I see you, Matt Hancock

I see your eager little face, absolutely overjoyed to be allowed to the party, your hand running carefully through your hair to position it perfectly as you admire yourself in the mirror. I see you buff the shiny gold of the Best Boy badge on your lapel with the sleeve of your blazer, determined to polish it to a sheen that best reflects your pride in yourself. You’re at the table now, aren’t you? You’re eating with the absolute top lads, a major player, one to watch.

They clearly trust you, don’t they? They’ve given you the hardest job, the one nobody in the party wants, the one popping your head above the trenches to face the oncoming fire before anyone else. The Conservative Secretary for Health and Social Care. It doesn’t even feel right rolling off the tongue, does it? It feels contradictory, a meaningless title, like the Vegan Secretary for Abattoirs and Fur Farming.

It’s been a tricky fit, pushing your inexperienced little feet into Jeremy Hunt’s shoes. He was perfectly suited to the Tory vision for the role, a dispassionate and reptilian numbers man who could rest his sizzling hand on an Aga and simultaneously insist into the camera that he was feeling chilly. It didn’t matter how appalling things got, he could just smirk and lie and that was the end of it. It’s harder for you, isn’t it? No matter how frantically you try to spin the bullshit, you can’t shake the panicky little wobble giving away the constant erosion of your confidence.

You wanted your brand to feel a little stronger than this, didn’t you? You wanted to position yourself as a man with a moral backbone, invoking the D-Day spirit as you condemned the prospect of prorogation. The strongman act never quite got off the landing boat, did it? Instead they’ve bent and cowed you, reducing you to the whipping boy at the forefront of the Conservatives’ greatest con job – pretending to give a toss about the NHS.

That imaginary strand of moral fibre is long gone, replaced instead by boldfaced lies that have none of Hunt’s odious polish. You’re the tremulous prefect, his pubescent voice cracking as he tries to puff his chest, insisting your NHS could beat up Labour’s NHS even as it wheezes and collapses to its knees. Post-Brexit, we’re facing the prospect of the American lobby gouging prices and profiteering from our health. Not on your watch, Matt Hancock? Please. Your watch has three ball bearings that you can’t get into the holes and a cardboard picture of Pikachu in it.

You don’t stand up for your own principles. How can we possibly believe that you’d ever stand up for ours?

It’s been a hard and embarrassing road for you but that’s the whole point of a thankless task, isn’t it? You’ve proven to the higher-ups that you can spin anything, regardless of the obvious rot spreading through the timbers. You’ve done all you can. You’ve proudly defended your record as the man in charge of the worst waiting times on record. You’ve proudly defended future investment that in truth is spread over so many years that it’s rendered worthless. You’ve proudly insisted that the NHS has more staff than ever before, even though there are thousands of vacancies nationwide and the service’s engine is running on the vapours of goodwill from those working in it.

You’ve spun and spun, Matt Hancock, crazier and faster than any disingenuous greasy little ferret has ever spun before. Now it’s time to get your reward.

I see you straighten your tie before tugging the wrinkles out of your shorts. I see check your white socks are positioned correctly, folded over just at the top, halfway up your calves. I see you place your school cap on your head and sling the satchel over your shoulder, pausing to check yourself out in the mirror one final time. It’s time for big school, isn’t it? You’ve put your shift in and the establishment have promised you a promotion, one that fits your skills, your impressive ability to set any pretence of morality aside and lie through your teeth for your masters.

I see you walk through the door, Matt Hancock, and I see your proud parents rise from their armchairs to applaud you. I see the shadowy figure in the third seat stand slowly, his face slowly emerging from shadow. I see him smile, for he knows he’s got exactly what he needs right now – a PR man willing to sell life insurance to corpses.

I see Prince Andrew sidle up next to you, your knees trembling as his chubby fingers creep around your midriff. I see him squeeze your shoulders, beaming down at you, safe in the knowledge that you’re just the kind of fawning lackey who’ll serve him well. You’ve got a lot to talk about, haven’t you? Good thing he’s got a table booked at Pizza Express.

I see you gulp down a nervous little swallow. You’ve spun a lot, right? You’re comfortable staring straight down a camera, behaving honourably by lying through your teeth, right?

Bit of a fucking ask, this one, isn’t it?

I see you, Matt Hancock. I fucking see you.

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 I See You updates with a new story every Monday and new episode of the I See News podcast every Saturday. Here’s a clip from episode 3 in which internet conspiracy theorist Danny Sutcliffe goes undercover in the shadowy world of billionaires.

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