‘But it was already clear that she saw her future as lying in politics’
– BBC News biography of our new PM.
(Couldn’t resist that one! UB)
“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important.” – TS Eliot
With Andrea Leadsom’s corpse now whisked away by the ‘cleaners’ before the blood has dried on the carpet at Tory Central Office, the former EU ‘Remain’ supporter, Home Secretary Theresa May has secured a dawn chorus of tweets broadcasting the absolute fealty, eternal support and thoroughgoing approval of… Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, the deeply sinister Chris Grayling, John Redwood and all the other murderous Brexit plotters, with their strangely shaped heads, who were previously adamantly opposed to her leadership bid.
Mr Duncan Smith is merely looking angry, confused and embarrassed, an extra in the crowd at Mrs Leadsom’s press wake.
Barring her own mysterious demise as the party’s only surviving candidate, Last Woman Standing, Mrs May will be measuring the curtains in Downing Street by nightfall, as the Pickfords vans head off in convoy to the Chilterns. Already, Angela Merkel has welcomed her appointment, describing her admiringly as cold and calculating.
And what fate now befalls Larry, the Downing Street cat?*
But hang on. Wasn’t Cameron also a Remain campaigner? So what’s the point of him going, to be replaced by another Remain campaigner, with a pack of rabid, swivel-eyed Brexiteers savagely fawning at her kitten-heels instead of, as it were, his?
It’s a coup, silly. Read your Animal Farm….
You see… Cameron wanted to stay in Europe, but with a tiny minority in Parliament he was afraid of his own Eurosceptic backbenchers so he promised a referendum a year earlier than he had intended to, leaving no time for, and…. oh, forget it.
The neo-Thatcherites, who wanted, put simply, to turn the clock back to 1979 and start over again without gay marriage, hip-hop and the Working Time Directive, perhaps feel that May, who is 59 and unwell, offers them a better prospect for an early battle for the Margaretan succession.
Or are we to infer that there has been a counter-coup? After all, was not Mrs May in charge of domestic intelligence for six years? You must admit, must you not, that an awful lot of Brexit plotters and political adversaries have screeched unexpectedly to a halt over the past few days in a cloud of burning rubber, humbly mumbling their praise and appreciation of the new leader – whose only popular mandate, in truth, is that conferred by the voters of Maidenhead; most of whom will have been at Wimbledon the past fortnight and have no idea what is going on.
Indeed, I should personally like to say here, and without equivocation: Mrs May is clearly the very best unopposed candidate to unite the whole country and lead us forward to the sunlit uplands of a new and splendid future for Britain, as she stands once more green, proud and alone above the White Cli… (Enough, okay? It’s not a tourist publication. Ed.) And have we not just announced that we are to spend £3 billion we haven’t got, on a new long-range reconnaissance aircraft, replacing the no-longer-in-service Nimrod, to be constructed for us by the Boeing Corporation of America?
How many hospitals would that build, Boris? You do the math.
Who knows what they want, they are all giddy with the stench of power, albeit as sharks circling hungrily in one of those polybags you win a goldfish in. A couple of Posts ago, I was predicting an unlikely Leadsom victory, and now this. The wretched humiliation of the Boglington Pundit.
Leadsom, who was a fellow Brexit campaigner, had proposed herself as the Thatcher Mk2 candidate, offering the stronger leadership. Dug up, the reanimated corpses of Thatcher’s old cabinet to a man croaked their deep belief in her as the Risen Margaret. Everyone said what a strong leader she would make compared with Mrs May, a leftie softie who hadn’t managed even to deport one 92-year-old blind woman in six years.
Announcing her withdrawal, however, Mrs Leadsom explained she was stepping out of the ring because it was time for ‘strong leadership’. Er….
I’m not sure any of these people, who are becoming increasingly annoying, has the first idea of what they are talking about. They seem to have no means of explaining themselves any longer, other than with the parrot-phrases of tabloid journalistic cliché. They will say anything, bend everywhich way, to suck up the spittle of a public that despises them, and wishes they would just get on with deporting half the population and hanging the rest.
So treacherous is the Tory party, however, with the help of Murdoch’s Times – once Britain’s foremost journal of record now reduced in stature to what one Leadsom supporter described as ‘the gutter press’ – that Leadsom found herself being royally stitched-up with a well-spun interview in which she appeared to propose herself as the ideal candidate for Prime Minister because she had children and May couldn’t, or wouldn’t, certainly didn’t, and thus she had more of a stake in the country’s future.
With all the dignity she could muster, May got her side to tell the BBC they were sure Leadsom hadn’t meant to say what The Times said she said, and thus with one precision-guided, six-inch Christian Louboutain stiletto-heel between the ribs, the would-be Mother of the Nation expired.
*Phew. Larry is to keep his job as Chief Mouser at No 10. It’s just been confirmed, he’s a civil servant, not the Camerons’ private cat. And as they say, in politics you’re never more than six feet away from a rat….
The party’s over…
Then there is the equally obscure and rumpled-looking Angela Eagle, ‘Shadow Business Secretary’, pushing herself bravely forward in the wake of the no-confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn as a stalking-horse (a what? How should I know, I only write this stuff!) for the Labour leadership, finding herself now trapped in her own rhetoric, out on a limb as the only candidate bonkers enough to go after the ghastly job of leading the Labour Party to defeat.
Whatever happened to Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, who were so keen to get the job last year? Andy’s gone off to Manchester, where he’s after the mayor’s desk. Getting out of politics for a while is not such a bad idea. But the whole thing has borne out the uncanny prediction of ‘Labour’ MP, Simon Danczuk:
A plot to oust Jeremy Corbyn will be launched “on day one” if he becomes leader. Mr Danczuk said Labour’s parliamentary group would “not put up” with the “crazy left-wing policies” set out by Mr Corbyn. “Am I going to … traipse through the voting lobby to support him? It’s not going to happen is it? So I would give him about twelve months if he does become leader.” – Telegraph, 12 August 2015
We recall from earlier Tory premierships, that 12 August is the start of the grouse-shooting season. By nightfall, Angela could be measuring the curtains and fishing furry, half-eaten baked-bean tins out of the sink in Corbyn’s bachelor pad as he pedals away through the Islington gloom, to kip down on Diane Abbott’s sofa.
As one party explodes, another implodes.
Honestly, it’s Shakespeare’s 450th whatever this year, and if you couldn’t make it up, he did.
Eagle tries to carry off Australian boy
- BBC News headline, 12 July
So, the smears have started already…
And as of today, Wednesday, another horse has entered the race. Owen Smith is a Welsh MP little known outside Westminster, who does at least have the major advantage of looking and sounding as though he might be the Prime Minister of a small country on the margin of Europe.
Labour hasn’t yet understood that physical appearance is everything in the modern political landscape. Policies count for very little. People refused to vote for Ed Miliband, not because of his policies, but because he would have been an embarrassment on the world stage with his weird Wallace and Gromit eyes, strange hair and geeky teenager’s voice.
Neil Kinnock had the obvious disavantage of being both bald, and ginger. I have long believed he lost to Thatcher purely because of a gag on Spitting Image, the night before the election: ‘Would you vote for a man with ginger pubic hair?’ An image problem indeed.
Mrs Eagle may for all I know be a consummate politician with the right ideas for getting us out of this mess. But no-one in their wildest dreams would imagine she was the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland just by looking at, or listening to her. That’s Jeremy’s problem, too. He just doesn’t look or sound like a proper statesman, or even someone pretending to be one.
Probably because he isn’t.
The game set
From: BogPo Sport special Correspondent, Sue Bogler. Sue@tennis.net
Will I be the last to congratulate Andy Murray on his magnificent progress through SW19? I’m sure I must be.
But what is all this fist-pumping business that is infecting the crowd as well as the players, so that every minor victory on-court has to be greeted with psychotic gestures of mob violence, like a Nuremberg rally on ketamine? Where has it come from, other than the manual of sports psychology?
Why does Murray keep screaming at himself, the crowd and his own player’s box between every point, like some insecure Roman emperor demanding ever-louder and more fervent expressions of love from his adherents, even when he is clearly winning? Why does he constantly bare his ratty little teeth for the cameras, fist-pumping away, his entire body clenched in a rictus of strangled ambition; and what is the matter with his mother?
Is this really what it takes to win a competition? Should we be having competitions in that case, if it drives everyone into this state of mental disorder? After his impressive three-set win over the huge-serving Canadian child-mountain Raonic, with his Mad-magazine, frat-boy freshface you just want to punch (except he’s a lot bigger than you), the Bearer of the Nation’s Pride appeared to suffer a nervous breakdown and was barely able to step up to collect his gong. Is it worth it? (Even the prize money has become worthless thanks to Brexit, which apparently cost the American Serena Williams $400,000.)
But I have other questions for the organisers.
Why are players seemingly accompanied everywhere by members of the East European mafia, filling the players’ boxes with unsavoury, menacing-looking individuals in sunglasses? And why do the commentators always refer to them as ‘physiotherapists’ when they are so obviously hitmen and sports stars’ roughly spoken ‘agents’? Should not MI5 be involved?
Why does the BBC location director keep selecting shots up the skimpy skirts and flouncy peplums of the ‘lady’ players as they bend over to receive service, before cutting away to Sir Cliff lurking suggestively by the scoreboard, or in the dark corridors of the All England club? Is there some message of suppressed eroticism that should be derived from it all?
Why do so many servicemen and women get free passes? The place is stiff with uniforms from every quarter: soldiers, sailors, airmen, military and civil police, men, women, standing to attention, at-ease, bums in, chests out, at every turn; an honour guard on the courts, in the clubhouse, around the players’ entrances. They’re not armed, it’s not about security, it’s about deep deference to a bygone culture of service to Queen and Country.
What is the point of hiring an annoying man as soon as they have finished the business on-court to shove a huge microphone in their faces and ask absolutely every still-perspiring player the same tiresome old scripted question, about what emotions are running through their tousled heads in the wake of that victory/defeat (delete which)? Do we need this to happen more than once in a fortnight? (You long for one to reply, so I beat that sucker, asshole! Now I can pay my physiotherapist!)
Why does the crowd find it so wildly amusing whenever any tiny thing goes amiss, such as an official being almost hit by a ball? Is the actual tennis that boring, in which case why do they pay £70 a head and more for a seat?* What do they expect will happen from time to time if you place officials behind the baseline? Do they practise tittering in unison or is it a spontaneous middle-class thing?
And who is that dimwit who keeps shouting ‘Come on Andy’ just as his opponent is about to serve, why is he allowed in?
All I can say is, I’m glad they’re not in politics. Life would be unbearable!
Except, of course, for that shiny bloke in the corner of the royal box, whose wife has pointedly stayed away.
What was his name, Cameron? (That’s enough tennis for one year. Ed.)
*One ticket tout was reportedly asking £52 thousand for a pair of Centre Court tickets on finals day. No doubt someone will have paid it.
Quoted above, MP Simon Danczuk’s Wikipedia entry makes interesting reading for scholars of the muddy cesspool that is Westminster.
A vocal critic and opponent of the leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Danczuk has apparently several times found himself in hot water over financial irregularities relating to Parliamentary rules, and has been obliged to pay back overclaimed expenses and to apologise for failing to declare income from media sources.
Also a high-profile campaigner on child abuse, having conducted a long-running investigation into Rochdale MP, the late Cyril Smith, nevertheless Danczuk was himself exposed in The Sun, like The Times a Murdoch newspaper, over sexually explicit text messages he sent to a 17-year-old job applicant. He was suspended by the Party. In 2016, police investigated an old rape allegation against him, but apparently found no evidence.
I shan’t go into all the sordid details: it’s not what happened, but when, that may be of interest. You can find the whole story at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Danczuk.
It’s probably enough to say that the allegations emerged in 2015, not too long after Mr Danczuk had loudly accused Establishment figures of a cover-up over historic child abuse allegations. A previously ‘missing, believed destroyed’ Home Office report was suddenly ‘found’, possibly he believed as a result of pressure he was putting on Downing Street; and while he was demanding a public inquiry.
While Danczuk admitted to problems with depression, drink and drugs, and a penchant for nubile young, though technically legal girls (as long as he did not abuse his position of trust, for which the age of consent is higher), and owned-up to the email, it does seem something of a fluke that the Sun should have got hold of those details when they did.
While it might be up for discussion that Mr Danzcuk may in this way have been silenced, which is possibly his opinion (judged by his use of the word ‘malicious’), can one have any sympathy for a politician who then thought it was perfectly fine to cash-in on the story? Again, from Wikipedia (attributions footnoted):
Danczuk later asked the former job applicant, now an 18-year-old, for a meeting to apologise, suggesting she could receive a fee if she allowed a media agency to take photographs of them together; this request was rejected. Danczuk had earlier received a fee of £5,000 from the Sun on Sunday for an interview to discuss the explicit text messages he had sent, and a £1,100 fee from a photo agency
Layer upon layer of sleaze attends this story; as that of so many politicians. Try as they undoubtedly have, what Private Eye magazine dubbed The Street of Shame, the tabloid press, are yet to uncover anything similarly murky in the past of Jeremy Corbyn; who, whatever Danczuk’s inconsiderable opinion of his left-wing policies, anathema to a Socialist party, was elected by 60 per cent of the membership and does not have his constituency hanging by a thread.
The press operates as it does. I have no doubt that competent editors will pay investigators good money to dig for dirt on politicians, especially those who go on crusades claiming the moral high ground. One does not need to speculate on where such stories originate from, they will be found anyway.
Only the most paranoid of conspiracy theorists would envisage malicious collusion going on between politicians, civil servants and the media. Why, it might even be suggested that Mr Danczuk’s prediction (quoted above) that Jeremy Corbyn’s election would immediately result in a revolt by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party, might have been coaxed from him by the Conservative-leaning Telegraph in some way to influence the outcome?