As the England cricket team saw their ‘Bazball’ fall short in the first Ashes test on Monday, at the same time we saw Boris Johnson’s version – Bozball – go the same way, as he lashed out at every possible target but similarly came up short. With his sledging having failed to intimidate the majority of MPs, the Commons voted to approve the findings of the privileges committee and Johnson was given out LBW (lying before Westminster). Johnson was of course elsewhere, but declared that there was “always another innings”. Not in this test there isn’t.
Johnson trudged back to the pavilion still without any recognition that he had done anything wrong. But then he could have been clean bowled, the bails sent flying and all three stumps knocked out of the ground, and he would still be protesting that his advisers had assured him that it wasn’t a wicket and any suggestion to the contrary was egregious bias on the part of the umpire.
The final thrash of Bozball was to get a number of Johnson ‘allies’ to resign from their parliamentary seats, which worked out about as well as the crack Suicide Squad in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Suicide Squad – resign! That’ll show ‘em! Oh, I seem to have lost my job.
Bowl filth, get wickets
But as Johnson and his allies have kept telling us for months, it’s time to move on … to the Daily Mail. Yes, Johnson may have helped his mates to lose their jobs, but he himself couldn’t be expected to be out of work for more than a few hours and was promptly announced as the Mail’s new columnist. He delivered his first column with the same insight and commitment he’d displayed towards being PM, knocking out some quarter-arsed guff about getting the munchies. I do hope the Mail is paying him well.
Its sister paper, the Mail on Sunday, had headlined the disagreements over the privileges committee’s report as a ‘duel for the soul of the Tories’. What? They have souls?
Writing in the paper, Jacob Rees-Mogg had warned Rishi Sunak not to block a return for Johnson in a safe seat, as doing so would “shatter party unity”. Hahahahahaha! Nice one, Jacob! These parody right-wing comedians are great, aren’t they?
Another Johnson ally, Sir James Duddridge, tweeted: “Why not go the full way, put Boris in the stocks and provide rotten food to throw at him.” Well, sure, it’s a nice idea. Let’s give it a try.
But there has even been talk of Johnson starting his own party, though I can’t help thinking that’s what got him into this mess in the first place. The ghost of partygate refuses to go away, as video emerged this week of a Christmas lockdown party at Conservative campaign headquarters, with attendees drinking, dancing and mocking the lockdown laws. The police will now be reviewing the video and issuing Fixed Penalty Notices, mainly for the partygoers’ clothing choices. However, many of the participants have already been suitably punished, with MBEs, OBEs and peerages.
Watch out for those spinners
The prime minster, Rishi Sunak, had demonstrated his usual level of leadership and didn’t turn up to the vote on the privileges committee report, saying that he was busy elsewhere. Reports suggest that he had a prior commitment to get his inside-leg measured for his first big-boy trousers.
Sunak was, however, obliged to turn up for prime minister’s questions later in the week, when Johnson’s reputation was the hapless victim of a drive-by shooting, after Scottish SNP leader Stephen Flynn asking whether Sunak had “taken his honesty lessons from Boris Johnson”. With the Speaker rebuking Flynn for using Johnson’s name to imply that anyone may be misleading the house, I think this means that no one is ever allowed to mention Johnson in the Commons again.
Meanwhile Sunak was doing his best to show his commitment to AI (artificial ignorance). Pressed by Keir Starmer on the rapidly increasing cost of mortgages, Sunak suggested that the best way to help homeowners was to tackle inflation. There seems to be a disconnect in his AI circuits as he doesn’t seem to recognise that the only tool being used to tackle inflation – increasing interest rates – is precisely the problem.
This one’s a googly
He returned to the same theme two days later. “You know what the biggest tax cut that this government could deliver for you and for everyone else is? To halve inflation. That is a massive tax cut, because it is inflation right now that is making everyone poor,” he said. “And that is why we’re going to make you even poorer,” he didn’t add, “by putting up interest rates so that you pay for the mess we’ve created. Don’t worry about me, though: my hedge funds will do really well out of the inevitable recession we’re causing!”
Of course not. What he actually said was: “I’m here to tell you that I am totally, 100% on it.” Yes, it sounds like it. And whatever he’s on, can I get some? “And it is going to be OK,” he continued, “and we are going to get through this”. Aww, that’s nice. I feel better already. Now, what practical help are you actually offering? Er, Rishi? Where are you going in that helicopter?