Monday, 8 August 2022

Boris Johnson: Don't say I never warned you!

Well I told him more than two years ago: 'If there is something you need to do, do it today. There may be no tomorrow.' I warned Boris Johnson the history books would judge him very harshly unless he tried to mend fences with the EU and establish a close relationship, of the kind he promised when he was conning people to vote for Brexit, without which the UK's future would be very bleak indeed.

Instead he spaffed away two years, and now it's too late. He will go down in history as the UK's worst ever prime minister, except perhaps for Liz Truss.  Here's what I wrote back in April 2020:


Brexitwatch: Boris Johnson - intimations of mortality

‘When a man is about to be hanged,’ said Dr Johnson, ‘it concentrates his mind wonderfully.’ Assuming that, during his time in the intensive care ward, Boris Johnson felt acutely reminded of his own mortality, what effect might that have?

Because you can’t believe a word he says, anything you write about Johnson is highly speculative, but I spoke to someone who claimed to know him, who told me something I found reassuring. He said the prime minister cares a lot about what the history books will say about him.

If he had died during his brush with coronavirus, they wouldn’t have made great reading: ‘He knew leaving the EU would be highly damaging for the UK, but he pressed on with it because he thought it would advance his own career. He undermined prime minister Theresa May on the pretext that her Withdrawal Agreement was not good enough, then once he had replaced her, negotiated one that was worse. He won an election under a slogan he knew was mendacious, and then when he was confronted with the worst crisis the UK had faced in decades, he proved completely unequal to the task.' Though the charge sheet would obviously be longer than this.

If Johnson is serious about being treated more kindly by history, he must realise there are a number of policies he is going to have to reverse. Most obviously, limiting the damage from Brexit by agreeing a close relationship with the EU to secure the frictionless trade on which the UK’s future depends.

So far the signs aren’t good. He has bizarrely ruled out any extension of the transition period which ends on December 31 at which point, the UK is in danger of crashing out of Europe with a huge hit to jobs, public services, businesses etc.

But the lesson for Boris Johnson of his intimation of mortality is surely this. If there is something you need to do, do it today. There may be no tomorrow.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Thought for the day: the triumph of delusion

I have seen a lot of political contests in my time, but surely none so deluded, dishonest and divorced from reality as the alarming battle for the votes of Conservative members between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in order to be your next prime minister. Unless you are one of those Tory members, who are now, judging from the promises being made to them, very, very far to the right indeed, of course you get no say in who's going to run your life. Apparently that's democracy.

It's bad enough to have Sunak promising to set up Chinese Communist-style 're-education' camps for anyone who dares to criticise the Tories, but surely even worse are super-lightweight Truss's innumerate plans to 'take risks' with the British economy. Translation: risks with your job, mortgage, savings, pension, business, life.

Following the trusted Brexit formula of 'promise them anything', and never take a tough decision, the failed Thatcher tribute act is going to raise spending AND reduce taxes - primarily for the rich obviously. Never mind the debt burden this will impose on your children and grandchildren, never mind the runaway inflation the ship of fools is stoking. Never mind that virtually every economist thinks it's mad, apart from Patrick Minford of 'Brexit is great but it will destroy industry in the UK' fame.

As a born again Brexit-er, Truss thinks that if she just BELIEVES hard enough, the British economy will grow so fast that magic money trees will spring up everywhere, no doubt creating forests in which those elusive Brexit unicorns will finally appear and gambol. 

Truss will win and be your next prime minster. They may call her 'Thick Lizzie' but she has sussed that there is no market for truth and realism in the modern 'Conservative' Party. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Thought for the day: the great Truss mystery


How many of the Tory MPs trampling over each other in the desperate, undignified scramble to endorse unprincipled, mendacious incompetent Liz Truss for prime minister in a pathetic attempt to advance their careers are privately sh*tting themselves because they’ve realised she’ll be a total disaster, and perhaps even worse than Johnson? Or do Conservatives just no longer care about stuff like how much damage they inflict on the UK? That’s certainly what the evidence would suggest.

But wouldn't it be funny if Sunak won and the Truss brown-nosers all had to claim they'd been 'wilfully misrepresented' and had really supported Rishi all along?

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Brexitwatch: the fall of Johnson. Did I get it right?

So, Boris Johnson, the great liar has finally gone (sort of). Back in September 2020, I prophesied how he might fall. Want to check how close I was? Here's what I wrote:


Brexitwatch: this wasn't meant to happen! Part 3 - Boris Johnson's 115th Dream

Boris and Carrie are sitting watching television. Now read on:

 ‘Oh great! Season 4 of ‘The Crown’!’

‘Oh yes. World-beating! But wait a minute, Carrie. That caption says May 3, 2021. None of this has happened yet. How can they know about it?’

‘Shh. I’m trying to watch the programme.’

‘Oh God! I don’t look like that. Surely they could have found somebody better looking! And he’s nearly bald!  Where’s the phone. I’m going to get on to that new head honcho we put in – Davey Somebody – and make him take this off.’

 ‘Boris! It’s not the BBC, it’s Netflix. Now shut up and listen.’

‘Oh. I was expecting to see the Queen.’

A hint of a mirthless smile flickers beneath an impressive moustache. ‘I’m afraid Her Majesty is otherwise engaged. She asked me to see you on her behalf.’

‘Hold on!  I recognise you. You’re Tommy Lascelles. You were in the last series or the one before. You can’t see me, because you’re dead.’

Unlike his interlocutor, the urbane functionary is not in the least nonplussed. ‘Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia, Mr Johnson. It sometimes…….exaggerates.’

‘You mean “prime minister”’

‘Mr Johnson.’ The mirthless smile was back.

‘Well, the point is that once parliament has passed this ‘Unilateral Cancellation of EU Trade Agreement Bill’, I’ll need HMQ to give the Royal Assent pronto, so we can implement the populi voluntatem without delay and all that.’

‘And, of course, if you ask Her Majesty to take that action, she will have to comply.’


‘Which is precisely why you will not do it.’

‘What do you mean, Lascelles? You can’t obstruct the will of the people.’

‘I have here a few papers for your perusal.’ (The phrase: ‘Restricted. Top Secret. Not for Fatman’s eyes’ are fleetingly visible on one.)

‘Oh. I’ll take them back to number 10. Dom reads that kind of stuff for me.’

‘The papers will not be leaving this room, and, Mr Cummings is (Lascelles consults his watch) as of now, ‘a guest of Her Majesty’, as I think they say in the films. Apparently something about his time in Russia?’

‘There’s no point trying to frighten me about leaking stuff to the press. The ephemerides are all in my pocket and the BBC daren’t sneeze without my say so.’

The immaculately turned out royal servant produces a newspaper and eases it across the table. ‘If the papers I showed you a moment ago are too voluminous, perhaps you might cast your eye over this?’

“‘Bang Up Boris’ call. Gove poised for No 10.” What’s this?

‘The front page of tomorrow morning’s (Lascelles raises his eyebrows and utters the next word as though wiping something nasty off the sole of his Berluti Oxford) Sun. I managed to persuade them to tone it down from ‘string up’ to ‘bang up’.’

‘That bastard Gove! It’s a fake, Rupert would never do this to me.’

‘If you examine the papers I suggested you should read, you will see that some (the pause is followed by the same tone of voice used for ‘Sun’) gentlemen who had hoped to profit from certain actions of yours felt they had not received the degree of forewarning you promised, and so have not profited as much as they had anticipated.’

‘Can I get my mobile?’

‘As you know, these audiences are strictly mobile-free.’

‘Then I need to get back to Number 10 right now.’

‘I’m afraid that won’t be possible. Some kind of security alert. The police say there’s a suspected criminal in the building. However (it’s that mirthless smile again) should you wish to avail yourself of a generous offer from President Putin, you may leave now and take asylum in Krasnoyarsk.’

‘What the hell is that?’

‘A place in Siberia. The president has provided special transport from here to the airport, and your flight leaves in a couple of hours. Aeroflot. I’m afraid he couldn’t get business class.’

‘You can’t do this. I’m the prime minister! I’m the prime minister!’

‘Oh Boris, do shut up! That’s the third time this week. Anyway it’s eleven o’ clock. Time for even you to get up. What are these dreams you keep having? Is it always the same one?

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Assassins' Deeds - now available for Korean readers!


암살자의 행위

amsaljaui haeng-wi

The Korean translation of my history of assassination Assassins' Deeds (published in the UK by Reaktion Books) is out!

Now for some proof reading.

Monday, 16 May 2022

WORLD EXCLUSIVE. Leaked letter from UK to the Kremlin

Someone has just leaked me this extraordinary letter. It appears to be addressed to President Putin at the Kremlin, but who can it be from?

Dear Vladimir,

I’m sorry about the delay in getting the trade war with the EU underway, but now we’re motoring. I’m as keen as you are to destroy the EU. I know perfectly well how embarrassing it is to have neighbours who are more prosperous, more efficient and more democratic.

Of course I am aware that without your money, bots, lies, dirty tricks, etc. I would never have got my job, but you have to understand I’m in a very tight corner. Even some of the foolish people who voted for Brexit have begun to see through my lies! So, apologies once again that it has taken so long.

And I appreciate you invading Ukraine so the mendacious right wing press and my stupid MPs could trot out the line about: ‘We can’t change prime minister! There’s a war on!’

And I can understand that you’re cross about me sending weapons to Ukraine, but you have to see it from my point of view. This has got to look good! If too many people start to think I am in your pay and in your pocket, the outlook for me could be really bleak.

Onwards and upwards!

Your friend in the FUK (Former United Kingdom) 

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

The real Queen's Speech - Brexit benefits, making us richer by making us poorer etc

For anyone who didn’t manage to sit through all the turgid, lying drivel of the 'Queen's Speech', (note for overseas readers - in the UK what's known as the 'Queen's Speech' is actually the Government's Speech, but ministers are anxious to get someone else to share the blame) below are the main points. I bet the Queen was delighted she had a sick note and didn’t have to read this guff out.

1. We will defend democracy in Ukraine, but not in the UK obviously, where anyone who does not bow down to worship the Great God Brexit and the heroic achievements of Chairman Johnson HAD BETTER WATCH OUT.

2. We appreciate that a lot of you can’t afford to eat or put the lights on, but don’t worry. We will be delivering you a whole pile of BREXIT BENEFITS (details to be announced in due course).

3. We will use the OPPORTUNITIES OF BREXIT, which makes our economy smaller, to make our economy bigger.

We accept NO RESPONSIBILITY for any policies that may prove defective.

Is this all right, Vladimir?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative ‘government’.