Belfast Telegraph

Mark Steel: We might be forced to eat maggots, but at least EU can't tell us they're wrong size to be maggots anymore

In safe hands: Boris Johnson is odds on to be the next Conservative leader and the next prime minister but ideology is not his strong suit
In safe hands: Boris Johnson is odds on to be the next Conservative leader and the next prime minister but ideology is not his strong suit

By Mark Steel

We're in safe hands. A two-to-one majority of Conservative members who will choose our next Prime Minister would be willing to accept "significant economic damage" to secure Brexit. Even more, would accept a break-up of the UK.

I expect 85% would be happy to have the house filled with fox droppings if it ensured Brexit. And 79% would be prepared to hand their children to a trafficking gang for up to nine years if it meant that we definitely left the EU on October 31, because sometimes you just have to make sacrifices for the greater good.

We might be crawling through the woods, eating maggots, but at least we'll know the EU can't tell us they have to be less wriggly or that we can't call them maggots.

It looks like they're getting the leader they want. So, within his first three weeks, Boris Johnson will take us out with 'no-deal', Scotland will be placed under UN control, Bedfordshire will become a disputed territory with Nato imposing a buffer zone that stretches right to Kettering, the Lake District will be part of Morocco, Northern Ireland will declare war on the Dalai Lama and the coast of Essex will be governed by the Church of England Caliphate of Clacton, peace be upon it - and he'll have a 98% approval rating from his party.

Some of us will reassure ourselves that many Tory MPs are violently opposed to him, but they'll issue statements that start: "I'm aware I pledged if Boris Johnson becomes leader I would become a suicide bomber to blow him up and let the remains of his floppy hair scattered across my charred body be a lasting epitaph for this holy act, but, upon consideration, I believe he's an excellent leader and I'm delighted to serve under him as Junior Minister for Kiwi Fruits."

Every morning, he'll announce his ideas for new projects, boasting: "Today, I'm proud to inform you I've planned an escalator to Finland. We'll start by using the existing excellent structure at Debenhams in Oxford Street, then, as well as stopping at the first floor for kitchenware and light fittings, passengers will be able to stay on and go to Helsinki."

He's already proven how effective he is when facing up to obstinate world leaders. Because, when he intervened in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, jailed by the Iranian government for "spying" while in Iran on holiday, he told their officials she'd been teaching there, which is the lie their government had claimed all along. They used this as evidence and she's still in jail.

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So, Johnson can try this approach with the EU. After his first summit, he can announce: "I was extremely firm, as it was, er, Emmanuel Macron who said we owe £80bn and I told him in no uncertain terms where to go. And now we owe £90bn and every woman from Kent has been sentenced to 20 years in a French jail. One of those things and all that."

But there's an advantage to our probably next Prime Minister, as he's not tied to any ideology, which is why he pondered over whether to support leaving the EU or remaining in it, according to which would improve his position among Conservative members. For an extra boost, he said Muslim women looked like letterboxes.

He'll say anything if he thinks it will push his ratings up, so we can get him to do whatever we want. Every Muslim in Britain could join the Conservative Party, then he'd say: "Right, yes, as-salam alaikum if you will, always loved a letterbox, my favourite street furniture."

And the EU should have a laugh with the Tory members, offering a deal on the Irish backstop, so we can leave on October 31, but in return, they all have to cover their backsides in marmalade and sit in a nest of wasps and they'll all go, "Yes!" and be very, very happy.

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