Priti Patel – like Dominic Raab before her – is desperate for you to believe that the Tory rebels queuing up to give Boris Johnson the heave-ho from 10 Downing Street (before the constant partying destroys the building) are flogging a dead horse.
If their cause really is hopeless, then they don’t matter, and Patel is wasting her breath. Right?
So what she really means, when she says things like, “This isn’t about a parade [of leadership candidates] or a contest of letters,” is: “I’m very frightened that there will be a leadership contest, the guy who gave me my cushy Home Office job will lose, and I’ll be out on my ear.”
That’s why she’s making up a story that the letters going in to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, are a “sideshow”. She’s just worried she’ll lose her job!
Worse still are her apparent reasons for wanting to put Johnson’s failings as prime minister behind us all: “We need to concentrate on doing our jobs.”
“Look at what is going on in the world right now, look at the challenges that we face domestically. We can’t ignore those.”
“Our job is to deliver on the people’s priorities. They won’t thank the Conservative party for talking about itself at a time when people have anxieties, concerns, apprehensions.”
We had far more “anxieties, concerns, apprehensions” during Covid lockdown but the Conservative government was only thinking about itself at the time, with its party-a-go-go attitude.
Weren’t government ministers and employees choosing precisely to “ignore” everything that was “going on in the world” and the “challenges that we face domestically” while they were raving it up?
Isn’t it true that the last thing anybody wanted to do in Downing Street during that 20-month (at least) boozy binge was “concentrate on doing [their] jobs”?
If the government’s record had been even slightly better – if the Tories were able to shine a light on any successes over the past three years that have made our lives easier – then Patel might have had a chance to get away with it.
But their handling of the Covid-19 crisis has killed off nearly 200,000 people who could have been alive today if Boris Johnson’s leadership hadn’t been so godawful.
Their Brexit has pitched the UK into a cost-of-living crisis that may take more lives.
And their determination to sell off the National Health Service piecemeal has meant that we are all in far more danger of dying as a result than we were before Johnson took over in 2019.
We will all be better off without Boris Johnson pretending to be responsible while stinking up Downing Street with his loutish lackadaisical ‘lad’ culture (with the possible exception of lickspittles like Patel).
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