has his bollocks hanging out.

He wasn’t just hidden away for fear he’d self immolate, a PR campaign simply wasn’t required. The mythos of Boris has long since been ingrained in the faithful. Built up over years of stage managed buffoonery and ruthlessly calculated cynicism, all to create an identikit politician – vacuous and malleable yet perfectly crafted to game the system.

And now he’s all set to become your leader. Our leader. The last step in a meticulously mapped out long game, finally wielding ultimate power without a single principle to work with – an entire country at the behest of a charlatan.

That is, if you don’t stop it.

But that’s down to you.

The Tory Leadership Race – A Tale of How We’re Utterly Screwed

Well, she’s gone.

It’s hardly a surprise. Theresa May’s eventual demise had been as inevitable as Piers Morgan feigning indignation – yet somehow more excruciating. Observing the sorry sight of Theresa May limping through these past few months, her power ever dwindling and the already dubious proclamations becoming increasingly laughable, was like having a front row seat at the world’s most soul destroying pantomime.

On and on she went, lurching from disaster to outright calamity with each parliamentary speech being underpinned by a cacophony of derisive laughter. Every single time she wandered in front of the lectern, half of you would be expecting a resignation while the remaining half would be hoping for one.

Until it finally came. The end of Theresa May’s miserable reign, signed off with an actual whimper.

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I’d say “missing you already”, but that would be a massive lie.

While it’s true that May will be missed by approximately nobody, her farewell monologue providing a timely reminder of the self delusion that plagued her leadership as she rattled off a list of achievements which presumably belonged to a different Prime Minister, it would be the apex of folly to say we’re over the worst.

Far from it.

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Please pass on my deepest sympathies to your tentative hopes for a bright future.

Yes, that’s right. That unrelenting wave of optimism eroding misery which has suddenly engulfed you is another Tory leadership contest – and, if that wasn’t a cause for despair in of itself, the spectre of Brexit is still looming large, insidiously seeping into the minds of prospective candidates and raising the insanity level by a factor of sixteen.

Not to say that sanity is ever with the Tories in abundance. Indeed, the roll call of aspirants reads like a ‘Who’s who’ of the most duplicitous, incompetent and ideologically demented politicians of the past three years. It speaks cacophonous volumes that, when scanning the list of hopefuls, you’re left concluding Jeremy Hunt is one of the more palatable options. Sure, he left the NHS on life support and can’t remember the nationality of his own wife, but at least he can probably count to ten.

To say that the pool of talent amongst the front runners is meagre doesn’t really do justice to the cold dread that immediately overwhelms your senses as the image of them bumbling through the doors of Number 10 flashes through your mind. We’re not simply talking your garden variety of hapless jobsworth here – we’re talking Esther McVey.

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Potentially your future Prime Minister there, having absolutely no issue with parents picking which parts of the curriculum their children should undertake based on nothing but their own bigotry.

Chances are your mind will immediately revert to what, on the face of it, is a rational defence mechanism. “But that’s just Esther McVey.” you’ll protest. “As if that terminal dimwit will ever garner enough support to be Prime Minister!”

In a less asinine period, this would be a credible safety net. Esther McVey couldn’t be trusted to babysit a shoe, let alone run a nation that’s fractured right down the middle and about to topple into the abyss (which incidentally, is an outcome Esther is inexplicably pushing for). Yet, as improbable as a McVey premiership may indeed be, all bets are off when you catch a glimpse of the preposterously bequiffed new potato leading the pack:

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There is no God.

Ah yes – Boris Johnson. I remember him. A man so unremittingly focused on his self imposed destiny of becoming our Prime Minister, he forgot to pick up a few things along the way. You know – integrity, moral fibre, the respect of anyone who has had the misfortune of working with him? All the basics that make up a functional member of the human race really. A man so lacking in sincerity that even Grima Wormtongue is a more trustworthy source on matters of reality, the very fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could even be a distant possibility, let alone a probable inevitability is the sign of a country that has lost it’s collective mind.

Speaking of a total loss of critical faculties, the entire leadership race has fast turned into a painfully unhinged race to the bottom. Granted we already knew the likes of Dominic Raab (a man so notably inept that he only recently noticed Britain is an island) were ideologically entrenched beyond repair – but Brexit has poisoned the well to such an alarming degree that comparatively credible candidates are left scrambling in the haze, desperately grasping at whatever half baked solution comes within touching distance of their fingers.

People like the curiously affable Rory Stewart are reasonable enough to know that Brexit is going to leave us a few million light years from utopia and, in a less ludicrous time, would likely make a someway decent Prime Minister. But alas, unbridled insanity with a side order of blind faith is the order of the day and the rest of the menu neglects to cater for anyone with an allergy to self immolation – so poor old Rory is forced to tentatively set foot into the rabbit hole should he wish to have any chance of winning.

Even more troubling, for many of the Tory membership Stewart’s desperate pragmatism doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Cutting off just one foot simply won’t do if you wish to ingratiate yourself with the disconcertingly sizeable manic wing of the party. If you want to win favour upon this key battlefield, you’ll need to really believe in Brexit and amputate every extremity below the torso; lest you be accused of talking our great nation down.

In terms of likely winners, this realistically leaves us with anybody who tows the line of “No deal is better than no Brexit” – sincerely or otherwise. So what we’re left with is a split between people credulous enough to believe completely cutting ties with the largest trading bloc on the planet is somehow a good idea, and cynical careerists who put personal advancement in front of the prosperity of a nation they claim to serve.

All in all, it’s paints a rather murky picture in terms of a hopeful future. While Britain has always had its problems, many of which are still prevalent to this day, the unceremonious dump Brexit curled out upon the canvas has served to deepen these woes further – cementing us in an especially putrid stasis, each individual citizen stranded waist deep in the mire.

Tossing rationality to one side, part of me finds itself almost yearning for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister. After all, he was the figurehead of Leave. He was the one who stood on a message of “hope” and that Brexit was the key for a glorious future. A cry which has long since echoed around the hard line echo chambers is that, if a Brexiteer had been at the helm, everything would have been fine – so why not just let them have what they want, while the rest of us sit back and watch the bullshit fuelled prosperity train fail to leave the first station?

In many respects, it would be somewhat satisfying to watch the charlatans flounder at every turn as their previous bluster recedes to a perplexed murmur. At least until the rational part of my brain suddenly taps me on the shoulder and offers the timely reminder that I still have to live here.

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The embittered mumblings of a serial malcontent.