So the clown car has finally crashed, three years too late. The clearly unfit Billy Bunter parody has staggered and thrashed and offended until it became too much, even for the parasitical party that owed him some kind of loyalty for giving them untrammelled power on the back of his litany of lies in 2016 and 2019. We got a glimpse of what a Johnson premiership would look like when he first assumed office and declared that he would get Brexit done by self-imposed deadlines, then proceeded to lose vote after vote in the Commons, setting new records for failure every day.

He famously reacted to these embarrassments by unlawfully proroguing parliament; an act that involved sending Jacob Rees-Mogg to lie to the Queen. His hypocritical backers, who would have aneurysms any time Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dared not to praise Her Majesty sufficiently, instead defended lying to the monarch they claim to revere above all other lifeforms because their hero had done it to defend their Holy Brexit against the infidels. He proceeded to throw his toys out of the pram and internal opponents out of the Conservative Party, among the victims Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames: another Tory sacred cow sacrificed at the altar of the Holy Brexit.

His blatant lies about Brexit amplified by the right-wing press, coupled with Blairite MPs deliberately sabotaging Corbyn’s Labour because they didn’t get to be in charge, led to an 80-seat majority and the end of any effective alternative prospectus for the country. Hard Brexit was on. Johnson filled his cabinet with incompetent, braindead zealots and bootlicking sycophants, which the galaxy brains of the wider party didn’t imagine could prove to be a problem down the line. As much as Johnson’s cunning and intellect has been laughably overstated, he clearly picked the cabinet based on not encouraging any potential successors to him. This will now prove a nightmare to the Tory party, as the public don’t really like any potential successors to any degree. The only one who made any positive mark, Rushi Sunak, had his murky financial arrangements and US green card details exposed, no doubt by a Johnson acolyte, torpedoing his chances of succession.

Johnson’s entire tenure has proven that he only enjoys campaigning, and finds actual governing boring. This is clearly congruent with his wider character, because campaigning can just involve massive lies and bombast, but governing involves following through projects, making serious decisions under pressure and letting people down sometimes. Ironically, by not wanting to let people down (as Johnson craves popularity), he let more people down than he ever would have by taking the role seriously.

180, 000 people were helped into an early grave by Johnson’s cowardice at facing down his rabid backbenchers and corporate donors and locking down too late multiple times. His starving of the NHS led to an appalling lack of preparation, and then paying way over the odds for PPE. As if this weren’t bad enough, the urgency of the crisis actually led to Johnson thinking hard about how to funnel this required money to friends of the Tory party. Personal and political friends with no connection to healthcare equipment were fast-tracked and shovelled dump-trucks of public money, with no contractual obligation to return funds if the equipment was not supplied or could not be used. Some individuals even had the nerve to brag about setting up a company on the fly to gain a contract, not fulfilling the contract properly, and then buying themselves a house with the proceeds. Matt Hancock engineered a PPE contract with his old pub landlord. Johnson defended Mr Magoo of Barnard Castle when it would have been so much more logical and less damaging to fire him on the spot. Turns out, it was to protect Boris Johnson all along.

Scandals reproduced at the rate of Johnson’s love-children; trying to get the crooked Owen Paterson off the hook, begging Tory donors to pay for his furnishings, using public money to get laid as Mayor of London, cheating on his wife while she was having treatment for cancer and trying to get the mistress (later his wife) a six-figure job paid for by Joe Public, and that’s just a few. Numerous Tory MPs under his watch have been involved in sex offences, including sexual harassment, watching porn at work, child molestation, and accusations of rape. He appointed an open fascist as Home Secretary, and protected her from having to resign despite her being found to have bullied civil service staff. He spent significant sums of public money to defend her and pay off the victims, as well as ‘spaffing’ hundreds of thousands of pounds defending legal challenges against the government, before trying to change the law to make it harder to hold government accountable. He later became the first serving Prime Minister to be charged with a criminal offence in office, only to laugh it off and gaslight everybody by stretching the definition of a work event to slapstick proportions. His serial defence against repeated dishonesty was stupidity: “I didn’t realise”; “Nobody told me”; “That wasn’t my understanding”, and he actually thought this was a positive trait in a leader. He “took full responsibility” without ever personally apologising or explaining why his actions were wrong. Even his ridiculous resignation was an exercise in blaming everyone else and running away from the inevitable consequences of his own actions.

I guess the most laughable aspect of this bin-fire of a premiership is the Tory MPs pretending suddenly to care about honesty and integrity. Anyone with a modicum of critical thinking capacity knew that Johnson was lying through his teeth about ‘no Irish sea border’, but they stood on this platform and defended it in 2019. This wasn’t about him changing, and springing awkward things on them unexpectedly. He repeatedly defended the Brexit Bullshit Bus lie, even when he had it pointed out to him why it was wrong. He has been sacked twice from notoriously dishonest professions for lying. He was demonstrably a pathological liar prior to being Mayor of London, let alone Tory leader. They knew he was a liar. From his London Mayor tenure, they could also fairly easily have derived that he is lazy and prefers to let the underlings do the hard work. Perhaps they could also have realised he loves making huge promises he never follows through with: the Garden Bridge and opposing Heathrow expansion for two obvious examples. They could also have determined, with little effort, that he tends to spaff inordinate sums of public money on stupid projects that, even when actually completed, are resounding failures. The London Cable Car only carries handfuls of people every day, and is estimated to have cost taxpayers £24 million, despite one Boris Johnson pledging that its cost would not be underwritten by the public.

Boris Johnson was evidently and obviously a reprobate from way before his tenure as PM, but we were all gaslit by the press and establishment goons defending him as some kind of off-the-wall visionary who was tuned into the public like no one else. The truth was always there for those with their eyes open. Perhaps the public will not be so easily bamboozled by a circus act or chancer next time, but I don’t hold much hope.

When the choice was presented at the last General Election between sensible and transformative policies that targeted specific structural issues in the UK economic model presented by a genial elderly chap who nonetheless had been relentlessly smeared as the devil incarnate, and comforting lies belched out by a shambling after-dinner speaker with all the grace of a pantomime horse, the country took leave of their senses and elected the clown with enough seats for free reign. This free-thinking electorate did what they’ve done in every election since 1979; they voted for the party Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers instructed them to.

We are now more than 40 years into Thatcher’s neoliberal project, and what do we have to show for it? I mean other than levels of inequality last seen in pre-revolutionary France. Every institution is corrupted and crumbling: primary and secondary schools have teachers bringing in food for hungry children while their classrooms are deemed a health hazard. Universities have been corrupted like all industries remodelled to chase profit; they cram in as many students as they can carry and then offer substandard education led by lecturers living in their cars, while the Vice-Principals are picking up the kind of salaries you’d expect from hedge fund managers. The National Health Service is suffering unprecedented delays in operations and ambulance response times, due to deliberate underfunding, needless outsourcing and burnt out staff leaving in droves. The Passport Office is in meltdown, Border force is forced to follow wacky schemes like offshoring refugees and inspecting private airfields for smuggling, while leaving the border at Dover as a smuggler’s paradise because the level of checks required would bring the country to a standstill and prove the utter idiocy of Brexit to all of its citizens. The criminal justice system is leaving victims and accused waiting years for justice, all while more loony laws like criminalising peaceful protest are added to the statute books.

In fact, the last point is illustrative of the only thing this government has done effectively: force borderline fascist laws onto its citizens. Bills to allow cops to potentially rape and murder with impunity; banning peaceful protest if it upsets the Home Secretary; forcing photo ID to be shown at polling stations to disenfranchise poor and ethnic minorities, and these are just the tip of the authoritarian iceberg. We now face rolling crises: the most urgent being climate, which is effectively ignored by Rishi Sunak as he incentivises more drilling to take us closer to the point of no return for 2 degrees warming. The cost of living crisis demonstrates that the Tories resent spending a single penny of taxpayer’s money on non-Tory voters or donors. The policy was only rolled out eventually to save Boris Johnson’s skin in the wake of the Sue Gray report. Which brings us to the head of this Chimps’ Tea Party of a government: Boris Johnson, who with every grubby scandal just doubles down and brazens it out while bribing and threatening underlings and backbenchers to keep him in post, despite obviously repeatedly lying at the despatch box.

The pathetic intermittent statements imploring everyone to return to office working is so obviously just a favour for the newspapers Johnson desperately relies on to gaslight the remaining gullible public who still support him, while much of the Covid negligence and tiresome threats to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol were driven by his pandering to the hard-right ERG whose approval he must retain. There’s not a person in the country or cabinet he’s not lied to, yet still some bootlickers continue to prop him up. This must be what an empire at the tail end of its decline looks like, and it could get a lot worse before it improves. And nothing will improve while Johnson or Bluekip remain in office. Keir Starmer has shown he has not much more integrity than Johnson in abandoning all his leadership pledges and launching antisemitic purges of his own membership, so if we want leadership and hope, we’re going to have to show it ourselves and rise up, or accept a decline we don’t yet know the severity of, only its inevitability.

I don’t know what some people have been expecting. As the tired old adage goes: when somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Anyone with functioning brain cells and a modicum of curiosity knew that Boris Johnson was a habitual liar, even if his other indiscretions were kept ambiguous enough to sow some form of negligible doubt in the minds of Mr or Mrs Floating Voter from Marginal Target Seat. If you or I walked into a job interview and handed over a CV that included two previous sackings for dishonesty, it’s doubtful we’d even get to complete the interview. Even accounting for the extreme class privilege at work, the fact millions of people suspended belief to such a degree is a pretty astounding feat for the propaganda networks in the broadcast media and social media realms. The fact that voters heard most of the House of Commons explaining why we could not possibly leave the European Union without a deal, including many on the Conservative benches, and deduced that the proven liar who rubbished those claims was the only one really telling them the truth would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

Of course, I’m being a little facetious. I know full well that it wasn’t about truth or fiction, but Johnson was the only man telling them exactly what they wanted to hear: that the impossible was actually possible. That experts didn’t know what they were talking about. That concerned citizens were traitors. Those who voted for Johnson voted for what they most wanted to happen like a child wishes that Santa would bring them a flying unicorn. Both of those examples probably have a little serious voice in their back of their minds telling them this can’t possibly be made real, but their grasp on reality is so tenuous as to snap as soon as a charismatic buffoon confirms that yes, of course I’ll sort that out for you, I don’t know why the others made so much fuss about it! They imagined by voting for Johnson they had got one over on those that opposed their choice and he would fashion it in his own inimitable way. Of course, he couldn’t and hasn’t fashioned it just as he can’t bend time or breathe fire. He was promising mutually exclusive things. He made pledges that were entirely in the gift of other countries he had deliberately made enemies out of with his jingoistic polemic, misrepresentation and fabrications. Yet these diehard Brexiteers still cling to him, if loosely now, because they are still unable to cope with the notion that they were lied to, and their ‘opponents’ were right all along about the charlatan’s bullshit.

The writing was on the wall for the future direction of the Conservative Party the minute that Johnson expelled twenty plus Tory MPs for not blindly following his utter fantasy and got away with it. Surely the remaining devotees of King Liar must have expected that this would less be a government of equals, than a King’s court with the Jester in charge. See how he demands loyalty yet offers none. Advisors, civil servants, and assorted colleagues fly left and right under the wheels of the Boris Bullshit Bus. He makes a booboo, then flails around like a chimps’ tea party until the problem goes away. Anyone is expendable bar him.

Any Tory MPs who genuinely want him gone should have realized some time ago that he assembled his cabinet precisely on the basis that they would not ever threaten his position. Look at and listen to halfwits like Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and Nadine Dorries, and understand that their idiocy and incompetence is exactly why they are in cabinet. Johnson almost let one halfway looking competent minister slip in when he unceremoniously constructively dismissed Sajid Javid and grasped for Rishi Sunak as Chancellor, but he’s fixed that by leaking the details of his wife’s crooked tax affairs and his US green card. Sunak is now extinguished as a potential replacement. Tories who only care about winning the next election look hither and thither to find the cupboard bare. Anyone genuinely suggesting Liz Truss as a potential Prime Minister should take no part in serious political discussion. There is no other ‘talent’, at least not in the narrow terms that Johnson has now set the bar for: ‘personality’. Johnson has turned the government into a freakshow; a circus of corruption where he is both ringmaster and lead clown. When something inevitably goes wrong, he denies being ringmaster at all and reverts to the clown persona: “I didn’t know the event where people were chatting, dancing and getting pissed was a party”. Then when shit gets really serious, like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he can’t get his cosplay fatigues on fast enough for a photo op: it’s back to ringmaster.

The truth is he’s been enabled every step of the way: by liberals in getting elected through their relentless hatchet jobs on Corbyn’s Labour, and by Tories who indulge his consistent misconduct and brazen dishonesty. But has this combined establishment erred here? By allowing Johnson to effectively form a personality cult akin to Trump, have they allowed the veneer of democracy to be pulled back too far, and risked a public uprising? Maybe not soon, but when the curtain is pulled back too far; when the public see the puppet strings because the PM couldn’t be circumspect or discreet if his infidelity depended on it, then the risk to the cosy status quo grows. The question right now is who has suffered the worst buyer’s remorse from electing Boris Johnson?

Whomever that is, could they please suck it up and make amends immediately, because the rest of us who knew exactly what kind of despicable reprobate he was before the demented geriatrics of the Tory membership crowned him their Clown Prince, and we the sage never got a chance to ensure he was consigned to the kind of obscure oblivion the delusional blimp so richly deserves.

So just another calamity in the clown car cavalcade that most of us with functioning brain cells could see coming from space, as British forces are forced to withdraw from Afghanistan in an utter humiliation on the scale of Lord North’s loss of America. Twenty long years of occupation and, we were reassured, stabilisation, only for us to retreat with our tail between our legs and relinquish the country to the same force we apparently had to stop at all costs in 2001. Interpreters, rebel fighters, women and more have effectively been tossed to the wolves. We have acted like a corrupt witness protection unit who sweet-talk our way to vulnerable people snitching to us in exchange for immunity and protection from the mafia, only to piss off in the dead of night and leave the mob to affect their brutal reprisals on the suckers who trusted us.

Just on a human level, it inspires pity and fury in equal measure when you think of what the Afghan people sacrificed to assist our perverted mission, which the delusional liberal interventionists continue to insist was about nation building and protecting women, all while stockholders in Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics were laughing all the way to the bank. There is grotesque symbolism in the sight of desperate Afghans clinging to the landing gear of American military cargo planes and plummeting to their inevitable deaths, when we remember that the Bush administration’s pretext for invading the country was effectively vengeance for the 9/11 attacks, summed up most harrowingly by the photograph of a lone man also plummeting to his demise from the conflagration of the stricken World Trade Centre.

Joe Biden has received opprobrium almost unprecedented for a liberal US president from his own party and other allies, but has clearly calculated that his midterm chances will be infinitely better by ending the US involvement in this foreign war early. The Establishment may hate it, but the American public generally approve of his choice. Meanwhile, we’ve had the farcical spectacle of the likes of Lisa Nandy and Wes Streeting, who always insist that big structural changes can’t happen in the UK, suggesting that building an entirely new liberal democracy in a foreign land was infinitely possible, if only we hadn’t withdrawn so early. The lack of self-awareness is excruciating in them just as much as in Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who thought he should not have to deal with the trifling matter of the fall of Kabul while he was trying to top up his tan, and knows that he won’t have to resign by virtue of the fact that his boss is Boris Johnson. The pair of them are so lazy and entitled in fact that they believe there is nothing remotely questionable about both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister being out of the country on holiday at the same time. Raab would seem to have a particularly personal investment in “British workers being among the worst idlers in the world”.

The spectacle of MPs lining up to castigate the PM and Raab was slightly surreal, because nobody on either of the two front benches can ever admit that invading Afghanistan was entirely wrong in the first place, nor can they admit that Britain cannot do anything without America holding their hand, so you got the slightly far-fetched suggestion that Britain could have formed other alliances within NATO to compensate and stay in the country. This delusional imperial mindset, which was briefly challenged under Corbyn’s leadership of Labour (Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott were the only serving Labour MPs who actually voted against the invasion at the time), is rife in both major parties, meaning we have a situation where a catastrophic and hugely costly occupation provides very little discouragement to doing the same thing again at the behest of Uncle Sam. The cowardly manner in which the UK have treated Wikileaks founder Julian Assange confirms that the ‘special relationship’ is actually that of an obnoxious bully and his obsequious underling.

Nothing animates the Tory benches like a foreign misadventure, as they all like to imagine themselves as continuing the adventures of the British Empire, so there were many stirring speeches; far more than on piffling issues such as Covid outbreaks or nationwide food shortages caused by Brexit. Keir Starmer mixed some decent rhetoric with his broken record refrain of having been Director of Public Prosecutions and then embarrassed himself by unabashedly championing liberal interventionism, as if he had learnt the square root of nothing from Blair’s misadventures in the Middle East. The whole thing was pure Kafka: a disastrous outcome to a disastrous policy where thousands of lives were ended or destroyed and trillions were burned through, and all anyone could do was split hairs on the timing of our departure.

Of course, what shouldn’t even be up for debate is our duty to take in as many Afghan refugees as possible to prevent their likely torture, incarceration or murder. This is not simply because it is morally right; it is because we caused these problems by invading their country in the first place! We reaped so now we must sow, despite the fascist Home Secretary insisting we could only possibly take five thousand initially. Her xenophobic schtick is beginning to wear thin even amongst Tory hardliners in this case.

So back to Dominic Raab, who recently frantically took photographs of himself posing sternly on a phone call to imply that he actually did take his job incredibly seriously after all despite the evidence to the contrary, while some of his defenders actually went as far as to claim that too much was being made of him not answering a crucial call from Afghanistan diplomats, as “it wouldn’t have made much difference to the situation anyway”. Interesting justification, which in any other job would see you fired on the spot, and reminded me of the classic Kill Bill scene where Michael Madsen’s character Budd wanders into his nightclub bouncer job repeatedly late and justifies it to his boss with “there ain’t nobody to bounce”. Needless to say, said boss reacts by striking off most of his shifts, which should also be Raab’s fate, only it should apply to all of his ministerial shifts, until the end of time. Even better, let’s bloody station him in Kabul.

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. We surely all remember this iconic mnemonic for recalling the fates of Henry VIII’s wives, and it occurred to me that it might be a good way to help the uninformed masses to better  remember the antics of our current cabinet: something along the lines of: ‘Disgraced, embezzled, lied. Disgraced, embezzled, fired.’ There’s hardly been such a cabinet of flagrant cheats, crooks, bullies and dumbards in modern British history. So what’s the scorecard looking like right now?

RISHI SUNAK, CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER

Considered hot favourite to replace Johnson when he inevitably self-immolates, Sunak is everything Johnson is not: suave, well-groomed, articulate and apparently capable. However, he is of Asian origin, which would leave him massively at a disadvantage knowing the proclivities of the Conservative membership. He initially only assumed the role because Dominic Cummings constructively dismissed Sajid Javid, which suggested that Sunak was a spineless yes man who would be kept on a short leash by Johnson. Whether this is true was not immediately apparent, and Sunak surged in popularity following the furlough scheme, but he has arguably squandered this since with his lack of support for the self-employed and with his disastrous ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme shown to drive up Covid infection rates. His brand was diminished further when it was revealed that he was one of the principal opponents of further lockdowns, helping to delay them, with tragic consequences for the public. The fact he was trying to lobby for a corrupt business to gain taxpayer money on behalf of his old boss was unedifying, but to be fair if anyone was pressured by a former boss they might find it hard to say no. However, it does show him to be a weak man and potentially corruptible, despite his immense personal wealth through his wife. The jury is out on just how contemptible he is as a minister, but he will have to show his real chops in the months after lockdown is eased. Used to lie a lot with ease before he had an important role, as he was often wheeled out to the media to defend the indefensible.

CRIMES? Lied.

MATT HANCOCK, HEALTH SECRETARY

A man so conceited and deeply corrupt you’d probably want to knock his teeth out if you ran across him in your local, only it wouldn’t happen because he’d start sobbing and wrap his arms about your knees to protect himself from your wrath. An absolute worm of a man who has proven many times that somebody really can go through adult life with no functioning embarrassment response. It’s difficult to know whether he could even recognise self-esteem, as he would be just as likely to walk into IKEA with no trousers on a bet to ingratiate himself with the party leadership, as he would be in reversing his previous belief that British soldiers who fought on the beaches at Normandy would roll over in their graves at parliament being prorogued, just because Boris Johnson chose to do it. Has the absolute brass neck to contract out NHS work to a company his sister runs while he holds shares in the company; literally filling his pockets from the pandemic, while pretending to be bleeding his heart out to the Covid dead or NHS staff he has failed and failed and added insult to injury with a derisory pay offer.

CRIMES? Embezzled, lied.

PRITI PATEL, HOME SECRETARY

A vicious and twisted cosplay fascist, Patel revels in throwing her weight around, and imagines she’s some kind of junta General rather than the Home Secretary. One of many intellectually-challenged members of the cabinet, who takes out her frustration at not being able to string two coherent sentences together on her colleagues, who she no doubt refers to as underlings. Her surface flaws are remarkably similar to her former shadow minister Diane Abbott (getting figures and words wrong in interviews, patronising tone of voice), but she seems to get very little abuse compared to Abbott, particularly from newspapers run by extremely rich sociopaths, heaven knows why (sarcasm). If Patel was a character in the Wizard of Oz, she would have to be the bastard child of the Scarecrow and the Lion, because she doesn’t seem to have a functioning brain or heart. She describes movements for racial justice as ‘dreadful’, but supports the return of capital punishment as a ‘deterrent’, despite all evidence confirming it does not act as any kind of effective deterrent and is more likely to see the state murdering innocent citizens, the thought of which probably gets her off. In terms of the lack of brainpower, she thinks ‘counterterrorism’ means the same as ‘terrorism’, makes up non-existent numbers in press conferences without shame or correction, and apparently suggested wave machines to deter refugees from Channel crossings. Her lack of critical thinking hurt her when she discovered that trashing the European Union in every other interview is not conducive to signing agreements with said union to return migrants to countries within the union. She treats the Ministerial Code of Conduct as a trifling bore (much like her boss does), leading to many unethical dealings including systematic bullying of her staff which cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds, losing thousands of police records, double-dealing with a foreign power without permission and drawing up a bill that will criminalise peaceful protest.

CRIMES? Disgraced, fired, lied.

DOMINIC RAAB, FOREIGN SECRETARY

Another dimwit zealot, Raab is only made to look better by the batshit utterings of fellow Britannia Unchained travellers Patel and Liz Truss. Superficially photogenic and suave, the second he opens his mouth you realise that there’s nothing but a couple of monkeys playing cymbals and throwing shit inside his head. His voice has the bizarrely soothing timbre of a children’s television presenter, despite vocalising divisive notions like those in poverty just having ‘cashflow issues’ whilst providing no evidence to support this inflammatory assertion. Before he discovered the critical importance of the Dover-Calais crossing, he could mostly be heard passive-aggressively batting away questions about his general lack of morality. Self-awareness is also bereft in Raab, as he supports the government’s hardline stance on restricting immigration which would most likely have prevented his father being able to emigrate to Britain, much like it would have prevented Priti Patel’s parents coming to the country. Interestingly, there have been no current rumours or allegations of misconduct, either financial or sexual from Raab, just some excruciating interviews.

Despite his lack of intellect and gravitas on the world stage, Raab was made Foreign Secretary, where he is inept but still looks vaguely competent compared to his predecessor: Boris Johnson. Scaringly, he actually stepped in as Prime Minister briefly when Johnson was in intensive care: one of the few occasions where the nation breathed a sigh of relief to see Johnson leading the country again.

CRIMES? Lied.

GAVIN WILLIAMSON, EDUCATION SECRETARY

A truly pathetic specimen, whose mediocrity should have seen him relegated to the backbenches some time ago, but of course, being a true Tory he has used cunning and connections to scale the greasy pole. There was a time not so long ago that a true Tory, though mildly corrupt and self-serving, would view certain ministerial positions as prestigious and a source of pride, so would fulfil the obligations of the position to the best of their ability. They might get caught offering dodgy contracts, shagging their secretary or selling questions in parliament, but if they were Defence Minister, they would most definitely not tell Russia to “go away and shut up” like a stroppy teenager, or compromise national security. That’s the kind of thing they accuse the opposition of: the Tories are caricatured after all as the party of Queen and country and Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. Defence of the Realm is one of their biggest selling points. Yet three previous Defence Ministers have now been disgraced and summarily removed from post: Liam Fox for taking his not-so-secret boyfriend on foreign trips with him without adequate security clearance, Michael Fallon for being an old perv, and now Gavin Williamson, for apparently leaking national secrets. It’s incredible to think that losing his Defence position for that specific reason would not see him run out of government for good and potentially facing criminal charges, but this new brand of Conservative Party believes paying for misdeeds is only for the little people. So Williamson was shunted to Education, perhaps to prove to ambitious kids that you don’t have to be particularly smart to be head of most of the nation’s children’s educational prospects. Of course, he has proven even worse in this position, and is second only to Matt Hancock in the humiliation stakes.

CRIMES? Disgraced, lied.

LIZ TRUSS, INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY

The minister also known as ‘Thick Lizzy’, Truss is perhaps the most awkward minister in interviews, not helped by her infamously gormless smile when she’s struggling to compose a response. Notwithstanding her obsession with British cheese, Truss is effectively a work experience negotiator. Imagine a government so breathtakingly arrogant that they dismiss the benefit of experienced EU trade negotiators and replace them with a figure like Truss, who has no previous experience in complex international trade and has so far only signed multiple copied-and-pasted agreements from the previous EU deals, plus a Japan deal that was actually inferior to the previous arrangements. Her glaring lack of intellect fits with her Britannia Unchained zealotry, but in her defence she has not (yet) been caught with her hand in the till or been fired for extreme indiscretions. The fact she didn’t initially support Brexit also indicates she is not quite as dopey as she comes across in some interviews, but don’t be fooled – she is desperate to sell out the country to be a client state of the USA, which would be a nightmare come true if Trump had got re-elected, but as it stands is unlikely to happen any time soon as the Northern Ireland protocol has come into contact with reality.

CRIMES? Lied.

ROBERT JENRICK, HOUSING, COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY

‘Honest Bob’ challenges Johnson and Hancock to the most shamelessly corrupt minister title, famously over-ruling the local government rejection of porn baron Richard Desmond’s luxury housing application in tower Hamlets in order to fast-track approval in time to evade tens of millions in tax liability, which it turned out happened because Desmond lobbied him personally at a Tory party dinner event and donated to party funds to grease the wheels. We can only imagine what favours he may have personally pledged to Jenrick himself. Fortunately this decision was later reversed by the party, but Jenrick didn’t seem ashamed or particularly apologetic for this flagrant abuse of his position, and has continued to lie and propagandise for the party to the media with his faithful flag behind him. He apparently was made Housing Secretary ahead of the vile Esther McVey, who, for all her faults, actually wanted to build genuine social housing as Housing minister, while Jenrick, who owns multiple properties, simply wants to continue the divisive and avaricious policy of allowing big developers to get away with murder as they continue to concrete over the green belt and stack up unaffordable rabbit hutch homes on flood plains and the like. Under his watch, leaseholders have also been royally screwed by being made personally liable for mis-sold properties that now need expensive replacement of flammable Grenfell-style cladding, so it seems as if the Tories now no longer look after all homeowners but only the more affluent, old-money propertied class. Interesting strategy of expanding your potential voter base, but one imagines Jenrick does not care a jot while he’s squirreling away his undeclared kickbacks and walking into a juicy directorship or lobbying job when he’s booted out of office.

CRIMES? Embezzled (alleged), lied.

GEORGE EUSTICE, DEFRA SECRETARY

Yet another minister of a crucial department who sounds as if he’d struggle to tie his own shoelaces in interviews. He shamelessly bullshits and lies about Black Lives Matter, while dismissing any indiscretions from his boss, all with the look of a man haunted by his wife leaving him for a younger model because she couldn’t stand his sullen face and boring recollections of his day. Most farmers and environmentalists, and a lot of his constituents apparently, have christened him ‘George Useless’ on account of him never doing anything useful for them. He has refused to guarantee upholding UK food standards after Brexit, and has broken the current government pledge to prevent use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Basically he is a spineless yes man.

CRIMES? Lied.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER

When you are a child, one of the many things you must naturally learn as you grow up is that life is not just about gratifying yourself all the time, because there are other people in the world you will need to get on with, so you modify your behaviour and compromise to maximise social cohesion. If you disregard these conventions, you’re likely to end up lonely or incarcerated. Of course if you’re born into extraordinary privilege you’re more likely to be indulged in these heliocentric capers and get away with murder. Thus we have Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, a man who time and time again has lied and philandered his way through life and yet had been rewarded by being made leader of the country. Sacked twice for dishonesty, number of children uncertain, left his wife while suffering with cancer for his secretary, whom he also cheated on with a woman he then bribed with taxpayers’ money; there is seemingly no low too depraved for this reprobate. But we go on: he landed a British citizen in an Iranian prison and then did nothing to rectify this error, even after becoming Prime Minister. He was renowned by colleagues and most of the public as the most inept and embarrassing Foreign Secretary in history, with another Britannia Unchained luminary Kwasi Kwarteng saying that Johnson didn’t understand that diplomacy was about being on courteous terms with those you disagreed with, not just bantering with allies. His egregious waste of taxpayers’ money has been a constant issue: particularly dumb examples including the tens of thousands he spent on water cannons which were illegal to use in mainland Britain and had to be sold at a great loss for scrap, the infamous London cable car which operates at a staggering loss, and the garden bridge which cost millions despite never being built. But he doesn’t just waste yours and my money on pigs in pokes, he’s also fond of wetting his own beak. As aforementioned, he funnelled hundreds of thousands of pounds to the woman he had an affair with, Jennifer Arcuri. I believe this fund was intended for British-based business rather than Americans, but an investigation apparently found no impropriety (presumably signed off by Boris Johnson and possibly written by him). He is now in big trouble though, initially for trying to sort out some dodgy tax write-offs for James Dyson, and now for trying to get out of paying for lavish redecoration of his Downing Street flat. His excuse is that he has paid for it personally, but this was clearly paid back to whoever had footed the bill initially, and done grudgingly because he was advised he would be in trouble. Now that he’s seemingly been turned against by the right-wing press and pressured from all sides about his flagrant corruption, he shows his true colours in the Commons, barking out lies and waving his arms up and down frantically like an orang-utan in heat. The fact that he skipped five Cobra meetings to have a jolly with Carrie at the beginning of the pandemic shows how little he cares about duty, diligence or anybody but himself. He is a clownish narcissist of the highest order with little to no empathy for others, and watching him fail repeatedly while scratching the backs of his donors and trying to grab freebies at the taxpayers’ expense really hammers home the historic folly of allowing this idiot to ascend to this platform. And we haven’t even mentioned his casual racism, sexism and homophobia, nor throwing the Irish peace process under a bus and ruining the fishing industry, with many more to follow.

CRIMES? Permanently disgraced, embezzled, lied, fired – full house!

Just to clarify right off the bat, the following thoughts are in no way intended to diminish or piggyback on the struggle that women and trans-women face every day, so please don’t apply the context of a white cis heteronormative guy trying to make it all about him, because it isn’t. It’s infinitely better to listen to actual women and trans-women in terms of the realities of what they face, so I’d advise doing that.

I wanted instead to start by identifying some of the background noise that contributes to the wider culture of disrespecting other people’s consent that funnels into the ultimate ignorance of the consent and autonomy of women. Thinking of some anecdotal experiences to help this thought train along: I didn’t drink alcohol until I was nearly 30. It wasn’t a status thing; being ‘straight edge’ was something I wasn’t aware of and I knew nobody of a similar age who abstained from alcohol. It wasn’t a religious thing: I was and remain mildly agnostic. Psychoanalysts would probably suggest it was because I grew up associating alcohol with unpleasantness. Nothing serious, but I had never had what I would call positive experiences with intoxicated family members or friends.

There were many times when I was out at the pub with friends where they would ask if I wanted a hard drink. It got a little tiresome after a while, as I started to see it less as an encouragement to join the social custom as contempt for my personal choice. One time, inevitably, a friend spiked my soft drink without telling me. I could tell instantly and refused to drink the rest. They found it generally hilarious as you would expect. I took it personally, but looking back it was a cultural thing. The British, particularly men, have an issue with other people’s choices if they veer from the orthodoxy. They don’t see it as a consent issue; they see it almost as a heresy issue, where they consider converting the heathen for their own good. I say mostly men because I also had an incredibly awkward encounter with a woman on the same subject.

I was on holiday with a couple of friends, and we found our way into a cosy South African bar. My memory’s a little hazy, but the woman I believe was either the manager or a senior person at the establishment, and an old friend of one of the people I was there with. She was pretty tipsy and introduced herself to the very socially awkward me, and said that we were all going to have a shot together to celebrate. I mentioned that I couldn’t, but thanked her for the thought. That’s cool, she insisted, it will only be the one drink and no more. Still polite, I repeated that I didn’t drink at all. At this point her demeanour changed to put out and aggravated. Why was I disrespecting her when she was trying to be nice to the silly tourist? All I could do was apologise and feel bemused and slightly humiliated that she had turned a polite rejection into a personal sleight that she wanted to develop into a full-blown dispute. It was only years later I looked back on that incident as broadly similar to what women’s experiences with rejecting men can be like (admittedly without the ultimate fear of violence).

This is not to mention the more obvious systemic issues with employers ignoring the issue of their employees consenting to increased hours, unpaid overtime etc., not to mention harassment and demeaning behaviour at work.

So I guess my wider point was that consent is routinely ignored and disrespected, not only for women but for anyone who is deemed to go against the grain, which is all the more reason why men and trans-men who do not practice and defend toxic masculinity should support the struggle of women and trans-women, because we all have a common enemy: violent men.

It’s important to distinguish what we mean by violent men. This does not mean men who fight for a living within a professional context. What we are referring to is men who use a range of violent methods (verbal, physical aggression, stalking, intimidation, assault, murder) in order to get what they want from a situation. Effectively, men who apply criminal means of dominance. And yes, that includes professionals who go above and beyond the remit of their role to apply unlawful violence. These men are our common enemy, and we need to expose them and ultimately make their behaviour unconscionable to the majority, so they are ostracised and exiled from communities and society until they understand that other people’s consent is more important than their desire to exert power over others.

You might remember I wrote a blog about how the Conservative party had vandalised or destroyed the institutions that we are actually globally revered for: the NHS, the BBC, our higher education system and criminal justice system amongst others. Well, we soon added the civil service to that garbage fire of prestige, and, now that I think about it…it makes one honestly wonder whether this is the big push to absolutely burn the whole historical economy to the ground in order to build their deregulatory Jerusalem on its ashes, a la ‘Britannia Unchained’.

Think about the less revered but still impressive exports we still had to rely on. Take the City of London, now denied EU passporting rights and losing billions in foreign capital as a result, and witness the utter contempt shown to our touring musicians by refusing to consider visa-free travel for their sector. It’s one thing to sell out fishermen; they were only a cover for the lousy Brexit deal, as they needed something they were ‘fighting hard’ for to justify the deal going down to the wire and making an exceptionally hard Brexit inevitable, but these are profitable and prestigious elements of our economy we’re talking about circling the drain now. I also now realise there was a form of Dominic Cummings’ favoured ‘3D chess’ strategy going on, and even I was misled. ‘No Deal’ was never on the cards; it was a political ploy all along. Johnson knew he wanted the hardest Brexit, and the only way he would get away with it would be to leave everything until the last minute so the Labour party would sign anything to avoid no deal, and Parliament would have no time to scrutinise. ‘No Deal’ was not meant to frighten the EU; it was meant to frighten the opposition. It was all a scam and even the smarter amongst us fell for it.

It’s incredible to think of what this involved, in terms of blockbusting economic damage while throwing so many citizens and exporters under a bus, simply in order to force through something Johnson was told in no uncertain terms should not be done by the previous Parliament. He’s acted like an overgrown child told he will never get his favourite bike because the family cannot afford it, so he pawns all his mother’s jewellery and sells his dad’s car to get it in spite of the warnings. In fact, this was probably always inevitable. Johnson’s entire life has been that of a petulant child throwing strops to get what he wants, so of course putting him in charge was going to lead to him breaking all the rules to make this disaster happen.

So what’s next? Businesses are going under, and the pandemic is not sufficient to cover all of this hard reality. Is this really the neoliberal endgame in sight? I’m not sure Johnson has thought that far ahead (and will most likely be jettisoned in a few months) but you can be certain there are a few sociopaths in the Tory party who know exactly what they want to do to us all next.

We are about to do something that will literally please nobody in the country, no matter which they way they voted or lean.

I mean the removal of opportunities, alliances and relative prosperity will devastate ‘Remainers’, the lack of tangible economic benefits along with no discernible repatriation of immigrants will infuriate the archetypal Brexit voters, and any kind of a deal will enrage the ERG zealots, who want nothing short of declaration of war with Europe. So in theory, only a deal will upset all groups, as the huge economic damage mounts and unicorns don’t materialise, but no deal will please the group you would least want to please, because zealots aren’t about reason, and no carnage is enough to satiate their lust for hardcore jingoistic authoritarian plutarchy.

Meanwhile, the pusillanimous propagandists in the press will react to these events by concocting every folk devil and moral panic in the book to deviate the intense anger at this unparalleled bait and switch con job. Sadly, this will probably include even more immigrant-baiting and attempts to discredit racial justice advocacy groups in order to stoke the culture war into a raging bonfire of hate, which left unchecked could descend into regional race wars and serious social disorder. The far right, whether race hate groups or conspiracy theory tweekers have been so legitimised in the last five years that only police responses akin to Thatcher’s militarised assault tactics on the miners will be adequate to quell the domino effect of rioting, you would think. Shortages of food, medicines and hope will lead to relentless tinderbox atmospheres in cities across the country, just waiting for an excuse to kick off.

Johnson will surely be lucky to see the spring, as his approval ratings circle the drain amid a resurgent pandemic, waves of businesses going bust, and the anti-mask clowns are whipped up into a fury by the press and ‘freedom loving patriots’ on Youtube, catalysing rampant social disorder that even a competent Prime Minister would struggle to contain.

Finally, the Tory party will feel compelled to act, as Johnson’s blame confetti runs dry and his ratings threaten the integrity of the entire government, so they will sack him and probably instil Murdoch’s sock puppet Michael Gove to avoid him losing the popularity vote with the members. And finally, the stars will have aligned for the true King with the Crown of Shit; Rupert Murdoch. He sees his newly-acquired dominion in ruins, and relished the thought of rebuilding it as his own fiefdom.

In four years time, I foresee Boris Johnson in his natural environment: the after dinner circuit. There he is, drunk, shirt untucked and gaping, looking like somebody shaved the Honey Monster and stuck him in a suit they found at a charity shop. His speech has a flow all its own: peppered with lengthy pauses, umms and aaahs, then when he hits upon an idea speeding away like a spluttering car engine that finally starts with the accelerator to the floor. He drops in all the classics: the French being untrustworthy, women being too sensitive, Black Lives Matters getting too big for their boots and needing a good water cannon to hose down their fervour, all topped off with some Latin motto he assumes everyone else knows. He’s getting in his stride and downs another drink to rapturous applause. Now he tackles the Conservative party, ripping into one minister after another in a veritable tirade of bitterness. His defenestration after the Brexit catastrophe still clearly rankles. He accuses them of doing Britain down and not knowing what they were doing. He insists that Navy gunboats would have done the trick, expecting laughter but facing silence. This puts him off his stride. Usually that has my cronies rolling in the aisles, he thinks. What’s the deal? Are there some oversensitive frogs or piccaninnies in this crowd? He bellows into the microphone, but nothing comes from the speakers. His mic has been crudely switched off. His hazy vision scours the room, and hostile faces stare back at him. This isn’t a gentleman’s club crowd. It looks more like an angry working man’s club. Boris mutters to himself to fire his agent as he searches for the fire exit, which is being guarded by two large specimens, who glare back at him, unmoved. What the devil’s going on, he says, out loud. You’ve been conned explains the chap behind the bar. This crowd has been put out of work and lost their healthcare thanks to your no deal Brexit, and they wanted to repay your hard work. Boris blusters and flails his arms around like a demented chimpanzee, but does not feel right. His drink has been spiked. His faculties begin to fail, beginning with his bladder. The crowd advance on him. For the first time in his life, he is about to feel the consequences of his own incompetence …

 I can but dream. At the time of writing it’s still a mystery as to what bin fire of a scenario awaits us, and we have the ludicrous scenario of the government refusing to make clear exactly what the consequences we need to prepare for are, for two reasons. One is obviously that Johnson’s stupendously stupid masterplan of negotiating up until the absolute last possible moment means the full scale of ramifications cannot possibly be known, but there is still a lot we do know will happen that requires urgent preparation or advance knowledge: customs declarations, delays at ports, longer airport queues and having to compulsorily purchase health insurance for European trips as examples. Which brings me to the second reason: the government cannot warn people of the coming events because to do so would dispel the myth of the sunlit uplands. They are allowing the citizens of their own country to sleepwalk into disaster because they are worried about the optics. Some of the reticence is clearly to prevent widespread panic (particularly in the midst of a pandemic), but it is still not responsible for any government to withhold information from its population that could help them survive when medicines are in short supply, simply because they want to keep entertaining the fantasy that unicorns are on the way. But then this is Boris Johnson we’re talking about: a liar so prolific that I’m fairly certain he believes his own overoptimistic delusions that we will ‘prosper mightily’ trading only under WTO terms with the majority of the world. If he genuinely thinks most people will accept dying through lack of medicines, no fresh food on the shelves, gridlock in Kent and record unemployment all during the tiered restrictions (and most likely a third national lockdown in January when the inevitable transmission spike is confirmed by Christmas comings and goings) while he gets about negotiating new comprehensive trade deals that normally take years to complete then he has thoroughly succumbed to his own hubris.

So much Brexit Kool Aid has been drunk at this point that many realise things are going to get worse, but they’re seemingly happy with it, because it means inflicting harm on their perceived enemies, even if they take more harm personally. These people are filled with resentment, and the leave campaign harnessed that resentment and trained it on the opponents that they chose rather than those responsible for their lousy life chances. The Vote Leave goons seemingly have an inexhaustible supply of windmills to tilt at, rather than actually honestly articulate what a post-Brexit Britain could look like. Well, some do know what they want their new Jerusalem to look like, but daren’t let the deregulation cat out of the bag, because nobody not stinking rich would approve of it.

I realised that the drivers of this self-inflicted disaster had certain things in common. I’d call the upcoming shitshow the last desperate strain of the impotent white alphas. But, as we males know, the moments after the blessed relief of orgasm are the times for sudden introspection, remorse and cleaning up the horrible mess you’ve made. Only this mess will never be fully cleaned up, and we’ve all been fucked, whether we thought we were on the right team or not. You know who these impotent alphas are: they crave at least one of the three ‘F’s – they want people to fear them (i.e. employees or victims), fête them (cultists and sycophants) or fuck them (sexual conquests), but they are inadequates. So, if they have no social or economic capital they become the gammonati, conspiratorially raging at immigrants, elites and ‘Marxists’, and if they do hold capital, they become nativist Tories, banging on and on about sovereignty and gunboats patrolling the Channel to protect our fish (so we can kill them instead of foreigners).

And so the clown show rolls on and the UK rapidly circles the drain. With just over a fortnight of relatively blissful ignorance to get through before the gammon ejaculation soaks us all in its vile putrescence and we’re all wondering just what we’ve done to ourselves.

Finally, a level of catharsis. It’s like a collective boot on our throats has been pulled away. Even if it’s only for a short while, we’re all briefly enjoying the sensation of breathing freely again. Trump has lost the US general election. Not on anything like the scale he should have done, but we will take small mercies right now, for the sake of the planet and repudiating outright fascism. Oh, he’ll call it fake news and sue everyone he can, but that’s the way he reacts to anything that doesn’t go exactly how he says it should. Bottom line is the most braindead, reactionary, racist, sexist, homophobic narcissistic liar is leaving the White House if he needs to be tear-gassed and dragged out by the Secret Service by his ankles, and this is a good thing. I can separate the elation at the emancipation from a cretinous level of authoritarian sophistry from the dismal likelihood that Biden will be so meandering and beholden to corporate interests that no progressive structural change will happen at all under his short tenure (he’ll be retired before the end of his term through death or senile dementia) and Harris will not bite the hands that enabled her path to the top nor shovelled her campaign cash to her. What I mean is that I will genuinely relish the toppling of an absolute moral slagheap because there is nothing else to savour right now. I…we need this ray of optimism that things might get slightly better rather than exponentially worse. I only want to focus on the positives right now: no impending fascist dictatorship in the most powerful ally state in the world; no flipping off the EU trade deal to sign us lock, stock and barrel over to American big pharma and garbage food; a tiny sliver of hope that climate change may be seriously tackled (or at the very least the USA sign back up to the Paris Accord). Trump could finally have karma boot him squarely in the gonads, when he is pursued for his tax affairs and criminal acts in office. Bad guy might lose for a change. Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

But underneath it all, we know this is not a moment of wonder. Biden squeaked past Trump when he should have crushed him. Trump had allowed near a quarter of a million US citizens die of a disease he initially claimed didn’t exist, was trying to throw 20 million Americans off their health insurance in the midst of the pandemic and was practically asking for a pass to discard basic democratic imperatives and just shy of 70 million Americans said “Fuck Yeah!” The Era of Cartoon Demagogues is far from over, even as a disgraced Boris’s tenure winds down to the conclusion it was always destined to, when the unstoppable collision of the Brexit Express train cars of reality and fabrication drenches us all in a river of unicorn blood. But perhaps our Bullet train’s current trajectory will suddenly veer into a Johnson-style U turn; rather than gently and jovially applying the brake on a literal fascist uprising, as Biden’s tenure seems destined to do. Who knows at this point.

What it does seem to indicate on the surface is that the sensible side of the Remain MPs who voted to prevent ‘No Deal’ and shackled Johnson in place for so many months, inflicting record numbers of vote defeats and forcibly reversing his decision to prorogue them, made a very good move for all of us in the end; even if Jo Swinson’s complete lack of tact and intellect brought us a hard Brexit nonetheless. What I mean is that the delay at least meant the transition period could never end prior to the 2020 US election; scuppering Johnson’s ploy of ‘no deal’ing and signing a hard version of TTIP with the US to ensure there would never be any going back. Don’t get me wrong, we will still probably get an appalling deal with the US, maybe losing our access to healthcare as a result, but it’s a few percent less likely to happen now than it was when Trump was in the middle of his reign of terror. The UK government’s immediate statements of condemnation of a democratically elected President in Venezuela compared to its spineless refusal to condemn a despotic buffoon’s demented conspiracy theories and baseless attempts to delegitimize his defeat speaks volumes about who will need the lube in our new economic alliance.