Ever since the election, I’ve tried to avoid the news, politics, the whole she-bang. It’s just too depressing. At least when I was banging on about how stupid an idea Brexit is – and it still is – there seemed to be a point. But now it’s happening, not so much.
But I’m on Twitter quite a lot, and I follow the same people as I did before, so occasionally a tumbleweed of political note rolls across my horizon that I just can’t resist.
For example, the other day I happened to notice that our glorious leader Alexander Boris Defeffle Fwah-Fwah Zip-Wire Zipper-Open Johnson had visited a hospital.
And this caught my eye for two reasons: firstly, I was surpised that none of the staff egged and debagged him, and secondly because he visited Kettering General Hospital, which just so happens to be where I was born (Northants Crew in da house!).
Anyway, I was reminded of this a day or so later when another morsel tumbled into view; this time a press conference, where Bozza announced that on a recent visit to a hospital where he thought there were some coronavirus sufferers, he, martyr and man of the people that he thinks he is (even if that man turns out to be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Corporation Man from Ghostbusters), had shaken hands with everyone.
Because he is our Leader and he will show no fear! He laughs in the face of the coronavirus! He thumbs-a-nose at those selling antibacterial gel for exorbitant prices on ebay (but commends the vendor, capitalism at it’s finest, a sellers market, don’t you know?) He does those hilarious rabbit-ears with his fingers over the heads of those buying masks!
This morsel was quite surprising, given that the official advice (at time of writing) with regards to this possible pandemic was to avoid any hand to hand contact, to wash ones hands for 20-30 seconds (or, as Jacob Rees-Mogg helpfully pointed out, for as long as it takes to sing the National Anthem, which rather implies he only knows the first verse (Queen Mary will be most disappointed), to avoid touching one’s own face/mouth/nose, and if coughing or sneezing in public, to trap the germs expelled from your infected orifice and dispose of the besmerched tissue in a bin (assuming the bin in question wasn’t located within a closed down library).
This advice was, of course, delivered to us like it was some white hot news, oven-ready (of course) and fresh off the press. But of course it wasn’t: see this, from 1961. Generally remembered for one particular quote, but so much better than that (and in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing (you fool) the bit I’m referring to starts at 09:36):
Where was I?
Except: Kettering General Hospital doesn’t have any patients infected with the coronavirus, so Boris couldn’t have shaken hands with anyone contaminated, because they weren’t there.
Ah, but he only said that he thought there were coronavirus victims there, so he wasn’t really lying, was he, dear reader? (This does beg the question as to just how much attention he was paying to the people he met on the visit, but we’ll leave that parked there for now.)
A day or so later, some news to make the country unite in joyful ecstacy: Boris had got yet another woman pregnant, only this time it was his current girlfiend – you know, the one he started shagging whilst his actual wife was undergoing treatment for cancer (no, not the
exotic dancer American business woman, the other one) – and this time he was going to do the ruddy decent thing, and marry her.
And this time – and the media glossed over this fact, obviously – only one person in the relationship was already married, and this time, in a quite extraordinary twist, that one person was Boffer Boris.
This is great news, though, right? Another baby Boris will soon be amongst us, and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he’s forcing chlorinated chicken down it’s greedy gullet to prove how safe our latest import is.
But the timing of this announcement raised a few eyebrows, reeking as it did of the dead cat routine.
For those not in the know, this is when somebody with power – knowing that something they do not wish the public to dwell on is about to make, or has already made headlines – deflects attention away from the bad thing by making a different story more newsworthy. The rather more literal explanation is that rather than have you look at something they’d rather you didn’t, a dead cat is tossed onto the conference table, and that becomes the centre of conversation instead.
In essence, it’s Ezzie Izzard shouting: “Look out! A badger with a gun!”
I’m not saying that the pregnancy and impending marriage has been made up, far from it – these things tend to happen within a fairly predictable timeframe, like, say, releasing the report into Russian interference with our electoral process, which Boris promised would be released “immediately” after the general election, four months ago.
No, rather what I’m saying is that this announcement – the wonderful story of a couple who have patched things up having only months ago been reported to be engaged in (alleged) domestic abuse – seems to have been rather expertly timed, to detract from a somwehat bigger story.
And that story is Priti Patel.
For those of you who haven’t followed this story – and I certainly haven’t, because, as I say, I don’t really watch the news anymore – over the past week or so, there have been a number of civil servants working under Patel who have either quit their jobs because of the alleged bullying behaviour of our current Home Secretary, or have voiced complaints about her behaviour towards them.
The latest of these just so happened to grasp the oxygen of publicity a few hours before Boris announced the
latest victim joyous reciprient of his scattergun spaffing.
Patel, needless to say, denies all such allegations, and many prominent politicians, and quite a few spam-faced supporters, have lept to her defence.
“She’s never done anything wrong!” they cry.
Well, maybe not “anything”; there was that time in 2017 when, serving as International Development Secretary, she held unauthorised meetings with the Government of Israel whilst on a “private holiday”. In an interview shortly afterwards, she said:
“Boris [Johnson – then the Foreign Secretary] knew about the visit. The point is that the Foreign Office did know about this, Boris knew about [the trip]. I went out there, I paid for it. And there is nothing else to it. It is quite extraordinary. It is for the Foreign Office to go away and explain themselves. The stuff that is out there is it, as far as I’m concerned. I went on holiday and met with people and organisations. As far as I’m concerned, the Foreign Office have known about this.”
Well that’s cleared that up, then. It’s emphatically clear that everybody within government who needed to know about her meetings knew in advance.
Two days later, Patel released an apology for her actions, and corrected her remarks, which she said gave “the false impression” that the Foreign Secretary knew about the meetings. I can’t think how anyone would have got that idea.
A few more days passed, and details of two more undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials in Westminster and New York in September 2017 emerged. Patel
jumped before she was pushed resigned from her cabinet position.
I may not have explained that very well, so to be sure, here’s some funny people doing it so much better (and then going a little off-topic):
So Patel has form, form which was ‘just’ lying, so since that’s behaviour is straight out of the current Government handbook, it could be overlooked by Boris – you know, like how with one breath he can argue that Brexit was about taking back control from unelected politicians, and in the next make defeated Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and long-time ally, a Lord so he could sit in his cabinet, alongside recently retired (i.e. who didn’t even stand in the election) Nicky Morgan – hence Patel’s reinstatement to the position she (at the time of writing) currently holds: Home Secretary.
But then, on top of the allegations of bullying (which she denies, of course she does, and we should believe her), Patel chose this week to deny – not for the first time – that she had ever been an advocate of the reintroduction of capital punishment at any time when she was a cabinet minister. Yet again, her comments were “taken out of context”.
I believe her. No, really, I do.
Look, here’s some footage of her definitely not saying that she supported the reintroduction of capital punishment when she certainly wasn’t in the Cabinet as International Development Secretary. Or, to put it another way: Hislop incoming!:
But to jump to the conclusion that Patel is a selfish careerist politician who’ll say anything to dog-whistle the grunting, non-thinking, soon-to-be-unemployed-if-they’re not already right-wing, who consider the ownership of a St George’s cross tattoo on the neck to be a barcode for determining whether one belongs in this country or not, is of course misguided. Let’s not forget that she recently advocated the introduction of a points-based system for immigrants which would have precluded her own parents from settling here. (“Send them home! And her! No, wait, not her! She tells it like it is!)”
In her defence, amongst all the points-system that Patel outlined for allowing settled status in the UK to be conferred, there was a reduction of the minimum salary threshold to be reduced from £30,000 to £25,600. Which seems like an improvement, until you realise this was packaged as the cut-off point where skilled work kicks in – which leaves all of the carers, quite a few nurses, and many others whose jobs I wouldn’t like to try to do finding themselves suddenly described as ‘unskilled’.
And don’t forget The Rakes. I hope they all have settled citizenship status, for it was only a few years ago they were gloriously proclaiming this (which I really should be posting on a Tuesday morning, but when you want to make a point….):
It’s at around this point that I’m expecting those who spend a lot of time attacking people because they’re either from an ethnic minority or a woman or both, to attack me, claiming that the only reason I’m having a pop at Priti Patel is because she’s a woman or from an ethnic minority or both.
It really isn’t. Her gender and her ethnic background play no part in this.
No, I’m having a pop based purely on her own terms, that incompetent people (should) be paid less than competent ones. It’s because – and I generally try to keep the swears out of this kind of thing, but I think with Patel it needs saying – she’s a fucking duplicitous, lying, brazen careerist idiot who would stick a wet finger up in the air to see which way she thinks the wind is blowing before doing or saying anything, but would probably forget to wet it first.
As this brilliant clip demonstrates, she doesn’t even know the difference between terrorism and counter-terrorism, which, one would think in her job, is quite an important distinction to have got nailed down:
So, this seems apt:
Or perhaps this:
Phew. Chest-load lightened.