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
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
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
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?Follow @grahamlithgow