Boris Johnson doesn’t even like parties, by all accounts. He prefers to be left alone with women. Yet parties are killing him. His premiership seems horribly stuck in the news huit clos that is partygate: every time he thinks he’s out, those rule-breaking sessions in Downing Street pull him back in. His various stratagems aren’t working. The kicking-the-can ‘wait for Sue Gray’ approach only drags the crisis on. The sabre-waving at Putin over Ukraine isn’t doing much either. It’s all a bit complicated.
The media and (let’s admit it) quite a lot of the public would rather gawp at party photographs and talk about how much we, the people who didn’t make the rules, sacrificed while they, the people who did, lived it large. Yesterday, the PM accused Keir Starmer of protecting Jimmy Savile and the Labour frontbench of doing drugs. But that sounded desperate and a bit petty. No, to escape with his job, Boris needs to think more radically. Steerpike, helpful as ever, has some bold suggestions:
1) Re-hire Dominic Cummings. Boris, aka ‘The Trolley,’ could bring back a sense of propriety and direction to his administration by bringing the, er, steady hand of Dom back to No. 10. Make him Supreme Master of All Government. That title ought to do it. Promise him power to veto any decision his underling, the Prime Minister, takes.
2) Blame his wife for everything. This tactic, deployed by married men often and everywhere, might not ooze dignity. But politics is anyway turning into reality TV and a little bit of public relationship breakdown might be exactly what a bored country wants. It’s already become a bit of a meme that Carrie enjoys a good party, given she’s now accused of being involved in quite a lot of the lockdown socialising in Downing Street. Would Boris really have been the one discussing interior furnishings with Lulu Lytle?
Boris fancies himself a ‘world king’ famously, and desperate monarchs have been known to off their wives when in trouble. Why not throw the ‘Princess of Whales’ under the party bus? Perhaps she could be forced to leave Downing Street through the front door as the angry victims of Covid lockdown policies chant ‘Shame! Shame!’ He could also ditch his amazingly unpopular ‘Net Zero’ commitments, saying all that was driven by Carrie and her band of eco-enthusiasts.
3) Become an ardent remainer. Slight change of tack here, but Boris could completely wrongfoot his fiercest opponents by admitting that Brexit was ‘a complete catastrophe’ and vowing to return Britain to the loving embrace of the European Union as soon as humanly possible. ‘If Boris goes, Brexit goes,’ tweeted Lord Adonis, recently, which rather gave the game away. Just imagine how quickly all the pompous ranting about the rottenness of character would turn to grudging respect and then to admiration. Sometimes real leadership is about admitting that you got it wrong. Alternatively, he could…
4) Invade France. Ukraine just won’t cut it. Rather than appeal to his enemies, he could try to declare his full intention to go to war with France until Emmanuel Macron apologises for calling him un ‘gougnafier’. That’ll teach him for being rude — and us for dwelling on minor infractions of lockdown law.
5) Parties for the people! The Prime Minister could, as the PR people say, ‘lean into his brand’ by declaring a series of days of national celebration to mark the end of Covid, even if Covid doesn’t in fact end. Tie it into the Queen’s Jubilee. Force naughty civil servants to work 24 hour shifts while the public raves. One rule for them, all fun for us. Roll out a subsidiary ‘nights out to help out’ scheme, paid for by the Treasury at hellacious cost, to support the long-suffering night-time economy.
Mr S welcomes more ideas in the comments section. Can’t be worse than what they’ve tried so far…
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