John Crace of “The Guardian” is usually good, but this one of his is worth preserving . . .
Tue 12 Apr 2022 20.35 BST
It had all been going so well. After his successful, surprise weekend trip to Ukraine, Boris Johnson had been enjoying his newfound status as “The Lion of Kyiv” during a few days off at Chequers. Then had come the news that the Metropolitan police had now issued more than 50 fixed penalty notices (FPN). And that’s before they had even got to work on the really serious parties. If only he had put the ruthless and forensic Christopher Geidt in charge of the investigation. Then no one would have been any the wiser about any of the parties.
Not that there had been any parties. The Suspect had always been very clear about this. In as much as he had ever been very clear about anything. First he had told parliament that he had been as furious as the rest of the country that staff at No 10 could have been having parties that he knew nothing about. Then, when it had emerged he had actually attended most of the parties he knew nothing about, he had said that he hadn’t been aware that the parties were parties. Because the presence of cakes, booze, trestle tables laden with food and empties littering the flowerbeds weren’t much of a clue.
Round about lunchtime, things got a whole lot worse when Johnson discovered that he was one of the crims to be given an FPN. The Suspect was no longer the Suspect. He was the Convict. It was outrageous. Just because he had passed the law forbidding everyone from meeting up during lockdown, there was no reason to imagine that he was expected to obey the rules. Those had only been for the Little People. The suckers. Narcissists like Johnson got to do as they chose. Theirs was a life governed by their own own exceptionalism.
It hadn’t helped that Carrie had also been given a FPN. Wilfred and Romy would just have to get used to the fact that both their parents were criminals. And he’d have to find out if Lulu Lytle had also been fined as she would be sure to add it to her bill. As it was she deserved a £10,000 fine for crimes against interior design. Not that he would be paying hers or anybody else’s, of course. Least of all his own. That’s what David Brownlow was for.
The only upside was that Rishi Sunak had also been issued with an FPN. The chancellor had been in tears when he had phoned. “What shall I do?” he sobbed. “Just pay it,” the Convict had replied. “It’s alright for you. You’ve got loads of dosh. You can afford it. And you’ll probably find a way to offset it against tax in whatever country – Mauritius, is it? – your family files their returns.”
Sunak had then gone on to have a meltdown about having lied to parliament about not having been to a party. What a baby. “I was categoric about it,” he had said. Whatevs. Personally, the Convict couldn’t see what was so bad about having deliberately misled parliament. It was the sort of thing that he did the whole time and none of the Tory MPs seemed that bothered about it. He’d always found that the best way of getting out of a lie was to double down with an even bigger lie. And if that didn’t work, just keep lying until people got bored.
But if Rishi wanted to make a martyr of himself – imagine the absurdity of a cabinet minister being expected to have some principles! – then he could be his guest. The chancellor could learn the hard way that Johnson had the knack of invariably dragging anyone close to him down to his level in the end. As for the Convict, he wasn’t going anywhere.
Instead he would let some of his useful idiots fill the void. Thank God for Michael Fabricant and Nadine Dorries. While other Tory MPs and cabinet ministers were totally silent – it was as if the Conservative party was totally paralysed with indecision: it’s not every day your leader makes history by being the first prime minister to be found guilty of breaking his own laws. And while MPs knew he ought to resign they didn’t dare to be the first to suggest it as there were no obvious alternatives – these two alone held the fort.
Micky F managed to insult every doctor and nurse by suggesting they had spent most of lockdown pissed while Nad had basically restated Boris’s divine right to do what the fuck he liked. Nadine was a trooper. Even if Boris killed someone she would find a way of making it the victim’s fault.
But come 6pm the Convict was ready to record a short television clip. He was deeply apologetic, he said. Though he didn’t sound like it. Rather, as he toyed with the Toddler haircut, he seemed to blame the police for not having interpreted the law in his favour. In BorisWorld, ignorance of the law is a valid excuse, it seems. Johnson just wanted to move on. It would be wrong to resign now because of Ukraine. Though arguably the UK needed a leader with a strong moral compass more than ever these days. And it wasn’t as if the UK didn’t have a track record of replacing leaders during wartime. Not that we are at war.
Johnson was markedly less comfortable when facing questions. Could everyone just forget about the fact that he had lied so many times he had forgotten what he had lied about and broken his own rules on multiple occasions, he begged. After all, he had lied in good faith because he had really, really believed his own lies. Honest. And if we could just ignore the fact he is totally untrustworthy, he would get on with not dealing with the cost of living and energy crisis.
I mean, he’d only been to a party for nine minutes: it’s going down all the time. Before too long he won’t have been to it – so surely that didn’t count. Well, fine. Then what excuses would the Convict come up with when he was fined in the future for attending those parties that went on for hours and where everyone got thoroughly shitfaced. The other parties that Johnson insisted never took place. Boris shook his head. He would lie about that as and when the need arose.