The bad news comes flooding in. Rising water levels, horrified business folk and weirdos in Number Ten. While, as our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, the Prime Minister is nowhere to be seen.
Half a century ago, the late Tony Benn used to bang on about ‘issues, not personalities’. Or rather, as he put it in his inimitable way, ‘ishoos, not pershonalities’.
Doubtless he had a point. But sometimes what people are like tells us more than they’d like to let on.
Take no-show Bojo. He was all there, wellies akimbo, when flood victims needed help and he needed votes.
Not so, now he’s home and dry in Downing Street.
Didn’t show up for his divorce hearing this week either. But, then, nor did the ex missus. Didn’t need to, really, as they’ve already divvied out the dosh. Getting on for four million, for the former family home.
He did make it to a speech he delivered in India early last year though. As you do, when you’re being paid upwards of a hundred and twenty grand.
That’s not so very far short of what he gets for an entire year’s work as Prime Minister. Funny how these figures stack up.
Less funny, from the point of view of a host of employers involved in social care, food, hospitality and construction, is the new points-based immigration system announced this week.
Can’t get the staff these days? That’ll be no joke come the end of this year, when it’ll be a lot harder to recruit from EU countries those folk willing to do the badly paid, unsocial hours hard graft Brits aren’t fond of.
No worries, chortles the Home Office, set the nation’s ‘economically inactive’ people to work. Bosses can always up the wages, if need be.
Two problems, however. UK’s already close to full employment, while the ‘economically inactive’ sector mainly consists of students, retirees, carers of kids or oldies, and the long-term sick.
Besides, most outfits catering to the needs of dependent people in their homes run on a shoestring anyway. Which is why they pay peanuts or go bust.
Boring, tedious details. Boris likes to keep things simple. Remember he once said ‘f*ck business?’
Then there’s the equally straightforward promise, to ‘get Brexit done’. Looks like this is part of it. And getting rid of all those beastly foreigners is bound to tick a few boxes. Probably helped get him his eighty-seat majority in the first place. Yay!
Still, there’s a ray of hope. The upcoming review into the Windrush scandal was going to accuse the Home Office of being ‘institutionally racist’. But it seems they’ve taken that bit out.
And there’s more good news. When Idi Amin kicked all the Asians out of Uganda back in the 1970’s, the Home Secretary’s mum and dad made it to Britain.
Under the new rules they wouldn’t have got that lucky. But hey, that was then. This is now, which is how come plucky Priti Patel’s where she is, lording it over all she surveys in Marsham Street.
Not everyone’s happy, mind. There are reports this week that she tried to boot out her department’s Sir Humphrey, while loads of others are accusing her of bullying, belittling and creating an ‘atmosphere of fear’.
It gets worse. Allegations are pouring in that she’s been pushing people around for years.
Though it’s stressed there’s been no formal complaint levelled against her. But then, there wouldn’t be, would there, as apparently there’s no clear procedure in place for making one.
Dear oh dear, says the top civil servants’ union, our chaps in the Home Office are already working flat out, with most of them having to graft on even while off sick.
Perhaps a career change beckons. Should be plenty of job opportunities in a few months, if they fancy picking fruit or wiping old blokes’ bottoms.
Kindly Priti’s sure the price will be right. And if the lady says so, it must be so? Discuss.
Tut tut, the ghost of Tony Benn is surely saying. Political discourse is about ishoos, not pershonalities.
Well, up to a point, though there are plenty within senior ministerial ranks, and one recently shuffled off back to the back benches, who might say otherwise.
There’s debate raging in Westminster about whether Dominic Cummings is the Prime Minister’s chief aide, or if it’s the other way round.
Certainly, there are plenty who suspect Dom’s the one really wearing the trousers, as well as the beanie hats. Coming round to that view is the chancellor until last week, Sajid Javid.
Not content with having had a treasury adviser frogmarched out of Downing Street a little while back, Cummings also insisted Javid sling out his entire five-strong team – to make room for his own mob.
Some are now speculating that wasn’t really what Bojo had in mind, what with the budget coming up and all. Not to mention the fact he’d always said what a jolly fine fellow that Sajie is. The best-laid plans …?
But dominant Dom had already dreamed up an even better wheeze. Fill Number Ten with weirdos and misfits and everybody will be happy. Well, he will at least.
Step forward early entrant Andrew Sabisky. Having reached the impressive age of twenty-seven he’s certainly old enough to wear long trousers.
No need then to get him vetted prior to popping in on the Prime Minister and senior defence officials.
And no need to worry about his earlier political pronouncements.
Compulsory contraception for certain people, to prevent the creation of a ‘permanent underclass’. What’s wrong with that?
Far more black Americans than whites are so thick they’re bordering on mildly mentally retarded. It’s obvious, surely?
And it’s a woman’s Christian duty to have sex with her husband. Who can dispute that, for heaven’s sake?
He really did come out with this stuff.
Though when it all became public, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was strangely quiet about whether Boris was fully on board.
And it was a full twenty-four hours before Sabisky finally took the hint, and himself off.
Shame, really, he could have really shaken up the stuffy old nanny state with something rigorous.
A good spell in the army for newborn babies. It’d make a man of them all, including the girls.
And a bit of overdue penal reform to counter the political correctness brigade? In our hearts, we all know Morris dancers should walk the plank.
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his fascinating musings on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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