Kick up the Tabloids

Who’s shocked there was a Chinese spy at Westminster? Liz Truss for one. In parliament, she described China as “the biggest threat to the UK”. She should know, as this time last year, she herself was the biggest threat to the UK.

It must be a dawdle spying on Tory MP’s and ministers, as most of them are far too pre-occupied with their second jobs. It seems loads of these guys look on their MP duties as a sideline. Boris Johnson earned an incredible 4.8 million pounds from speeches and book advances in his final year as an MP. No wonder he made such a ham-fisted job of being Prime Minister. He was obviously far too busy lining up book deals to care about trivial matters like the economy, the NHS, and stopping people dying of Covid.

He’s not the only one. Jacob Rees Mogg made an eye-watering 350 thousand pounds last year over and above his ministerial and parliamentary salaries. This begs one very obvious question. Exactly what skills does Jacob Rees-Mogg possess to tempt anyone to pay him over three hundred grand? To most impartial
onlookers, the man has very few visible talents. Unless, of course, someone were casting for the part of Lord Snooty in a stage musical based on the Beano or looking tor someone to play a Gestapo officer in a remake of the 1980’s sitcom Allo Allo.

Like a lot of posh people, Rees-Mogg tries to dress up his shortcomings by quoting Latin. Like a lot of expensively-educated posh folk, I suspect Rees-Mogg uses Latin as an attempt to disguise the fact that he’s actually not very bright. I’ve never quite understood why the ability to speak Latin should be seen a sign of intelligence After all, not everybody in ancient Rome can have been a genius. And all of them could speak Latin.

This is why people like Education Secretary Gillian Keegan expect to be congratulated for turning for work. She spat the dummy on Sky News, when she was off-air but still being recorded, ranting “Does anyone ever say, ‘You know you’ve done a fucking good job’?” No, of course they don’t say that. For the very good reason that nobody thinks she is doing a fucking good job.

We have had some dreadful Tory ministers since 2010, but nothing to compare with this current crop of talentless chancers. None of the current Cabinet would look out of place as contestants on The Apprentice, Sunak himself included. They all have the look of small time con artists aspiring to work in retail management.

Take the new Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps, about whom many former military big- hitters have expressed concern. Not only is he unlikely to know one end of a tank from another, Shapps looks like he really ought to be the manager of a branch of Carphone Warehouse in Slough. However, beneath
this unbelievably dull, bland exterior lurks a would-be snake oil salesman. A few years ago, Shapps lied in an LBC interview about not having a second job, despite owning a number of companies which operated get-rich-quick schemes. This included a web sales business HowToCorp which claimed that clients who paid $ 200 for its software would “make $20,000 in 20 days or your money back”.

This is the kind of hokum which would set off anyone’s scam alarm. At the time he denied that he had a second job as he was trading under an assumed name, Michael Green. Perhaps he should also have used an assumed name for his political career. Through no fault of his own, he has an utterly laughable surname. It sounds like Cockney rhyming slang for an unpleasant bowel condition. I can imagine it being used as an excuse to phone in sick for work. “I’m sorry I can’t come into the office today, I’ve been up all night with a dose of the Grant Shapps”. Equally it could be the sales pitch for some quack remedy claiming “We’ll rid you of the Grant Shapps in ten days or your money back guaranteed.”

This is the guy in charge of defence? No wonder the military are shapping themselves.

portrait of vladimir mctavish
Vladimir McTavish