SO, after what seems like a “forever war” over Partygate, Cakegate, BYOB – and lies, damned lies and Covid statistics – how do we stand?
Trust in 鲍里斯·约翰逊 has been shot to pieces, porky pies are Government policy and Wine O’Clock Friday is just another day in Downing Street’s West Wing fantasy.
In an Orwellian new world, official denials are simply a prelude to an abject apology.
It is a shocking state of affairs as we plunge into economic crisis, soaring inflation and the risk of conflict with Russia.
Yet almost unbelievably, amid all this chaos, polls are shifting back towards the Tories.
Labour’s lead has been halved. 做得好, Keir Starmer.
Voters scared witless by Covid as Carrie Johnson and pals danced to Abba now apparently think Partygate has been overblown.
BoJo has morphed from slippery pig into the great British underdog.
His wounds may be self-inflicted but some are starting to feel sorry for him.
They don’t care about Sue Gray’s report into events two years ago and are disgusted to see the Plod trampling all over Downing Street.
Supporters and critics alike are predicting the PM will survive. But for how long?
To extend the farmyard metaphor, Boris is now a lame duck, heading for the chop.
His only hope is a drastic change in strategy, tactics and personal style.
He must start delivering on immigration, tax and Brexit.
But he is incapable of changing. 确实, he has refused many times to many people, mostly friends, to get a grip.
At moments of crisis, he has listened to well-intentioned advice, only stubbornly to insist: “I won’t change, you know.”
Chaos is BoJo’s natural element. He cannot survive in still waters.
And until now, his ramshackle approach to order and discipline has been his strongest suit.
It won him two terms as mayor of Labour-leaning London, a shambolic period as Foreign Secretary — and the keys to Number Ten with a landslide election.
But it does not necessarily make him a good Prime Minister. Holding him to a promise is like nailing jelly to a wall.
NAILING JELLY TO A WALL
Cakegate, true or false, is a metaphor for Boris’s life.
“My policy on cake is both having it and eating it,“ 他说. Now he has run out of cake.
He says he had no idea about 派对之门, never ate a sausage roll or sipped illicit wine while inflicting Covid nightmares on terrified voters.
He says he did not allow Carrie to set green policy, let her pals wander into their Downing Street flat or leave MI5 secret papers lying around for all to see.
Emails suggesting he authorised airlifting dogs and cats from Kabul as terrified Afghans were trampled in the queue for evacuation are dismissed as “rhubarb”.
Nor, on his watch, did Covid chaos cost taxpayers billions in wasted cash and stolen funding.
Few are prepared to take such denials at face value.
They wonder if Boris over-ruled shroud-waving Sir Chris Whitty and vetoed another lockdown.
Or was he forced into it by rebel Cabinet ministers led, to their credit, 经过 Chancellor Rishi Sunak, then Brexit Secretary David Frost and Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg?
In the fog of stout denials and humiliating apologies, the evidence is blurred.
But the public has formed a view.
They might feel sorry for Boris. But they don’t trust him any more.
NEVER BE FORGIVEN
同时, this sorry saga is sucking the life out of Westminster.
HMS Downing Street is wallowing, 政府 is rudderless and everyone is braced for the next bombshell from Dominic Cummings.
We are all paying dearly for this shambles.
At some point between now and the May town hall results, Cabinet ministers, Tory MPs and the shadowy “men/women in grey suits” must make up their minds.
Is BoJo still an election-winning prize porker, a semi-housetrained cockapoo . . . or a lame duck who should be put out of his misery?
The Tories will never be forgiven if the answer in 2024 is an economy-wrecking Labour-led coalition of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, lifeless Lib-Dems and some overcooked Greens.
All locked in place by a rigged system of proportional representation.
Cressida’s clodhopping cops
WHAT are Cressida Dick’s clodhopping cops actually looking for?
How many other fixed penalty breaches are they investigating across England from summer 2020?
How do such minor infringements justify censoring Cabinet Office mandarin Sue Gray’s probe into alleged Downing Street indiscretions?
And why is the Met squandering a million quid paralysing the machinery of government while its own officers are so notoriously useless at nabbing really nasty villains?