I see you spluttering with indignation, muttering to yourself like an appalled librarian who’s just found a jazz magazine in the Classics section. You seem to be perpetually on the verge of backfiring, your entire head buffering before the broken syllables start tumbling from the dial-up modem of your lips. It’s never clear whether you’ve put any actual thought into anything you say in person, Boris Johnson, which is why it’s handy that we’ve always got your newspaper column to offer a little clarity to the white noise.
What a perfect place that would be, then, for a politician to finally step up and lay out a bold and clear vision for Brexit. What a perfect opportunity to cut through the rhetoric and partisan squabbling by offering an honest, open and balanced assessment of where we stand and what we can expect moving forward. It’s about time the public were offered some accurate figures and impartial truths, isn’t it? An informed electorate is supposed to be the backbone of a democracy, after all.
But then, it is you, isn’t it, Boris Johnson?
So naturally, what we get instead is an avalanche of jingoistic bollocks. From the opening line it’s all about the shady ‘media observers’ who think Britain lacks the resolve to see Brexit through, ameliorated with hollow reassurances that you respect ‘Remainers’ even as you disparage them as cowards and saboteurs by implication. It’s all about love of country and hope for the future, as if skepticism in the face of Tory incompetence is somehow failing in our patriotic duty. You do a cracking job of outlining all the areas of industry in which we’re thriving and succeeding, I’ll give you that, and it’s a gloriously optimistic speculation on where we could end up when freed from the yoke of Europe’s regulatory oversight. The only problem is that you hinge your argument on a figure that is now so obviously false that you may as well have painted a tunnel on a wall and then expected us all to run face-first into it.
If David Norgrove has to pop his head above the parapet just to point out you’re talking bollocks then it throws any of your optimistic projections into doubt. Just about any politician with the vaguest shred of common sense has distanced themselves from that £350 million figure, even that haunted Pez dispenser full of fag ash Farage, who disowned it as soon as the result came out and he could afford to. But you’ve always been the master of doublespeak, Boris Johnson, and it’s telling that the only way you discuss it is to say “it would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS.” Yes, it would. The problem is the same as it’s always been, which is that £350m isn’t what we pay in the first place and it isn’t what we’d have left to spend after making up for the shortfall in subsidies paid back to us.
And on top of that, you’ll have to forgive us traitors and whingers for not trusting Jeremy Hunt with a penny extra when he’s managed the NHS about as well as Edward Scissorhands can manage a wank.
What a shame, then, that this ploy of yours has turned out to be so transparent; if even Michael Gove has to wash his hands of you, then you’ve probably failed to manoeuvre yourself back into contention. If glorious optimism about the new dawn of Brexit is the only card you and Rees-Mogg have to play when trying to take control of the game, you might have missed the fact that under Theresa May the whole table you’re playing at is on fire.
And here’s the point, Boris Johnson. It’s barely even about Brexiteers and Remoaners any more. Most of us are at least now resigned to Brexit as an inevitability and all we now want is for it to go as smoothly and painlessly as possible. Yes, there are exceptions like Vince Cable, but if he thinks he’s capable of derailing it now then he’s so far away with the fairies that he may as well have bought a timeshare in Neverland. All we want is a sane hand on the tiller and instead we’ve got a Conservative party that feels like it’s on the verge of tearing itself apart at the seams.
I see you, Boris Johnson, laughing hysterically in the back seat, your eyes manic and your hair exploding around you, like someone’s rubbed a balloon and held it against the head of a giggling toddler. I see the white grease paint covering your face, your eyes twinkling with mischief, your hand squeezing your red nose and the honking noise bursting through the frantic chatter.
I see the little yellow car careering out of control, Theresa May desperately trying to wrestle it back, her oversized shoes slipping on the pedals. I see Amber Rudd in the passenger seat, constantly craning her neck and turning to admonish you, slapping at your hands as you try to reach for the wheel. Crushed into the back seat I see Damian Green, a custard pie smeared over his face, giggling as he tries to wash himself using the jet of water from the plastic flower on his lapel.
I see a wheel fall off the clown car as it careers towards the cliff edge, Boris Johnson. And yet still you keep giggling, full of confidence, convinced that proximity to the cliff is a better position than Labour’s, who are a mile back and still trying to figure out which direction they even want to drive in.
Is it really so much to ask that someone look at a fucking map, or am I just ‘remoaning’ again?
I see you, Boris Johnson. I fucking see you.