Beginning to See the Light: We suffer for the lust for power at any price
‘She said, ‘Money is like us in time
It lies, but can’t stand up’
Down for you is up’
As another week in sleazeville comes to an end, nothing changes, chaos abounds.
‘How can I be the thrust – the throttle – your mere footstep as you make your career? Tell me: how I can help you?’
No, this isn’t a message from the pit crew to Lewis Hamilton, it’s our PM seeking to use his influence and our money to get his leg over. The quote is from previously unpublished diary extracts by the US businesswoman, Jennifer Arcuri.
If true, these claims could reopen the possibility of Johnson facing a potential criminal investigation into misconduct allegations. In addition, he may have broken rules governing ethical conduct in public office in his dealings with her.
Another diary entry, from 2012, states that Johnson told her: ‘I can barely control myself whenever I see you. You make me too excited. Baby I couldn’t wait. All year I have been waiting for you. All year. You drove me nuts. I have thought about no woman as I have thought of you.’
This is vomit inducing, and this man is Prime Minister?
Obviously, this overactive libido is a family issue as, this week, his father, Stanley Johnson, has been accused of inappropriately touching a former cabinet minister as well as a senior political journalist.
Caroline Nokes, who chairs the women and equalities committee, said (Stanley) Johnson had smacked her on the bottom in 2003, while he was in the running to be MP for Teignbridge in Devon.
‘How can I be the thrust – the throttle – your mere footstep as you make your career?’
Ailbhe Rea, political correspondent for the New Statesman, said she was grateful to Nokes for speaking out, saying (Stanley) Johnson ‘groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019’.
(Stanley) Johnson told Sky News he had ‘no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all’ when approached by the broadcaster. The Home Office minister Damian Hinds said on Tuesday there should be an investigation into the claims ‘if that’s the appropriate course of action’.
Continuing with life in the fast lane, we slipstream into the VIP lane, as a Conservative party donor who supported Michael Gove’s Tory leadership bid won £164m in Covid contracts after the minister referred his firm to a ‘VIP lane’.
And from the VIP lane we finish with bullying which, of course, means Priti Patel. Readers may remember that last year Alex Allan, Johnson’s independent adviser on the ministerial code, resigned after the PM chose not to act on a critical report about Patel.
After a Cabinet Office investigation, citing instances in which she had shouted and sworn at staff, Allan found Patel had displayed ‘behaviour that can be described as bullying’ and that she had ‘not consistently met the high standards expected of her’.
His report suggested she had breached the ministerial code, even if unintentionally.
As a result of this, the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, has brought a judicial review of his decision, probing the legal status of the ministerial code, which will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice today and tomorrow.
All this sleaze, added to the governments inability to govern is taking its toll. After a summer showing a small but very steady lead for the Tory’s, things have started to unravel. Whilst Rishi Sunak’s October budget had a positive effect it was quickly overtaken by the Owen Patterson affair.
The polling averages extrapolated by politics.co.uk since Patterson’s resignation on 4th November show the two main parties now neck and neck, with Labour on 36.6%, the Conservatives on 36.1%, and the Liberal Democrats on 9.3% (1). Translated into a general election scenario it would mean:
Given all the above it comes as no surprise that Johnson and his mob are choosing to keep the Brexit pot simmering, he knows nothing ignites the passion of the converted like a spate with the EU.
This time he has chosen to up the ante asking the EU to remove the role of judges in the European court of justice (ECJ) as the arbitrators of disputes. This is an area where the EU cannot concede, it’s fundamental to the entire European project, and therefore ideal for Johnson to play the martyr to his audience.
Our Brexit minister, David Frost, told the House of Lords last Wednesday that triggering article 16 – which would suspend elements of the arrangements designed to maintain free-flowing borderless trade on the island of Ireland – would be the UK’s only option if the dispute was not resolved.
However, last Friday, in talks with Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission vice-president said there had been a change in tone from Frost, confirming the UK had stepped back from the brink of triggering article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol.
‘No no no Frosty, fuck this, what happens with a deal?’
In a statement, Lord Frost’s office said, ‘significant gaps remain to be bridged’ and that the threat of article 16 remained on the table. But it noted that Frost’s preference was ‘to find a consensual way forward’.
Much, if not all, of the problem surrounding NI seems to stem lack of understanding of the Brexit withdrawal agreement he signed in January 2020. This was confirmed by Johnson’s former special adviser Dominic Cummings, who tweeted, ‘It wasn’t until October 2020 that [Boris Johnson] even vaguely realised what the customs union is,’ a reference to a key part of the withdrawal agreement through which the UK would get a clean break from the EU outside the single market and its special customs club.
He wrote that the PM’s ‘face was priceless’ when Frost explained.
‘I will never forget the look on his face when, after listening to Frost in a meeting on the final stage of the [trade deal] negotiation, he said, ‘No no no Frosty, fuck this, what happens with a deal?’ and Frost looked from his paper and said, PM this is what happens with a deal, that’s what leaving the customs union means.’
Johnson may be a skilled campaigner, and a decent public speaker but there is more to being PM than that. Putting his lack of understanding of the treaty he negotiated to one-side, there is another episode that further highlights his careless, carefree, irresponsible attitude to almost everything.
I refer to his mishandling of the case of Richard Ratcliffe’s wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe which summarise his modus operandi perfectly.
Whilst Nazanin had been detained in Iran since April 2016, Johnson’s most destructive action didn’t happen until 6-months later when, as foreign secretary, he told a Commons committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was ‘simply teaching people journalism’, apparently oblivious to her insistence that she had been in Iran on holiday. Three days later, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was hauled before an unscheduled court hearing in Iran, where Johnson’s words were cited as proof that she had engaged in ‘propaganda against the regime’.
‘turning-up to his own climate conference, unprepared, armed only with a few warm-up jokes’
As if this wasn’t sufficient, her husband believes a subsequent move a few days later, as Johnson sought to put out the fire he had started, cost his wife most dearly. Trying to defuse the situation he had created, Johnson briefed friendly papers that Britain would repay the £400m it owed Iran for an unfulfilled 1970s arms deal, a move he clearly tied to Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release. According to Ratcliffe, setting that price for Nazanin and not meeting it is ‘why she is still held to this day’.
This carelessness typifies the man; a failure to grasp the situation, a total lack of concern for anyone else, and not caring about the impact his actions would have on others.
This, naturally, begs the question, were his fellow Tory MP’s who elected him as party leader, unconcerned or unaware of his failings?
Had they been aware they wouldn’t be surprised or shocked at his antics, such as turning-up to his own climate conference, unprepared, armed only with a few warm-up jokes and vague exhortations. Or by his cavalier response to calls for a Covid lockdown, shouting to his advisers that they should ‘let the bodies pile high in their thousands’.
As Ratcliffe recalls, Johnson playbook is consistent; straight after he made his calamitous remarks to the commons committee, he ‘didn’t apologise, but sent his mates out on the airwaves to defend him and to muddy the waters’. This is no different to his handling of the Owen Paterson affair when he sent cabinet underlings out to defend the indefensible.
His only real concern seems to be keeping the Daily Telegraph briefed and on-side, to ensure the troops on the ground maintain their belief
The dreadful racism issues that are currently engulfing English cricket are symptomatic of this devil may care attitude. Leadership, guidance, and standards are driven from above. When you have a PM using phraseology such as ‘looking like letterboxes’ to describe Muslim woman or referring to black people as ‘piccaninnies’ and talking about ‘watermelon smiles’, it becomes a race to the bottom.
At heart, Johnson, like most of us is a dreamer, he sees himself as Winston Churchill, ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’. In truth, he is more Flashman, a rather nasty bully, this was evidenced yesterday at PMQs. As the Guardian wrote, ‘what we got was Boris at his absolute worst. Not the ‘everything’s great, Bertie Booster’ Boris. Not even the nauseating, ersatz absent-minded joker Boris. But the raw, childlike, unchannelled, psychotic Boris. Angry, out of control and out of his depth. Lashing out randomly while blaming others for his own shortcomings. The shallowness of his empty narcissism ruthlessly exposed. Not a pretty sight and one normally only seen by women and friends he has betrayed.’
‘Lashing out randomly while blaming others for his own shortcomings. The shallowness of his empty narcissism ruthlessly exposed’
There is only so far you can go with positivity and wit, ultimately being PM requires attention to detail, listening to briefings, and having a firm grasp of the issue. This again became apparent when, yesterday afternoon, he appeared before the liaison committee, the supergroup of select committee chairs, where Labour’s Chris Bryant exposed what everyone had long suspected. Johnson hadn’t bothered to read the Owen Paterson report before whipping his MPs to ignore it. He couldn’t remember telling John Whittingdale that there was cross-party consensus for his sham committee. Even if Whittingdale could
The real issue with all of this isn’t Johnson himself, he is what he is. His behaviour isn’t new, he has carried on this way for years. Put simply, he believes that rules are for others, detail is boring and for’ girly swots’ (2), he cares only about himself and his pleasures.
The fault lies with the Tory party itself and its insatiable need to be the party of government. They knew full well Johnson’s failings; they chose to ignore them because he was their best option at the ballot box.
The Tory’s need to take a long hard look at themselves. They need to practise what they preach and put country before power. They are not the patriots they view themselves as, but pragmatists doing whatever it takes to hang onto power.
Shame on you all.
‘And where will she go, and what shall she do
When midnight comes around
She’ll turn once more to Sunday’s clown and cry behind the door’
Philip’s not pulling any punches – ‘another week in the shitshow that passes for the government in this country. I have picked parts out of the sleaze scandal, there is so much it’s beyond belief’.
Indeed there is much to lament as the true depth of the sleaze pit was revealed – Nadim Zahawi trousered £1.3 from an oil company. Uh huh. Grant ‘Two Planes’ Shapps used taxpayers’ money to lobby against government plans to build housing and develop green energy. Yup. The Saj squirrelled away £150k a year from an AI company whilst promoting the use of AI technology in the NHS. Well of course he did.
This rotten bunch are all ‘at it’, yet there doesn’t seem to be anybody capable of delivering a coup de grace from across the floor; who knows what else there is to come. Angela Rayner appears to be one of the few with anything in the credit column.
Philip’s never left us in any doubt as to how he thinks of Boris, of whom he says – ‘he isn’t capable of being PM, he is simply a hedonist, seeking pleasure and privilege where he can. He takes no responsibility for his actions, and cares nothing for others’ adding ‘People to him are trinkets, adornments to be picked-up and discarded as he pleases’.
He makes the valid point that he was just fine with the Tories all the time they were romping home at the ballot box, but recent events seem to be starting to have an effect at the polls.
Now that Alok Sharma has dabbed his eyes dry, the Sleepy Brothers – Boris ‘n’ Joe – have set about dishing out fossil fuel licenses in record numbers. Admittedly with the odd tuk tuk being swept down Tamil Nadu High Street, India can rejoice in its 11th-hour victory in securing another forty years of increasing coal use.
(of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor.
And so it’s back to business as usual, and fibbing to people; Grant Shapps has obviously studied hard at the university of Michael ‘I’ll make you stinking, filthy rich’ Green as he was trotted out to explain why Northern Powerhouse Rail actually IS HS2, just as Boris promised, in fact its even better, so just say thank you. Even though it doesn’t go to where we promised it would. OK.
And then there’s Brexit and taking back control of our borders; the Home Office’s yappy little attack dog has consistently proven her bark is worse than her bite – unless you have the misfortune to work for her. Maybe the ace in the hole is for her to offer employment to the people smugglers; one hairdryin’ and they’d be off.
However, the latest brainwave, delivered by Dominic ‘as mince’ Raab – is to send would be asylum seekers to Albania to be processed. Delve deeper than the headline – Albania would throw Tommy Robinson out for being too inclusive, and at £100,000 per migrant, at current levels that would cost £100,000,000 a day. Upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing.
‘Lyrically, this week we return to the Velvet Underground, choosing two-songs that really are vicious whilst sounding innocent. ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ is very apt. We end with the hauntingly beautiful ‘All Tomorrows Party’s’ said to be about the inability of the costumes we wear to conceal the person underneath.’ Enjoy!
Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s