With time running out on his premiership the PM returns to his happy place – a warzone
Dragging yourself back to work after an agreeable holiday is always a pain, isn’t it?
You need to ease yourself in gently, selecting tasks that don’t demand too much of your psyche, half of which remains convinced that you’ll be back in your favourite taverna at lunchtime, dipping bits of fried squid in tzatziki and blowing the foam off a pint of Mythos.
It’s time to rearrange your desk or offer to fetch the coffee for your colleagues. Anything, in fact, to delay opening your emails, because in there will be all the ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ demands from people whose very existence is what ushered you to the airport in the first place.
For Boris Johnson, life is writ large, so while you fear an email from Karen in accounts marked ‘urgent’ and opt to avoid it by having a vape with the security guy out by the bins, our errant PM is dodging 67.2 million emails titled ‘For the Love of God, Save Us!’ by addressing the Ukrainian Parliament.
I have a colleague at work who transforms into the Roadrunner at 5.15pm each Friday, such is her determination to reach her caravan in Narbeth for the weekend.
For some time now Kyiv has been Boris Johnson’s happy place.
When he signed on for the primeministering gig, events in Ukraine were exactly the sort of thing he thought he’d be doing. Bestriding the world stage, old boy!
I absolutely guarantee that, as a child, he had a map laid out with battalions and tank formations that he could move around with a stick.
So, it’s jolly convenient having Kyiv a short hop away when he’s in danger of having to engage with hordes of plebs banging on about their gas bills or excrement on the beach.
In Kyiv, hopeful bluster is understandably appreciated at the moment, and they are rather too busy to drill down into the substance of anything Johnson says. All he needs to do is be there and give it Boris for the cause.
The martial rhetoric which was received as grossly offensive during the pandemic is just the ticket for this performance. Remember when we were going to ‘take it on the chin’ at the outset of Covid? He just needed the right audience.
This week he was presented with the Ukrainian Order of Liberty before having a plaque to him unveiled on the ‘alley of bravery’ outside the parliament building. In return, he reassured the Ukrainians that while the UK might be facing utter ruin this winter we didn’t mind as it was in the service of facing down Putin’s evil.
Remember that when you’re defrosting your granny next month.
This is all rather like watching some innocent newcomer start a relationship with your psychopathic ex. There is a compelling case for leaving an anonymous note under Volodymyr Zelensky’s windscreen wiper‒ ‘When he says he wants to level you up, don’t believe him…’
For all Johnson’s reluctance to leave office, this final stretch of his tenure has been very much on his own terms: on holiday for most of it, hosting an extravagant party to wind up the puritans, ignoring anything that looks like hard work while, instead, flying in helicopters and impersonating Churchill.
I suppose having ‘got the big decisions right’ he can afford to take his hand off the tiller and enjoy the trappings of his success as the UK prospers. Thanks Chief!
The difference between you and Johnson is that you will eventually open Karen’s email and deal with whatever foul task she has for you. Firstly, you’re too decent not to and secondly, you’ve got a mortgage to pay. In short, you’re engaged with reality.
Johnson, and by extension the UK, has been running on fantasy for years.
From Brexit to our ‘world beating’ Covid response to decimated public services and rampant tax avoidance, we refuse to open the email.
This winter, consequence is coming knocking and no amount of faux patriotism, jubilees, football, Great British Bake Offs or Captain Tom is going to dissuade it from breaking down the door and demanding we face it.
Here in Wales, we’ll look after each other, we always do.
Come spring, though, we need to start holding the fantasists to account, because this has gone on long enough.
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