When is a holiday, not a holiday?
Going away on a four-night break sure sounds like a holiday to me, even if it is with the current holder of the much contested title ‘Mrs Johnson’ and at least one of your kids. I mean, he’s hardly going to try to rustle them all up, now is he?
With the Afghan situation stubbornly refusing to follow Government policy and just sort itself out, and with Taliban leaders surprisingly turning out to not exactly be men-of-their-word, and with Covid cases on the rise and the discovery of a new strain, and with food supply chains crumbling away in front of our very eyes, this would, of course, be a ludicrous time for the Prime Minister to decide to go on holiday.
So, we can all agree: it ain’t no holiday (but it always turns out that way):
This seems to be a new variant of the standard Government line of defence from criticism: ‘I may not be in work, but I’m not on holiday’, as opposed to ‘I was on holiday but that didn’t stop me working’, which is a fairly close summary of the explanation Foreign Secretary Dominic Raaaaaab for his inaction whilst he was off sunning himself. That and something inexplibably weird about the the sea being “closed”.
Raaaaaaaaaaaab was hauled in front of a foreign affairs select committee where he managed not to answer a single question in almost two hours, as far as I could see. At times, it was almost like he was trying to recreate this old classic:
That said, my favourite moment, which I have been desperately searching for a clip of to no avail, came in an exchange between Raab and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat. You’ll probably have seen Tugendhat give this emotive speech in the recalled House of Commons last week, after the House was recalled from…erm…holiday:
Anyway, this is how the exchange went on Wednesday:
Tugendhat [reading from the Foreign Office’s principal risk report assessment from 22 July, in a question on why Raab had not acted on it]: ““Peace talks are stalled and US Nato withdrawal is resulting in rapid Taliban advances. This could lead to: fall of cities, collapse of security forces, Taliban return to power, mass displacement and significant humanitarian need. The embassy may need to close if security deteriorates.”
Raab: “I’m sorry, the source of that is….?”
Tugendhat: “It’s your principal risk report.”
Raab: [scrabbling for a document]: Oh…
Working really hard, but not actually bothering to read a month old risk assessment which could have prevented or at least lessened the harm done, the lives lost.
Since then, Raaaaaaaaab has stated that the UK “will not recognise” the Taliban; come on Dim Dom, they’re not hard to recognise: they’re the ones butchering the women who dared to try and better themselves, the children (girls) who dared to go to school, the colleagues who assisted us during the occupation. Much of which could have been avoided if only you had acted.
Truly we are led by donkeys.
Still, for balance: Tony Blair’s been pretty quiet recently, hasn’t he?