Can I bring myself to write about the Conservative leadership election? It is a genuine question, I will start tapping away and see how far I get. Avid readers of this blog will probably have noticed that this is my preferred approach most the time anyway.
Is it all about sodding Boris Johnson? It certainly looks like it, on current form the Blonde Ambition looks like he is pretty much a shoe in. 114 of his Conservative Party MP colleagues have just voted for him, when they had such luminaries as Mark Harper to choose from (yeah, nor me, no idea!) These people know him well and know him to be the charlatan that he is. He is widely despised amongst his colleagues apparently but nonetheless, they ticked the Boris box. There will be some further rounds of votes until the candidates have been whittled down to two at which point the membership of the party, the rank and file choose between the two. There was a chance that the MPs might have turned against him but the membership love him. If he gets that far, he is in.
Well, that’s nice, just as I was writing this, Billy Bragg’s Thatcherites came in on the playlist I am listening to. For those who do not know this tune, you can read the lyrics here and you will see how well it fits with this blog post. Because it is these Thatcherites, desperate to bring back the glory days of the 1980s when the Tory party was an election-winning machine, who are about to foist upon us this buffoon, whose only coherent vision is of himself emerging from that famous black door at No.10 Downing Street. The country has been convulsed by the Conservative Party’s internal wranglings.
First David Cameron promised a referendum in his 2015 election manifesto. He then surprised himself by winning an outright majority and found he actually had to deliver on this promise. As a good public school boy, he was confident of winning, because, you know we win things, we do. But then, gosh, what do you know, one of his fellow old-Etonians thought it would be a jolly wheeze to run against him. I am convinced Boris thought he had come up with a master ploy, which was to campaign for Brexit, fully expecting to lose and then he would be hailed by all the Brexity Tories for at least having given it a go.
Buuut… he only went and won it, the old bugger! Cripes! If you watch Boris giving a speech shortly after the “victory”, you can clearly see in his eyes that he is mortified. You can watch it here. Actually don’t watch, I just have and it is thoroughly depressing. But then Boris was stabbed in the back by his old chum Michael Gove, we ended up with Theresa May.
The less said about our soon to be unlamented ex-PM, the better but having become Prime Minister by being the last person standing as her rivals self-immolated, she decided to steer a course through Brexit motivated by one purpose and one purpose only – to try to stitch the Tory back together again. Did she look at the referendum result and think to herself, “52-48, hmmm, that was pretty close, I myself campaigned for Remain, mebbe I should try to steer a course through Brexit that represents that closeness. Perhaps I could even talk to the other parties to see if we can thrash out something that brings the country together?”? Did she hell! It wasn’t the country that she wanted to bring together, it was her party. So she stuffed her cabinet with Leavers and made Boris Johnson Foreign Secretary. Yes, she made this man who had forged his career in Brussels writing article after article that deliberately insulted the institution of the European Union the country’s top diplomat. Journalist Johnson was described by fellow Conservative, Chris Patten as an exponent of “fake journalism” – ahead of his time, our Boris.
I have been collecting things from Facebook. This is a quote from his employer at the time, Max Hastings.
…back from a break for supper and the Walking Dead, I shall, of course, refrain from making any trite comparisons between the Conservative Party and the zombies of the programme. Where were we?
How about this:
Boris is a bit like a stopped clock which is right twice a day. Boris has held such complete 360 degrees views on most things that occasionally he comes out with something truthful.
Actually, let’s play a little game, who said this about a Prime Minister simply taking over from a predecessor without calling a general election?
It’s the arrogance. It’s the contempt. That’s what gets me. It’s Boris Johnson’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people. It’s at moments like this that I think the political world has gone mad, and I am alone in detecting the gigantic fraud.
Everybody seems to have forgotten that the last general election was only two years ago, in 2017. A woman called Theresa May presented herself for re-election, and her face was to be seen – even if less prominently than in the past – on manifestos, leaflets, television screens and billboards. We rather gathered from the Conservative prospectus that said May was going to be Prime Minister.
The British public sucked its teeth, squinted at her closely, sighed and, with extreme reluctance, decided to elect her Prime Minister for five years. Let me repeat that. They voted for Theresa Mary May to serve as their leader. They were at no stage invited to vote on whether Boris Johnson should be PM.
Well that was my little contribution to the mass of fake news that we are seeing accumulate. With just the change of a few names, pronouns and a year, I have taken Boris’ own words and twisted them to suit the situation we face today. What a fiend I am! Muuuah, haha. Can you guess who he was speaking about?
You can read the article here. Unusually this Telegraph article is not behind a paywall, so you can read it without worrying that you will be adding to Boris’ swelling coffers. True to form, Boris slipped in a little nod to classical Rome with his reference to the transition from Blair to Brown being like Nero taking over from Claudius. So who does that make you Boris, Commodus? Actually, no, as that would make Theresa May the great philosopher emperor, Marcus Aurelius. I might have given up Latin at the first available opportunity but I have seen the movie Gladiator!
The last thing I have to say about Boris, and I am aware that I am probably sounding a bit obsessive right now, is to pick up on his one non-Brexity campaign pledge. This is his promise to cut tax for high earners. This country that has suffered ten years of austerity, which is already massively divided between the rich and the poor, that, especially if said Boris does achieve his heart’s desire, is about to embark on a project that even its fans admit will cause short-term economic problems, does not need tax cuts for the rich. We need a whole lot more taxes to rebuild a country that is fraying at the edges.
And here I am going to try an artful segue from my Boris rant to getting back to what this blog is supposed to be about, namely Ava-Jane!
As a family, rely heavily on the state. AJ is a heavy user of the NHS, she receives various subsidies, we have an array of therapists and social workers at our disposal, her education must cost a lot more than the “average” child and we need it. But Fo, who is the one who is properly plugged into this whole system, has felt it all crumble over the years.
The government chose to manage austerity by passing a lot of the cuts down to county level in order not to make the national-level cuts quite so huge. They dissipated their policy so that would be able to make claims that they were not cutting the NHS budget for example. What was being cut was social care because that is a county-level spend. it is very obviously a false economy to spend money on getting people through hospital only to abandon them when they leave, meaning they will only have to return sooner.
AJ has been prescribed a new drug. She is having fewer big seizures but still has lots of small, continuous twitches that tire her out, so we are trying something else. But Fo has been tearing her hair out to actually get her hands on it as the prescription bounces around between specialists and the GPs, none of whom have the time to actually take it in hand and sign it off. None of their secretaries have the time or necessary information to be able to communicate to Fo what is going on. The head GP admitted that their systems had failed.
Another area where the cuts are very visible to us is in social work. We have been very lucky with the social workers we have assigned to us, they are truly lovely people but you can feel they are stretched. We need to appeal the level of care that AJ receives but they only have a limited number of appeals they can present during any given week, so they must be making some sort of assessment between which to present not on the individual merit of each one but on which is most pressing.
And I am aware that we are in a fortunate situation in many ways. Fo is supremely competent and forceful (can I say “forceful”? She reads this shit). We are lucky enough to have a room where we can house the most excellent Amy, who makes our lives that much less stressful and my middle-class red wine habit means that while I do snore annoyingly in front of the telly, I don’t have violent alcoholic rages. So maybe our social workers have to take the decision that AJ does need high levels of care, the kind she would have received some years ago, there are kids whose needs are that much more urgent.
It would be great to think that resources were being reallocated to the most needy but I am afraid it is they who will be hardest hit. Neighbouring Northamptonshire, which is essentially bankrupt, has seen two toddlers die due to failings in the social care system.
As Boris predicted in the quote above, Brexit has diverted energy from the real problems that have nothing to do with Europe.
Oh dear, this is all a bit grim. How about a happy thought to end on? Boris is such a lying toad that maybe he could just say that he had looked at it all quite carefully, wiffle-waffle, hum-dee-dee-hum, let’s call the whole thing off, it’s a bally mess! Who the blazes ever thought this was a good idea. Govey, I blame you, that’s double detention and a wedgie.
No? How about a nice pic then?
The horse and Ava-Jane look lovely in this photo, Fo, not so much.
I had better add this one, where the horse still looks lovely and Fo is making sure she looks like she is enjoying herself for the camera.