For a party with an 80-seat majority, the Conservatives have racked up an error-stricken list longer than a Meat Loaf classic. However, the lack of judgement shown by MPs and Ministers alike is now growing to be such common practice within this government, that even the average politically minded onlooker can only muster a shrug of the shoulders accompanied by an eye roll. Any government disgrace is now drowned out by monotonous whirlpools of Coronavirus and Brexit and despite the fact that the Tories are being buffeted and barraged by the waves, it is likely that the violent current of Brexit and COVID is also their saviour. It gives their naked incompetence a plate of armour and allows huge stories to be flushed away so that “death by a thousand cuts” will not appear on the Doctor’s post-mortem exam.
This past week has been no different as the Home Secretary, Priti Patel and the Head of Arselicking, Ben Bradley, dualled to see who this week’s biggest political liability was. A closely fought contest, but on balance, Patel just edged Zippy out due to the serious nature of her offence. Patel, of course, is no stranger to serious offences. In fact, for someone so relatively young she seems to be in a hurry to add to her collection of malpractice. This time, instead of holding off the books meetings with foreign governments, it was revealed that she likes to treat her staff like she does the “g’s” at the end of any word. Badly. The independent report was compellin’, Patel was found to be bullyin’.
Sir Alex Allen did not mince his words when it came to this report, clearly outlining how the Home Secretary has breached ministerial code, “Her approach on occasions has amounted to behaviour that can be described as bullying in terms of the impact felt by individuals”. But naturally, Boris stood by his woman. His young, ethnic minority background Home Secretary. One can question why he decided to fight her corner in this case and draw two conclusions. The first, and most likely, is that Johnson in penniless when it comes to political capital at the moment. He needs key figures around him to stay there and be on their best behaviour during these times of utter chaos within Downing Street. Since Dom’s departure, the Prime Minister has found out that he is actually in charge and will need to have some experienced ministers at the table to remind him of that fact. The second possibility is that he is terrified that if he sacked Patel for bullying, she might turn his schoolbag inside out, shove his head down the toilet or make fart noises any time he sits down in the Commons. A risk BoJo was not willing to take it seems.
If Patel did make it seem that Johnson had chronic flatulence, there is little doubt who would proudly rise and take the blame, Ben Bradley MP. Poor Ben has been such a good boy all year round. He has voted the way he has been told, appeared on numerous TV programmes when nobody else would and even embarrassed himself to fulfil Lyndon Crosby’s dead cat theory. But when little boys are deprived of attention for too long, they tend to act out. It seems that upon the arrival of Johnson’s 6th, 7th or 8th child this year, that Bradley has been becoming increasingly agitated at the lack of playtime Boris is giving him. This has caused him to go beyond his brief of saying silly things to saying monumentally stupid things. We were treated to 2 real beauties in the last 7 days. His first misstep was claiming that we should have a minister for men because we have a minister for women, the gendered equivalent of “all lives matter”. What Bradley failed to account for, was the fact that the full title of the position is the Minister for Women and Equality, meaning that discrimination against males is also part of their remit. If that stupidity did not catch the PMs eye, then surely a good old quote from Martin Luther King would. Bradley posted an MLK quote, followed by his own hot take on the depth of it, “His point was that skin colour doesn’t matter. We’re equal, Now you want to define people by their physical characteristics?”. Of all the people you would want not to reply to your post on MLK, it would be MLK’s daughter. But Big Ben can’t catch a break at the moment, and after Bernice King put him right, the tweet was promptly deleted.
All Ben wants is for Boris to ruffle his hair like he did on the campaign trail, tell him he’s a “good lad” and that he truly is the future of the Tory Party. But it seems like Johnson has bigger fish to fry, such as his short-tempered Home Secretary, a change in his advisory team and actually taking charge of governing.