Ready4Rishi? Plundering the depths in search of integrity
Are you Ready4Rishi? Well, he suspected you might be as far back as December, which is when he registered the phrase for his campaign website.
To be strictly accurate, he originally registered readyforrishi.com, before refining it with that crucial, brand-establishing ‘4’ ‒ the white-socks-with-sliders of on-point, disruptor messaging.
Rishi, you see, had his finger on the pulse.
As the first photos of Downing Street parties emerged, he could see the need for a national leader who appealed to the electorate’s sense of decency; a family man whose wife was happy to start paying tax in the UK with just the gentlest of nudges from the media; a patriot who hasn’t been the permanent resident of a foreign country since, gosh, all the way back in October.
And he’s probably right. The word of the moment is ‘integrity’. We simply have to have it, apparently.
Aspirant Tory leaders are gushing about it like Gen Z converts to Kate Bush, whilst Sir Chicken Korma points frantically at his 1985 vinyl integrity, complete with certificate of authenticity from the Chief Constable of Durham.
Ayn Rand-infected Mekon lookalike, Sajid Javid, set the ball rolling in his resignation speech.
The erstwhile Secretary of State for Health, who recently apologised for accusing the British people of cowering from Covid, announced to the Commons that he, ‘will never risk losing integrity.’
His audience of self-interested grifters latched on immediately to the possibilities of this phrase, as related to their own suddenly inconvenient proximity to government.
The late Iain Banks once observed, ‘I’m not saying there are no decent people in the Tory party but they’re like sweetcorn in a turd; technically they kept their integrity, but they’re still embedded in shit.’
Of course, the utility of a word like ‘integrity’ is that it is unquantifiable.
So, if you are departing a criminal enterprise, you can do so with it intact by claiming that you were only involved in the first place owing to your sense of duty and loyalty.
In fact, so over-developed are these traits in your character that, you’ll admit, they might have blinded you to the moral turpitude to which you have now been alerted.
You are, like Prince Andrew before you, ‘too honourable’ to recognise appalling goings-on, even at first hand.
Yet, moving forward, isn’t that exactly what the country now needs? Which is why you are announcing your intention to run in the forthcoming leadership election…
In the meantime, however, we can distract ourselves from war with Russia and incoming gas bills that make it cost-effective to set fire to your house, by watching a disgraced prime minister run a government of people who just really, really want to be ministers.
Andrea Jenkyns set the tone for this inspiring period of British history by giving the public the finger outside Downing Street on Thursday and being appointed Under Secretary of State for Education on Friday.
He won’t rule out a bid to become prime minister, but for the moment is too busy ‘thinking about values’.
His evaluation of us seems pretty clear, but given that he represents an English seat, we shan’t be allowed the opportunity to return the favour at the ballot box.
Whim and favour
There were points this week when Johnson looked like he might go full-Trump and dismiss representative democracy altogether.
He seemed to suggest that the Tory majority was attributable solely to him, with MPs relegated to courtiers who served at his whim and favour.
During his ‘let’s not be hasty, I’ll probably go but why don’t you take a few months to think it over’ non-resignation speech on Thursday, the veil slipped on his conception of British democracy.
Contemplating a future without himself at the helm, the PM conceded that ‘our brilliant and Darwinian system’ will produce another leader.
And this, fellow plebs, is at the heart of our woes.
Our leaders don’t even imagine that they are vessels for the values of the poor saps who vote for them.
No, they believe that innate strength determines their elevated positions in society, and elections are merely the playing field upon which they demonstrate their prowess.
As the field assembles to contest the succession, we should be very careful not allow relief at the passing of one large mammal to neuter scrutiny of the next.
Integrity is a fine sounding word; so was sovereignty.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.