The other week, professional snake-in-the-grass Dominic Cummings gave his “explosive” evidence about the Government’s handling of the Covid pandemic to a Select committee.
It went something like this: “Contrary to popular opinion, all the time I was working for the Government, I was constantly advising them to do the complete opposite of what they did. Everything would have been fine if they’d listened to me. That time I drove my wife and child to stay at an illegally built house and then to Barnard Castle? No, I shouldn’t have done that, but a death threat had been made against us. No, I didn’t mention it at the time because I hadn’t made it up then – oops, I mean, because I was advised not to. Yes, I was the Chief Advisor, what’s your point? I realise now that I should have been more honest, and that’s why you should believe me now, because I’m telling the truth now, just like I said I was last time. Oh, and Matt Hancock is useless and should have been fired somewhere between fifteen and twenty times.”
For a seven hour session, there was remarkably little meat on the bones. There was nothing here that we didn’t already know, and those bits we didn’t know we didn’t believe anyway. Cummings promised to produce hard evidence, but to date this seems to nothing more than a ruse to stay centre of attention, and a pathetic attempt to get more people to read his blog. I mean, who reads blogs these days, let alone writes them? What a loser.
This week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock had his right to reply in front of the same enquiry. It went something like this: “Of course I shouldn’t have been sacked. I’ve never lied to the PM, the general public or the House. No, not even when I said that people in care homes would be ring-fenced, when they weren’t. Or that time I said there was no shortage of PPE, when there was. I have acted to the best of my ability throughout. It’s Mr Cummings who is a liar. And his pants are on fire. And his nose has grown.”
But this Clash of the Trite Ones presents us with quite the dilemma: who, if anyone, should we believe? Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t believe a single thing which came from between eithers’ fetid fillings. Cummings has a history of bending the truth to suit his own agenda, whilst Hancock has floundered like, well, a flounder throughout the pandemic. It’s been perfectly clear that he’s been out of his depth pretty much since day 1, and it seems to escape him that if any of us, who do not have something as important as the health and safety of a nation resting in our hands, had admitted that they had acted to the best of our ability – and had fallen so glaringly obviously short – then we’d have been picking up our P45s pronto.
I was reminded of a similar dilemma back before the Brexit vote, where we had to pick a side, but whichever way you looked were people you you wouldn’t trust with looking after your house plants while you go on holiday, let alone your whole future. On one side shifty ne’er-do-wells like Farage, Johnson and Gove; on the other shiny faced toffos like Cameron and Osborne.
And I was reminded of this song (and this is not a recommendation of said song, which is one of those godawful coffee-table jazz-pop records which were briefly popular in the mid-80s):
And then it occurred to me.
What was missing from this whole debacle was some input from the hard-working Bloody Great British public. Sure, everyone who wanted to have a say was doing so on social media, but were they being given access to the interviewees themselves? No they were not.
What we need here, I thought, is one of those phone-ins they used to do on Saturday morning kids television in the late 70s/early 80s, where you could phone the TV studio and, if you were lucky – and, it seems with the barest minimum of scrutiny – you could get through to ask Boy George where he bought his make-up from, or Adam Ant what his favourite colour is, or maybe even the aforementioned Matt Bianco….:
Of course, you can’t post that without also posting this one:
Not that it would solve anything, no progress would be made with political arguments, no scores settled, but wouldn’t it be great if you could just phone up an MP, call them a twat and have it broadcast on national TV?
Just think how much people’s stress levels would come down with that release! And think how much money it could generate from premium rate chat lines which could be spent on trivial things like the NHS, or solving the homeless problem.
Plus, if you introduced a rule that the same swear could not be used more than once, sooner or later callers would have to come up with new, ever-more florid profanities, to such an extent that we wouldn’t have to worry about school kids having to make up the months of English lessons they’ve missed out on during the pandemic.
And, if you ask me, I’d much rather our Government were kept perpetually on screen, answering the telephones and receiving abuse the likes of which haven’t been heard since I used to work as a cold-calling telesales operative, where I was told to fuck off with metronomic regularity. Because then, we’d all know exactly where they were and what they were doing.
“Has anyone seen Jeremy Hunt recently?”
“Yes, he’s on the phone-in section of Homes Under The Hammer, where somebody has finally got round to calling him by his rhyming slang name.”
I smell a BAFTA coming my way.