Voters, eh? Bloody hell! And the look on your face on Friday – well, would it be unkind to suggest that you weren’t quite expecting this, my dear chap? And then that young Hannan fellow was quick to pour cold water on all those promises the Leavers made during the campaign. You remember, the ones about using the £350m a week we ‘pour’ into the Eurocrats’ coffers to boost the ailing NHS? Of course that was rubbish – indeed it was someone you’re very fond of, M. Thatcher, who negotiated the rebate. And then there is all the spending the UK gets back, much of it into struggling parts of the UK, like Cornwall and Wales, who suicidally backed Brexit, presumably after hearing your eloquent but meaningless promises.
But you knew that.
And how does the 57% rise in racist attacks reported by the police since Thursday square with your cuddly, witty, man-of-the-people persona. As long as you kept your distance from whiffy xenophobes like Nigel Farage, you thought that you could just make a few gags about straight bananas and Brussels sprouts and it would be all OK. Presumably you’re OK then with Polish waitresses being laughingly told to ‘start packing’, and people wearing “Send the buggers back” T-shirts and yelling at Asians to go home. I’m not making this stuff up, by the way – I’ll leave the making up stuff to you. And never mind the fact that migration from Commonwealth countries is nothing to do with the bloody EU.
But you knew that too.
But it was all about taking back control, wasn’t it? Silly me. I should have read the sign on your shiny bus. And how’s that working out for you now, Boris? Your mate Dave’s thrown in the towel and dumped it all on you. Gideon hasn’t exactly thrown in the towel yet, although he may go back to folding towels at Selfridge’s if the FTSE and Sterling keep tanking. What was that you said about Remainers’ scaremongering? And what did ‘Mad’ Mikey Gove say about not listening to experts? So reassuring. I guess we’ll just ignore Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse and Standard and Poor and their dire prognostications. No need to worry about the £120bn wiped off FTSE shares in a few hours: that’s about 10 years’ worth of UK contributions to the EU. Talk about cutting off one’s nose and all that! Anyway, they’ve made a handy flowchart even you can fathom. Have a look at it, dear boy, and get back to us with your preferred pathway. No rush, mind. Because no MP in his/her right mind (that obviously excludes a large rump of your party, possibly also your good self) will actually vote to trigger Article 50.
But you knew that.
So allow me to tell you some things you didn’t know, although you will find out the hard way PDQ.
First, there was all that stuff about putting the ‘Great’ back in Britain. I don’t think Scotland got that memo, because they voted to stay in the EU and are even more likely to be on their way out of the UK now. They also have a leader who isn’t an ignoramus and who knows stuff about economic consequences and constitutional matters, the infuriating girly swot that she is. Even some Unionist leaders in Northern Ireland are urging people to apply for Irish passports, for crying out loud. You could be the Tory leader who engineered a united Ireland! Putting the Little back in England, eh? Oh my aching sides!
Also, I know you truly, madly, deeply wish to be Prime Minister (Lord knows why, because the job needs someone a teensy bit more serious and credible than a bumbling, blustering bumclown who moonlights between penning erudite but ill-informed pieces for the Telegraph and the Spectator, and appearing on Have I Got News For You). Well, you are finding out now just how challenging that particular role is going to be, and how utterly unsuited you are to it, because as a young person might say, shit just got real. The EU will be in no mood to accommodate any of your empty promises. Not one. And why should they? Let’s face it, if the EU were a wedding reception, we’ve been behaving like the embarrassing, drunken, elderly, narcissistic relative that heckles the speeches, pukes up in the fishbowl and sits in the corner nursing a pint of Bacardi and coke, railing against bloody foreigners. Your promises of getting all the benefits of freedom of movement and free trade without all that pesky ‘red tape’ and fees and Eurocracy has been rightly shot down by the European Commission.
I know you have an ego the size of a planetoid: that’s what got you (and us) into this unholy mess. You’re also a big fan of Churchill and have this airy delusion that you might one day emulate your hero and don the mantle of ‘Great Statesman’. Well, did you not read this speech of his?
‘Hard as it is to say now.. I look forward to a United States of Europe, in which the barriers between the nations will be greatly minimised and unrestricted travel will be possible.’
I don’t suppose you’ve ever bothered to try to promote this vision to the people up and down England in areas of deprivation (mostly caused by your party’s policies, but that’s an argument for another day) who voted Brexit. Better to let that jolly Farage chap pander to divisive rhetoric and simple slogans instead. Of course, the big risk there is that they might just go and damn well do what you never wanted to or thought would happen. And they just did.
You’re a Classics graduate, aren’t you Boris? So we have one little thing in common at least. But whereas you probably hope History will remember you as having the leadership of Augustus, the wit of Juvenal, the oratory of Cicero and the wisdom of Socrates, instead it will be more like the vanity of Narcissus, the mindless populism of Cleon, the treachery of Catiline and the bumptious folly of King Midas. Think on, old boy. Think on.