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Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly ?


There’s almost an end of days feel flitting around. The Prime Minister’s decided macho ministers are not cool, except when it’s him slagging off the Labour leader. And while power structures are imploding north of the border, south of it the Tories face meltdown in upcoming elections. As our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, presentation is key.

When everyone else watched the biggest rocket ever blowing up minutes after take-off, Elon Musk had a nicer way of kissing goodbye to his new toy.

Come on guys, he insisted, it was no more than a rapid unscheduled disassembly. Of course we’re not downhearted. Happens all the time.

Happens all the time? Oh, like the former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab putting the fear of god in people below him in the pecking order.

In the end, the top lawyer’s hard-hitting report into Raab’s serial bullying left the boss with little room for manoeuvre.

Given Raab’s refusal to fall on his sword, Sunak had to wield the axe. Not that anyone put it like that, but the runes are not hard to read.

And the fact that within hours the necessary mini-reshuffle was done and dusted confirms Number Ten wanted the story shut down post-haste.

If Sunak had gone the other way, a number of things would have kept it uncomfortably alive.

One, a steady stream of Sir Humphreys giving chapter and verse on how horribly they’d been treated.

Two, he’d have been accused of following the bad example of Boris Johnson – hanging on to allies whose number really was up.

And three, alongside such a soiled goods Deputy PM as Raab, they’d have looked like two combatants memorably described in Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

‘As two spent swimmers that do cling together and choke their art.’

Not a good look.

And not like Sunak hasn’t got his hands full anyway, what with competing factions on his own backbenches slugging it out over small boat arrivals.

The Home Secretary gave right-wingers the green light, calling the migrant situation a ‘national emergency’.

Oh really? Are the forty-five thousand who managed little boat crossings last year really threatening the other seventy million of us?

Compare that to the NHS. According to Labour research a fifth of all A and E patients go to hospital because they simply can’t get a GP appointment.

Could that by any chance be a national emergency? Er, a real one. You know the saying – if it looks, swims and quacks like a duck …

Whatevs, emboldened rebel Tory MPs seem to have talked Sunak into toughening the controversial new migrant law, which will be voted on this week.

If their amendment goes through, UK will in future be able to put two fingers up to judges who might try to block deportation flights.

A fairly big if, however. Because even if the commons backs the idea there could well be hell up in the House of Lords.

And to confuse matters further, Sunak’s also thinking of offering concessions to his party’s centre-left MPs.

It’s reported that he’ll promise to quickly draw up plans for safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to get here.

The point being there aren’t any at present. Which explains why men, women and children are risking their lives to get here in dodgy little dinghies.

Talking of dodgy doings, everyone involved with the Scottish National Party’s finances is of course innocent until proved guilty.

But the ongoing police inquiry into exactly what has happened to the missing six-hundred-thousand pounds suggests Mr McPlod harbours doubts.

And there’s a widespread sense that next in line for arrest and questioning must surely be the hitherto adored former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The fallout is rapid and extreme. Though support for Scottish independence is holding up, polls point to plummeting backing for her successor.

They also suggest a marked narrowing of the gap between the SNP and Labour.

Worth remembering that Scotland used to be a Labour heartland. Up until a few years back they held forty-one of the fifty-five parliamentary seats up there.

Their tally is now just one.


Funny how fashions change. Remember miniskirts, anyone?

Little wonder Labour’s circling round the wounded nationalists like so many vultures, gagging for a chance to swoop.

A shame, from their point of view, that the town hall elections early next month are in England and Northern Ireland, but not north of the border.

From Rishi Sunak’s point of view, meanwhile, it’s a shame they’re taking place at all.

His outriders are already in full expectation management/damage limitation mode, predicting the loss of more than a thousand council seats.

What’s causing collywobbles in top Tory circles is that the last time the seats up for grabs were contested the results were catastrophic.

The loss of more than thirteen hundred councillors did much to end Theresa May’s premiership. One reason why Sunak’s started snarling at Keir Starmer.

Labour did set the ball rolling with personal attack ads on the PM, but nowadays he sure ain’t Mister Nice Guy at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

Not that he’s turning into a cornered animal, lashing out in the way many fear the fascist dictator in the Kremlin could start doing anytime.

Putin’s latest own goal, after his blitzkrieg degenerated into bloody war of attrition, is NATO’s decision to welcome Ukraine into the fold.

Ergo, far from keeping Russia safe from Nazis under the bed, he’s turned a neutral neighbour into a segment of a potentially hostile military alliance.

Also worth adding that any backsliding on the part of allies concerned about the cost of arming the defenders will a lot more difficult.

For all Putin’s puppets’ grumbles, there can hardly fail to be increasing disquiet within Moscow’s ruling class about what a clot he’s been.

And you wonder how – or if – he’s going to wriggle out of that situation, having so foolishly wriggled into it.

Then again, on an altogether less horrific level, stranger things have happened across The Pond.

A thirteen-year-old boy was so keen to get himself a prize from an amusement park slot machine that he clambered into it to help himself.

Luckily, staff on the North Caroline site spotted that couldn’t get out again and unlocked the thing. Before, unsurprisingly, kicking him out for a year.

Then there was the security breach at the White House last week which didn’t make huge headlines but did involve someone evading the thirteen foot fence.

It’s the first time it’s happened since the thing was doubled in height, but hasn’t given the secret services nightmares.

Turns out all the intruder did was squeeze in through the gaps. With no intention, apparently, of blowing the place up or assassinating the President.

That’s because the unexpected visitor, albeit good at wriggling, didn’t have the wherewithal or apparent inclination, to ferment revolution.

As you don’t, when you’re a toddler.

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