Tories cock up the coup

So, he’s safe for now. Again. Once more the ruthless, leader-deposing, election-winning machine of the Conservative Parliamentary Party quailed in fright before a man with all the charm of an overboiled andouillette recently discovered behind the radiator at a dog-grooming salon.

When Oliver Dowden – a man best known for spending most of his time as Culture Secretary trying to tell castles what to do – is the colleague with the most courage you know your party is in bad shape. That it’s lethargic, adrift, lacking even the 1990s’ brand of Tory bastards whose venal, naked ambition would have taken out Johnson behind the barn months ago. Seemingly none of them wants to be Prime Minister, even for a bit.

The Conservative Party currently resembles a doleful Labrador, looking up at us all with huge, guilty eyes from the remains of what once was a chocolate cake. It’s keen to express remorse for what it’s done, but has neither the will nor the necessary talent to clean up the mess that it’s made.

Liz Truss has tweeted that she “backs the Prime Minister 100%”. It’s worth remembering that, in surgical terms, a truss is a device for supporting a wayward bollock. Rishi Sunak seems to be keeping his head below the parapet. Although he may well have simply stopped using the booster seat he needed to see what was going on.

Matt Hancock is an option. But he looks like a man who’s happiest in a pub in West London on a stag do with mates wearing matching rugby tops with nicknames on the back (so you can distinguish one non-entity from another), being loudly called “Cockers”. The Cockster will end the night by having a confusing experience with a drag queen and falling asleep in The Comedy Store.

On the more deluded wing of contenders is Jeremy Hunt. A man with all the charisma of a glass of lukewarm Ovaltine, he seems to be hoping everyone’s forgotten how terrible he was last time he held a ministerial position. This wouldn’t be unreasonable – he is, after all, a deeply forgettable man – were it not for the fact that his name is so useful when writing poems about him. You only need one syllable, but it’s a hell of a rhyme.

Hunt feels like the person who welcomes you into a remote bed and breakfast where you’ve had to take shelter from a storm and assures you with a fixed stare and lilting intonation, “Oh, I’m sure you’ll like it here. Everyone does. In fact, they never leave…” before showing you his puppet theatre made from the corpses of previous patrons.

So, because his party is full of failed management consultants and people who are just happy they’re allowed to use metal cutlery, Johnson is safe

So, because his party is full of failed management consultants and people who are just happy they’re allowed to use metal cutlery, Johnson is safe. His potential opponents seem like they’d struggle to pull off a rubber glove, never mind a coup. He can roll around 10 Downing Street, belching happily and imagining what his third term will be like…

It’s 2032, rain hammers on the windows, and the War on Woke continues. Johnson’s position, however, is secure. He has a majority of 80, which he secured by creating a parliamentary party composed solely of his own children, and by fathering 36 per cent of the electorate.

He congratulates himself on having the foresight to promote bizarre nonentities who would never have had a chance of holding high office under any other prime minister, and who’d gladly give their lives for him. It’s just a shame so many of them had to. Particularly Nadine, eaten by a pack of children driven feral by the lack of quality children’s programming after CBeebies closed.

What happened to Jacob Rees-Mogg was unfortunate, but who was to know that tumour would turn out to be so aggressively Remainiac? Still, as far as anyone could tell, he was finding life as a brain-in-a-jar and MP for Nort-East Somerset quite pleasant, gently emitting bubbles in badly-remembered Latin. All that was left of his Cabinet was truly loyal, but they were the only ones he could trust: Dominic Raab, Suella Braverman, First Officer Smee, a spaniel called Archie, Baron Lebedev, Michael Gove in a sack, and fourteen dependable fly buttons that had never let him down.

Yes, he was master of all he surveyed, even if that was a drizzly little corner of a divided island in the middle of nine wars that he hadn’t told the outside world about. It was much easier to be at war with a country if you didn’t let them know and just popped the news in the papers, which were now forcibly delivered to every English household.

He’d destroyed the Left, academics, nurses, teachers, the concept of diversity, all his siblings, and that quiet voice that used to come to him in the night. There was one thing, however, he just hadn’t been able to beat…

He sighed and turned back to the manuscript. “Chapter One – Who Even Was Shakespeare, Anyway?” He tousled his hair for comfort and glared at the page which glared, blankly, back.

Nathaniel Tapley is a comedy writer and performer on the TV shows you hate


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