I feel sorry for Boris Johnson. Sort of. With friends like those… eh?
This week’s political drama has also been very much a brutal human drama.
One which has not especially showcased the nobler side of human nature.
Boris is, of course, the architect of his own eviction. I’ve never been a fan. Throughout his time in office he lied, he denied and then tried to put the blame on others.
He is narcissistic, deluded, untrustworthy and for all his much vaunted communications skills, somehow unable to see how this plays out with Joe and Josephine Public.
When you’re being described as “unflushable” it’s a reflection that it’s not just your reluctance to go that primarily offends people.
Yet this week, as he fell on his sword — or rather was pushed on to it — the shenanigans surrounding BoJo’s departure pointed up some pretty shabby behaviour from those positioning themselves as defenders of integrity.
A common refrain was that BoJo’s lies about Pincher the groper, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Yet this same poor oul camel has been staggering along under the burden of similar straws for months, and none of these paragons of virtue seemingly felt previous need to rush to its aid.
When the herd moves, it moves, the PM said in his resignation speech, conjuring up a vision of elephants, say, supping at the waterhole and then slowly, shuffling off.
What we witnessed this week was closer to a David Attenborough special on When Wolves Attack.
Boris was pounced upon, shredded and savaged. Even by those who, you’d think, would feel some smidgen of loyalty given that they owed him…
Sunak and Javid.
Nadhim Zahawi who was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by Boris yet only a few hours later turned on him.
Michael Gove, a man with considerable previous in the Brutus department, who was among the first to give his old mate the heave-ho.
Gove has now been sacked three times by three Prime Ministers. That’s some hat trick.
The resignations were thudding in with terminal precision.
And as these one-time Boris backers piled in on the PM — many of them turned to social media to flag up their own sudden sanctimony.
But how come they took so long to come round to the view that probity in public life was of such vital importance? How come they didn’t resign over Boris’s behaviour even before Pincher-gate?
There are very many ministers and aides, former and some still in situ who (and I am talking in the political sense here) you wouldn’t want to turn your back on when they were in close proximity of the cutlery drawer.
Boris was a rogue and much of his behaviour was shameful; I’ve often expressed my contempt for him in this column.
But there’s also a part of me that doesn’t like kicking a dog when he’s down. Even a Big Dog. As when Arlene was dumped, it’s the spiteful manner of the ousting that grates.
Johnston can claim credit for some major achievements. He won the landslide election victory where he swept through Labour’s former rock solid Red Wall. Protocol aside, he did Get Brexit Done (and I say that as a Remainer). He spearheaded the UK’s impressive vaccination programme. And he has been (unusually) statesmanlike in his approach to Ukraine.
But what may be his greatest legacy is his Levelling Up strategy fired by recognition that there is much more to the UK outside of the halls of Westminster and the salons of Kensington.
Given the wealth of some of those now jostling to replace him, a bit of levelling down might even be in order too.
But now the jostling for position begins. Liz Truss cut short her attendance at a G20 conference in Indonesia. Our own (former) Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis hastened back too. This wasn’t a time to be in either Bali or Belfast.
As Boris threw in the towel outside Number 10 on Thursday, only a small crowd of loyal MPs stood off to the side to cheer their fallen leader.
Carrie was among them with baby Romy in a sling. Neither mother nor child shed a tear. No Mrs May chin wobble for Carrie. Maybe she’s just glad to be out of it all.
And no need shed to tears for Boris’s future; his earning potential now is stratospheric.
Mr and Mrs Johnson are never going to be short of a roll of wallpaper.
With all eyes turned Tory-wards, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was trying to make his voice heard too, this week. He had a great snipe during PMQs. The scale of Tory MPs rebelling, he said, was the first instance of the sinking ship fleeing the rat. Keir, who has been derided in the past for being “dull”, seems to have got himself a new script writer. Pity his new found eloquence didn’t extend to wishing the Northern Ireland women’s football team good luck in the Euros. He did for the England team, of course. But Labour doesn’t organise here - so, presumably, no need to applaud the locals.
Just before the break in this week’s episode of The Hotel Inspector on Channel 5 came a promo for a competition the station is running. Win yourself a luxury stay in the five star elegance of a leading hotel. In this case, the magnificent Culloden Hotel in Co Down. The hotel, the voice-over lady explained, is in “Holeywood”. I suppose you can’t blame her. Holywood looks as though it’s pronounced like that. Still, a bit of name-checking might not have come amiss. It’s not that hard. But good to hear the town get a name check anyway. Hurrah for Holeywood.
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has described Peppa Pig as “the greatest British import of the decade.” Mr Tarantino has small children so you can understand his admiration. And possibly gratitude. When your child is playing up, just plonk them in from of a cartoon and Bob’s your builder. (I know. Bad parenting. But that was me.) I’d worry though, what Tarantino, best known for movies requiring considerable input from the fake blood department, might do if he ever got his professional hands on the dear little pink one. Pig Fiction? Reservoir Pigs? Peppa Pork?