In my last column I alluded to Harold Wilson’s famous saying that a week is a long time in politics and that has certainly been proved true over the past seven days.
The writing was on the wall for Boris Johnson from the moment that Chancellor Rishi Rich Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid decided completely separately, purely coincidentally and not at all in a coordinated move, to resign from cabinet.
And somehow, less than 48 hours after the avalanche of resignations that followed and Boris finally accepted the game was up, as the wannabes for the Tory leadership started to declare their intention to stand for the top job, Richy already had an American election-style polished campaign video circulating.
Quick work you may say, or more likely he’s had it in the can for weeks, maybe even months, just waiting for the right moment.
No matter what you think about the chaos that had engulfed Johnson’s leadership behind closed doors, that’s Gove-level treachery right there. Not a great start for someone who says he wants to restore trust.
So maybe instead of Rishi Rich, a better title might be Sneaky Sunak, although with his brand already tainted by that green card business and his super rich missus having non dom status for tax purposes, regardless of the present odds it would surely be tantamount to admitting defeat in the next election already if the man whose answer to the cost of living crisis is for us plebs to tighten our belts even further (not easy if you can’t afford a belt) is put into No 10 in a few weeks time.
Others who know they don’t stand a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning (Shapps for one) are joining the queue in the hope that it will give them leverage into a cabinet post once the storm settles. In reality, maybe four of them have a fighting chance.
It’s all very tacky and is sure to get undignified even by British politics’ standards (new education secretary Andrea Jenkyns giving protesters the finger this week shows how bad things have become. Even I would think twice before doing that), although if the end result includes consigning the abhorrent Rwanda policy to the bin of shame along with Maleficent, it’s creator, I’ll take that as a win.
At time of writing, nine chancers have thrown their hat into the ring with probably at least one or two more to follow. It marks an important crossroads for the Conservative Party because with Durham Police doing them a huge favour over Kier Starmer’s Beergate issue, they now know that with the invisible man remaining as leader of the opposition, if they can just concentrate on the important stuff instead of the sleaze they have a year and a bit to try and pull things around.
But whether they have the sense to see that and avoid a massive swing from the last election result remains to be seen because political parties are notorious for failing to act on public opinion. It’s the beast that ultimately eats itself from the tail upwards.
The candidates should be careful what they wish for because one day it could be them feeling the sharp stab of betrayal between the shoulder blades.
So, it turns out that the ITV4 programme I set my timer for on Saturday was called Monster CARP.
Quote of the week:
“Them’s the breaks.”
Stupid TV quiz answer of the week
Q: Mayo is Spanish for which month of the year?
Q: The Tanzanian Screeching Frog is native to which continent?
A: South America