I start this week by offering an apology. Without hesitation, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind. I was wrong. I counted myself among that unquantifiable number who sincerely held that Boris Johnson couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. Instead, we now see that his talent for organising piss-ups might be the one thing at which he genuinely excels. Aside from lying to colleagues, bosses, wives, voters, children, mistresses, the Queen, parliament, reporters, and every other extant homo sapien, that is. Yes, another week and another torrent of leaks detailing numerous ‘Work Events’ at 10 Downing Street, has nudged the straw-topped, custard-filled binbag that wee bit closer to the pavement.

Never knowingly inhibited by self-awareness or, still less, common decency, Johnson immediately commenced defensive manoeuvres. Dubbed Operation: Save Big Dog by Johnson himself – you might need a moment here, to allow the spasms of cringe to pass. I know I did – the approach comprised several strands.

Firstly, simply to continue lying and blustering. Obvs. This, however, is proving less effective as people come to know the real man. For sentient beings, and those not crippled by addiction to the taste of Etonian boot leather, this process generally completes in around 15 seconds. This being Ingerlund, though, with arguably the most politically illiterate electorate in Europe, and much of it with an inexplicable auto-biological reaction that renders sufferers tumescent or moist at the sound of plummily enunciated vowels, it’s taken considerably longer to reach this point. Although we now appear, finally, to be getting somewhere approximating there.

After all, the man who fronted up the rules, regularly informed the nation on live TV of the rules, and insisted we follow the rules, suddenly protesting that no one had told him those rules – WTF? – strained the credulity of even the most servile dunce. All illustrated by that rarest of British phenomena; a journalist doing their actual job. Sky’s Beth Rigby suddenly realised what that entailed and proceeded to hoist Big Dog on the petard of his own malfeasance. Although, one must ask, why bother? A Big Dog that shits all over your house, scatters garbage everywhere, bites little dogs and humps any available leg at any given opportunity is deserving only of the Big Sleep.

Next up, to depart from the canine and embrace the feline, was to deploy that time-honoured political device of hurling the proverbial dead cat onto the table. This, too, proved laughably ineffective. Recirculating a photo of Keith, from May 2021, a year after Bojo’s ‘Work Events’, ostensibly breaking the same rules, simply didn’t stand up. I offer the premise, with little fear of controversy, that my loathing of, and contempt for, Sir Keir Starmer is well attested. It is, then, with only the objective search for truth to guide me, that I must point out the hapless Keith, partaking of a legitimate meal break, with a single bottle of beer, during an actual work event, as provided for in the rules, as they stood at the time, is not at all the GOTCHA moment Boris groupies desperately tried to make it. To labour the point, it really isn’t the same as numerous pre-planned, by invitation, piss-ups for up to a hundred revellers, with Fatboy Slim setting up his decks in the basement, while gaggles of SPADS hauled back suitcases of booze from Tesco. You feeling me, cap-doffers? You’re only supposed to lick the boot. Not ride it until it induces rectal prolapse.

The third and final strand in Number. 10’s risible defence was Operation: Red Meat. Dear Christ, these people, honestly… This was a hastily concocted sludge of populist nastiness, cobbled together with the same consideration and attention to detail as, well, anything else they do. Chief amongst them were Nadine Dorries’s transparently spiteful and vengeful assault on the BBC for timidly reporting that things, perhaps, on balance, maybe, if you don’t mind, could, at present, go a little bit better for the government. If that’s OK? Followed by the Smirking Nazi dementedly recruiting the Royal Navy to nuke drowning refugees. Or something. Hilariously, Her Majesty’s Royal Navy declined to be involved. Much LOLage then ensued. Stick that up your poop deck, Pritster.

This week’s diversionary amusement was provided by budget booze boss, Tim Martin of Wetherspoons. The infamously pro-Tory and pro-Brexiteer businessman, a curious amalgam of raggedy scarecrow, abandoned beetroot and Thundercat, was enraged by Boris’s breaches of the same lockdown laws that saw his pound-shop pubs’ profits plummet [seriously? Ed]. So huge losses for Tim, on the one hand, but record quantities of schadenfreude flying off the shelves on the other. On balance, things are as bad as they’ve ever been for BoJo. But his grinning retreat behind the line of Let’s Wait For Sue Gray’s Enquiry suggests he already knows he will, yet again, escape bloodied but alive. Indeed, given he appointed Sue Gray and it is to he she will report, those expecting an explosive, career-ending expose will, I fear, be disappointed. Less Wikileaks, more Shifty Shades of Gray, I predict. Of course, this is still a high-risk strategy, given that Dominic Cummings knows where all the bodies are buried. Or rather where they’re all piled high. As per the PM’s actual instructions.

Yet again, so much left unexamined in another week crammed with events of note. No time to look at Barry Gardiner and alleged Chinese espionage connections, the defecting Tory MP for Bury South or the latest trials of The Nonce Formerly Known As Prince. Instead, this week’s coda goes to The Daily Mail. The favoured journal of record for gin-soaked colonels of the Home Counties, referred this week to both Andrew Windsor and Harry Windsor as “the shamed pair.” The former, you need me not to remind you, is embroiled in a nonce scandal. While the latter… married a non-white woman. You can join those dots yourselves.

Do have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you next week, by which time I expect we’ll be at war with Russia.

Harry Paterson

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