The home secretary, Suella Braverman, has recently appeared to think she’s in charge of a Minority Report ‘pre-crime’ police force, happy to hand out jail time for anything she thinks could potentially be criminal, such as ownership of tape for sticking placards together, possession of a rape alarm, or standing in the general vicinity of someone who might be thinking of protesting.
Yet for some reason, Braverman doesn’t seem quite so keen on justice for her own criminal offences, judging by her attempts to wriggle her way out of doing a speed awareness course alongside other members of the public. As for serial breaches of the ministerial code – well, those are now routinely ignored.
Move along, nothing to see here
The latest ministerial code breach by Braverman has of course now been pre-judged by the prime minister not to be an offence at all. Apparently, trying to get civil servants to get you off doing a group speed awareness course is All Perfectly Fine.
Still, Rishi Sunak had to spend a week thinking about it, consulting with his ‘independent ethics adviser’, who is so independent that he is only allowed to do what Sunak tells him. Of course, having an ethics adviser would usually be predicated on the idea that you actually have some ethics in the first place, which appears far from certain.
For several days, Sunak was said to be “availing himself” of relevant information. The relevant information he was waiting for included answers to questions such as: how long is this going to be on the front pages? Can I get away with ignoring it? Has Suella got any kompromat on me? And who’s the replacement for Philip Schofield when I get interviewed on This Morning?
Speed 2: Cruella Control
Braverman, meanwhile, kept repeating the same oddly phrased statement. “Last summer, I was speeding,” she said, “I regret that, I paid the fine and I took the points”. Do you think she’d actually been coached to say “I was caught speeding”, but couldn’t bring herself to say the word caught? Or was she truly speeding for the entire summer, trapped in a state of perpetual motion that didn’t so much need an awareness course as some assistance from Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.
But perhaps speeding is a constant problem for her. Fellow Tory MP, William Wragg, revealed that on their MPs’ induction day in 2015, he was struck by Braverman’s “lamentable hopelessness” when she asked whether speeding tickets could be claimed on expenses. “Thank goodness our nation has been blessed with such a fine attorney general and home secretary,” he drily added.
Arriving at Downing Street to discuss the matter with Sunak, Braverman was asked whether she was going to resign. “I’m here to stop the boats,” she replied, either mistaking central London for the English Channel, or perhaps thinking she was now in Speed 2: Cruise Control.
‘Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Nat-C party’
Part of Sunak’s considerations must have included Braverman’s recent deranged contributions to the far-right National Conservatism conference. On which – guys, seriously? You’re actually giving yourselves a name that can be abbreviated to Nat-C? They’ve obviously given up on dog whistle politics and are going straight to shouting for their Dobermann Pinscher. One speaker even suggested that it was unfair that nationalism had a bad name just “because the Germans mucked up twice in a century,” as though two world wars and the Holocaust were just trivial errors, like getting a speeding ticket. “Last summer, I was brutally invading Europe, I regret that, I paid the reparations and I took the allied occupation.”
Braverman’s speech meanwhile extolled the virtues of Brexit, saying it would enable a high-skilled, high-wage economy to be built. This would apparently be achieved by training British people to be butchers and fruit-pickers. Ah yes, I expect the current levels of food inflation must be down to the high wages in the fruit picking industry.
Another conference speaker, Tory backbencher Miriam Cates, suggested that the UK’s low birthrate was “the one overarching threat to British conservatism, and to the whole of western society” and that this was because “cultural Marxism … is systematically destroying our children’s souls,” which goes to show that she doesn’t know her Marx from her elbow.
Hoist by one’s own Johnson
One person doing his best to lift the UK’s birthrate is the former PM, Boris Johnson, who is shortly to become a father for the eighth/ninth/tenth/eleventh time (delete as appropriate).
Johnson has also been in the news because he has once again been reported to the police, this time for hosting family and friends at Chequers during the Covid lockdown. It was always ‘party before country’ for Johnson.
Amusingly, it was Johnson’s own legal team for the Covid enquiry that discovered this from his diaries and messages from the time; they raised it with the Cabinet Office, who then passed the information to the police. Those lefty lawyers, eh? It just shows you get what you pay for (in Johnson’s case, nothing).
Asked about the allegations on LBC, Johnson’s sister, Rachel, responded that “all rules were followed whenever I went to Chequers”, seemingly believing that visiting one’s siblings during lockdown somehow qualified as a work event.
The Guardian quoted an “ally” of Johnson’s (hi, Boris!): “Boris has been supporting the government,” they began. Really? How can you tell? From here it looks like he’s spending his time giving regurgitated speeches to people with more money than sense. “This act is the final straw,” the ally added. “A group of MPs will meet today to consider options. Meanwhile, members across the country are being organised.” Ooooh! That sounds threatening, “considering options” and ”being organised”! I thought the only thing Johnson could organise were piss-ups (brewery optional).
Johnson was quick to dismiss the matter as a “witch-hunt”, though I don’t recall any medieval witches having their legal representation funded from the public purse. With Johnson also complaining that he is being treated “unfairly” and that the investigation is a “stitch-up”, it would take a braver man than me to suggest he takes to the streets to protest about his treatment. He could be arrested just for thinking about it.