With Dominic Raab resigning as deputy prime minister last week, thoughts in the Conservative Party immediately turned to the most important issue: who they could blame for it. Because, in the eyes of the Conservatives, it’s always Someone Else’s Fault.
Brexit not working out as planned: that’s the Remainers trying to sabotage it. Too many asylum seekers crossing the channel: that’ll be the fault of the French and lefty lawyers. Higher energy prices than anywhere else in the world: that’s all down to Putin. The economy crashing after Liz Truss’s budget: that’s the left-wing liberal establishment. A dysfunctional housing market: that’s Labour’s fault, according to Rachel Maclean on Question Time this week. Rampant inflation: oh, what’s the point? Whoever is to blame, it’ll be Someone Else. It’s like trying to get Macavity the Mystery Cat to take some responsibility.
Raab himself wrote an embittered column in the Telegraph, describing the enquiry that led to his resignation as a “Kafkaesque saga”. This might make some sense – a helpless individual overwhelmed by an overpowering, intransigent bureaucracy – if Raab hadn’t literally been the deputy PM, the second most powerful person in charge of that bureaucracy; a man who would refuse to read his minions’ reports if he didn’t like the font. Maybe he meant ‘Capraesque’. Franz Kafka, Frank Capra, it’s an easy mistake to make. After all, he does have form with not quite understanding the meaning of words, such as when he said that “misogyny is, of course, absolutely wrong, whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man”. The Tories might be constantly trying to tell us that Keir Starmer doesn’t know what a woman is, but I’ll bet he knows the meaning of misogyny.
The Conservative-supporting media were quick to pin the blame for Raab’s resignation on anyone other than Raab himself. “Dominic Raab’s resignation is a victory for the work-shy civil service”, read an opinion piece headline in the Telegraph. You think people working for the civil service are work-shy? You should try being an opinion-piece writer for a national newspaper, working for one or two mornings a week, churning out a thousand words of fact-free idiocy.
The Mail was similarly sure about where to pin the blame. “The felling of Dominic Raab by a lynch mob of malicious mandarins and mendacious sections of the media,” wrote Daniel Johnson, shortly after hearing about alliteration for the first time, “…is chilling proof that we are living in an atmosphere of hysteria directed against the Conservatives.” Hysteria? I’m not so sure. Whereas calling a few civil servants making private complaints a “lynch mob” – now that’s hysteria.
And this hysterical nonsense was brought to you by the same newspaper that recently used its front page to claim that the testing of an emergency alert would “TERRIFY THE WHOLE COUNTRY”. The reality, when the alert actually went off, was that people glanced at their phones, shrugged and went back to their shopping. The terror!
Then again, the Mail is convinced – or pretends to be – that a “left-wing cabal” is running the country, despite the Conservatives having been in power for the last thirteen years. The cabal sounds nice though. How do I join? And once I’m running the country, can I have a go at unintentionally throwing tomatoes at civil servants? After that I might try tanking the economy and appointing one of my mates to run the BBC.
‘Nothing to do with me guv, honest!‘
In more positive news for the Conservatives, they announced this week that they’ve reached their target of recruiting twenty thousand new police officers. With the home secretary, Suella Braverman, promising to “put more police boots on the ground”, all twenty thousand new officers have been immediately deployed to cycle or run alongside Rishi Sunak’s ministerial car.
The twenty thousand officers will, however, simply replace the twenty thousand the Conservatives cut over the previous decade in the name of austerity. The Tories are, naturally, still touting the story that austerity was necessary because Labour had spent all the money. In truth, the 2008 global economic crisis was triggered by hedge fund managers betting against the banks. These hedge fund managers included – to pick an entirely random example – a young man called Rishi Sunak, who made millions of pounds from the crisis. But let’s blame Labour, eh? Because it’s always Someone Else’s fault.