This feeling of high farce is everywhere. Coffey was surrounded by thickos. Nadine Dorries (‘Mad Nads’) is just about to publish her first book The Plot: The Political Assassination of Boris Johnson HarperCollins (a snip at £25). In it she alleges that Boris Johnson’s downfall was the result of a plot by a secret group of baddies known as The Movement. So too was Iain Duncan Smith, Therese May, and yes, you guessed it Liz Truss. The Movement are according to Nadine, “a small group of men, most of them unelected and some totally unknown outside the Westminster bubble, operating at the heart of the Conservative party over the past 25 years and controlling its destiny”. There you have it.
Then there’s GB News presenter Esther McVey. She has been appointed as a minister without portfolio, McVey’s role is to be as a “Common Sense Tsar”, tasked with “tackling the scourge of wokery”, we were told, via the tabloids. She would be “leading the charge on the government’s anti-woke agenda” a government source said. This is the pantomime season come early.
Pressed for clarification on the BBC’s Today programme about what “common sense” meant to the reshuffled government, the newly appointed Tory chair, Richard Holden, mentioned “freedom of speech at university campuses”. He was also challenged on McVey’s views on trans rights and said she was a “plain-speaking northerner”.
Of course this was a party that couldn’t stomach electing Rishi Sunak so voted for Liz Truss, a woman compared unfavourably to an out of date lettuce.
The Logan Roy idea that these are ‘not serious people’ is cemented by the chummy way the media treats the whole unhappy charade. The press pack gushed at David Cameron’s return. Quentin Letts over the Daily Heil wrote:
“With a loping gait and a tug on his Charles Tyrwhitt cuffs, David Cameron strolled up Downing Street as though he had barely been away… Walnut-veneer suntan, salon-schmoozer crow’s feet, the receding hair now a little greyer: he is ageing like Fonseca vintage port. The foreign secretaryship and a seat in the Lords? How very agreeable. How very Edwardian… He strode past without vouchsafing small-talk to the reptiles but his ripely pursed lips betrayed velvety pleasure. With his beaky nose and that glassy avian quality to the eyes, he could have been a Harris’s hawk that had just gobbled up an unexpectedly plump dormouse.”
As the Tory party unravel day by day, hour by hour, the Spectacle of Stupid involved the performative task of them issuing letters to each other variously stabbing each other in the back (though front and sides are also optional). This used to be a procedural task exchanging banalities “it’s been an honour to serve” etc.
Now it’s just mayhem.
The thanks after you’ve been sacked letter is an art form, but so too is the Fuck You I’m Resigning one. Andrea Jenkyns’s letter to Graham Brady calling for Rishi Sunak to go was a classic of the genre.
In it Jenkyn’s (pictured above) refers to ‘Rishi Machiavelli’. The journalist Zoe Williams described it as the ‘main event’: