If a spoof version of Sue Gray’s report into the many Downing Street parties that happened during Covid-19 lockdown can terrify the Tory government, what will the real one do?
Comedian Joe Lycett isn’t normally considered political, or a satirist, and it seems he was just having a bit of fun when he tweeted this:
BREAKING: Leaked Sue Gray report reveals shocking abuse of the rules. Hard to see how the PM can cling on after this. pic.twitter.com/l0IQMcio0t
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) January 27, 2022
It states (allegedly from Sue Gray):
“A summary of my main findings:
“1. A culture of Covid-19 regulation rule-breaking at Number 10 Downing Street.
“2. Games were played which were known as ‘Slow Dance’ and ‘Pass the Arsehole’.
“3. A number of WhatsApp groups were established to organise gatherings, with titles including ‘Definitely A Meeting <winking emoji>’ and ‘Down It Street’.
“4. At one party, <redacted> a senior minister insisted all cabinet ministers get onto a table and perform Pure & Simple by Hear’Say.
“5. Before one of the gatherings <redacted> who worked closely with the PM insisted everyone be tested and was subsequently referred to as ‘Twateral Flow’ by advisors.
“6. A video of the PM’s wife at one party confirms her attendance in which she is heard saying, ‘it could be as few as four and as many as sixty kids’ lol.
“7. One advisor insisted this report makes clear ‘it is categorically not a breach of the rules to be part of a human centipede if said centipede was formed prior to lockdown’.
“Please forward any queries to my email [email protected]”
In a follow-up post, Lycett shared a message claiming to be from an employee of a cabinet minister: “Your tweet this morning was read as an actual serious leak from Sue Gray’s report.”
So he has now written the following, which explains why, like so many of us, he is angry about what the Partygate revelations mean – and why he is utterly unrepentant about causing any distress to the government:
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) January 28, 2022
It says [boldings mine]:
“Well it’s been an odd couple of days. I catfished (sort of accidentally) Nadine Dorries and then supposedly catfished (sort of accidentally) the whole government. I wrote some jokes on Twitter, some dumb people (some in our government) found them plausible rather than funny, and now I’m in most of the newspapers.
“I write comedy sometimes as a way of using anger. I write a daft letter about a parking fine or change my name to Hugo Boss or fake a Sue Gray report, all essentially because I’m angry. I’m angry right now probably for the same reason many other people are angry. In the early stages of lockdown in 2020 my best friend died from cancer. He was the person who had been with me through my journey in comedy the most closely; he had been to the smallest pub gigs all the way up to the Apollo and when I was first on Graham Norton. He had been ill for a number of years and towards the end I had helped as a part time carer. I watched him slip away, gradually, over months, and all that comes with it. It’s a long story for another time. But he died, at the start of lockdown, and I wasn’t there because I was following the rules, and we had a tiny insufficient funeral, because we were following the rules, and I drove his kids away from that funeral back to Birmingham without any sort of wake, because we were following the rules, and it felt unnatural and cruel and almost silly, but we did it because we followed the rules. So I suppose like thousands of others with their own stories, I’m angry about that.
“I’m not a political comic particularly and rarely if ever make outwardly political statements. And although I’ve never voted for the Tories (huge surprise) I’m not in the business of trashing them for the sake of it either. In the old days the Conservatives were literally about ‘conserving’. They believed in historical institutions and traditions, promoted incremental change and cautious progress. For a somewhat lefty w*nk*r like me that of course conflicted with my beliefs about gay marriage, the treatment of women and minorities, but I respected their approach in other areas and found some of their policies and ideology to be stable and reassuring.
“This lot don’t seem to be into that. They’re about power and little else. They torch traditions and institutions with ease if it helps them retain their grip. To Hell with my dead friend, they think, and all your dead friends and dead relatives. You followed the rules and we didn’t but we’re in power and that’s all that matters so spin on it.
“So I get angry and I write a few jokes about Sue Gray’s report, a report which will probably change nothing and we’ll all be here again in the not-too-distant future, in some other scandal, with some other liars. But for now you might wonder how it feels to have been described in the papers as having caused these people ‘chaos’ and ‘mayhem’ and ‘mass panic’ because of a few jokes.
“Let me be clear: it feels absolutely f*cking fantastic.”
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