You know it’s a big day in Westminster because the same old faces come shuffling up the same old corridor and into an oak-panelled room into which only they may go – to decide your future for you. The country is choosing a new prime minister. It will be the third of the last four that has been chosen without troubling the nation with the question of whether or not it would like to vote for them.
When the current prime minister came shuffling down the corridor, she was asked by a journalist who she would be voting for to succeed her. “That’s none of your business,” she replied. She, who appointed all her potential successors to her cabinet, knows their strengths and weaknesses. But her opinion is something the public do not get to know. Not that they need to. They won’t be voting.
Quaint, isn’t it. I’d say it was like a corrupt African dictatorship, but a corrupt African dictator might well sue for libel. Still, none of us had to wait long to find out the inevitable. After they’d shuffled in and out again, they’d all done as expected. Prime minister Johnson. It’s only a matter of time.
The Tory party cannot face up to the truth of what it’s done, so it’s sending for the biggest liar of them all. Can you blame them? Theresa May was unable to escape reality, so they destroyed her. Johnson can’t do it either, but he says he can, and that will certainly do for now.
These are the people deciding your future, so it’s certainly worth pausing to think that they consider themselves so untrustworthy that Johnson’s aides were demanding photos of the ballot papers inside the polling booths, to prove they had voted done as they said they would and voted for Johnson.
It’s hard to know what’s worse. Boris Johnson telling you to jump off a cliff and you doing it. Or the actual belief that there’s going to be a junior ministerial job at the bottom of it.
These are not normal times but the strategy is easy enough to understand. Brexit has so radicalised the nation that elections aren’t won from the centre anymore. The Tories have driven their own people to the Faragist fringes, from where they must be reclaimed or face oblivion.
They have flooded the streets with crack, and have now decided the only way to sort it out is to send in the biggest, baddest crack dealer of them all. He’s got no answers, no clue, nothing to offer on the tragic waste of it all. But he has got a hell of a lot of crack so get him in there quick; 114 of them voted for him, his presence in the final round now all but a certainty. The lying, the cheating, the staggering incompetence, none of it matters. Not now.
Still, if it feels like there’s something not quite right about the process, about the people not having any say whatsoever, it may well be that the MPs won’t either, in the end.
Boris Johnson still refuses to rule out shutting down parliament altogether, to prevent it legislating to stop a no-deal exit. As he waited for the results, and his shock passage into the next round, Rory Stewart was on hand to tell the television cameras that if Boris Johnson tries to do that, he will set up his own rival parliament over the road “and bring Boris Johnson down”.
That is, erm, kind of how civil wars start lads. It is tempting to wonder whether there’ll be anyone out there willing to fight and die to save the Tory party face, until you remember how often it’s happened before. Now we wait and see who clubs together, who folds in with who, before the next session of corridor shuffling on Tuesday. In the meantime, the inconvenient truth, that there is currently no solution to the Brexit crisis, stubbornly refuses to go away.
And it will be the one truth Prime Minister Johnson won’t be able to lie his way out of.