Russ’s epic and epigrammatic summary of the madness and horror that is the current UK political scene. We’ve left the numbers in so you don’t get lost! Buckle up!
I was going to do #TheWeekInTory, but try as I might, I can’t find a single thing they’ve done wrong this week.
Only kidding. It’s been an absolute casserole. 91 items long, you poor folk.
Drink heavily before, during and after.
Here we go:
1. Boris Johnson got things off to a cracking start by telling adoring 79-year-old Tory youngsters that Ukrainians huddling in basements to survive a murderous Russian invasion was the same as an obsessive, Daily-Express-inspired quibble about energy efficient lightbulbs.
2. Johnson – who says he “leads the world” on Ukraine – was subsequently uninvited from a summit on the war.
3. Sajid Javid told Radio 4 “Russians mislead their public all the time”, and then immediately denied Johnson had even said the Brexit / Ukraine thing. Which he said. On TV.
4. Nadine Dorries, a beef-witted, one-woman riot of idiocy, told BBC “of course the PM doesn’t regret saying it”.
5. An hour later it was reported Johnson “regrets the remarks”.
6. An hour after that Johnson said he regrets nothing. Still keeping up? It's OK, neither is Nadine.
7. A report emerged of Johnson telling people Russian oligarchs were “buying influence in the Tory party”.
8. So Priti Patel said Putin might use Ukrainian women and children to “infiltrate the UK”.
9. It’s a fair point: they’re cheaper than Tory donors, and Putin loves a bargain.
10. On the night Putin invaded Ukraine, it turns out Boris Johnson had attended a secret fundraising dinner with Russian donors.
11. Meanwhile Alan Duncan, who had argued that the UK shouldn’t sanction Russian oil, was this week reported to be working for a Russian oil trader.
12. Senior Tory Bernard Jenkin said it was “unbelievable” that Johnson ennobled a man who got all his money from his KGB-officer father, overriding warnings from the security services.
13. Johnson denied it happened.
14. Dominic Cummings said he personally watched it happen.
15. Almost 140000 Brits have volunteered to house Ukrainian refugees.
16. So the Tories issued 8300 visas, which – help me out, maths fans: is that enough?
17. We have now generously offered – but not yet delivered – visas to 1 in every 372 people fleeing Ukraine.
18. Researchers described the “excessive bureaucracy” of our refugee programme as “completely unworkable”.
19. So to ensure Ukrainians understand her government’s welcome, Priti Patel created a law to put them in jail for 4 years if they lack proper visa paperwork.
20. Not even a UK jail – they’ll be shipped to “camps” overseas.
21. Patel’s first choice of location was a literal volcano in the middle of the Atlantic.
22. In a first for Patel, this idea was quickly abandoned because it’s “demonstrably insane”, which is usually her sweet spot.
23. So now Patel said refugees will be stored “offshore”, but nobody knows where, and Australian experts described the idea as “a human rights disaster”.
24. All this makes the UK “the most anti-refugee country in the world” according to Médecins Sans Frontières.
25. Despite this, Tory chairman and betwattled Morph cosplayer Oliver Dowden announced Boris Johnson has a “real emotional connection” with refugees.
26. So deep is that connection that Boris Johnson intervened to airlift 96 dogs out of Afghanistan rather than humans.
27. So the PM tweeted “warm wishes to Afghan friends in the UK”, all of whom still await asylum approval.
28. Then Johnson said it’s “not up to him” to work out if he’d allow a refugee in his house, proving he’s really taken the whole PartyGate “I know nothing” thing to heart.
29. Posturing mantis Jacob Rees-Mogg loomed up, like your worst stilton nightmare, and implied he was glad Ukraine had been invaded cos it let Tories “get away” from the “fluff” of the PM getting pissed in the garden all day while 160,000 Brits died from Covid.
30. JRM said Ukraine was finally an opportunity to “roll back wokery”, and then to demonstrate his unerring commitment to free speech he said Britain should “refuse to use socialist vocabulary”.
31. Oliver Dowden said people criticising those nice Russian oligarchs are “racist”.
32. The PM’s unofficial advisor Charles Moore joined in, telling R4 “the govt’s refugee policy isn’t racist. It’s just that we like Christians in this country and Muslims should go elsewhere”.
33. Words. They can be so difficult.
34. We flushed and flushed, but Dowden bobbed back up, blaming a Labour govt for the energy crisis. Tories have been in office 12 years.
35. And then he asserted – out loud, where any passing psychiatric professional could hear him – that privet hedges would vote Conservative.
36. Defence secretary and novelty pencil eraser Ben Wallace spent several minutes on a hoax call from a pretend Ukrainian minister.
37. He then said it was “standard practice” for Russians to do this sort of call, which makes you wonder why he took several minutes to work it out.
38. Despite it being “standard practice”, Priti Patel and Nadine Dorries then both fell for hoax calls.
39. Rishi Sunak, having a go at being Chancellor during his gap-year, made an impassioned statement on Ukraine while Boris Johnson hunched behind him, practising his gurning.
40. Sunak said he wouldn’t be homing any refugees, but he and his wife would help “in other ways”.
41. One of those other ways is Sunak and wife urgently doing absolutely nothing to withdraw their family investment in Russian businesses, for which I’m sure Ukraine is grateful.
42. As foodbanks stopped accepting donations of potatoes cos recipients can’t afford the fuel required to cook them, Sunak decided to boast of all the different types of bread he can afford to buy.
43. He then claimed “Tory policy has led to a million fewer living in poverty”.
44. That policy is: manipulating the data by changing the way Tories measure poverty.
45. Tory Scott Benton said the best way to avoid fuel poverty is “to get a job”.
46. Getting a job doesn’t seem to help much: poverty in working households is at the highest level ever recorded.
47. And Sunak just pushed another 1.3 m into poverty. He’s the best one. They keep saying he’s the best Tory.
48. Warming up for his pitch for becoming next Bullshitting PM, Sunak told parliament he was cutting taxes as he announced the highest jump in taxes since the 1940s.
49. He boasted of “the biggest cut in fuel tax 70 years”, taking petrol prices all the way back to where they were 4 days earlier.
50. A month after claiming he’d created the “fastest-growing economy in the G7”, he’s caused the biggest drop in living standards since the 50s.
51. But – huzzah – at least we’ll get a 1p tax cut in 2024, coincidentally scheduled for the day before the general election is pencilled in.
52. Sunak then posed for perfectly life-like photos depicting him – the richest MP there has ever been – putting petrol into ‘his’ Kia Rio (only it belonged to a Sainsbury’s worker)
53. He said he was cutting VAT on solar panels which “the EU would not allow us to do”.
54. The EU did it last year.
55. Sunak then teed-up us blowing a hole in the NI Protocol, which Johnson negotiated, told voters was “a great deal”, and forms the basis of his 80-seat majority.
56. This brings us to Brexit, and the USA said breaking the Protocol mean they wouldn’t even attempt a trade deal…
57.And then the USA said no matter what, a trade deal with a “shrinking UK” – which was the whole basis of our Brexit plan – wouldn’t be worth their time and effort.
58. Not that it matters much, since the Public Accounts Committee said Brexit trade deals will “not deliver any actual economic benefits”.
59. Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib announced plans to take Johnson to the Supreme Court to prove Brexit is worse than remaining in the EU.
60. More Quantum Fluctuating Tory Manifesto news, as Oliver Dowden was back to hit out against “net-zero dogma”, seemingly unaware he fought an election on a manifesto promising to deliver net-zero.
61. P&O sacked 800 workers and then rehired replacements at 30 per cent of minimum wage.
62. The government said it was shocked and appalled by this sudden news, despite having been told by P&O the day before it happened, and doing nothing to prevent it.
63. The Tories now claim that P&O have broken the law (and the Tories let them, but shhhhh).
64. A maritime law specialist said it isn’t actually against the law, cos the legislation P&O used was signed off by Chris Grayling, the Home Bargains Pennywise, in 2018.
65. Even so, the government was so upset that Grant Shapps and Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted an angry tweet about it.
66. They addressed the tweet to a man who had resigned as P&O chairman months before any of this happened.
67. Then they deleted the tweet and sent it again to the right man.
68. And then irony no-fly-zone Kwarteng said P&O’s ineptitude had “lost the trust of the public”.
69. Clattering halfwit Natalie Elphicke was so incensed she told a protest rally that she would “be marching for the people of Dover.”
70. Three days later, she abstained from voting to save P&O jobs.
71. In fact, not a single Tory MP voted to prevent "Fire and Hire"
72. Grant Shapps said Tories would send a message that P&O sacking workers was “disgraceful treatment that would never be tolerated.”
73. The same Shapps – perhaps using a different identity – was author of a paper arguing “it should be easier for firms to sack workers.”
74. P&O had taken £10m grants to furlough workers, £150m as a bailout, and then its owners paid £250m to shareholders.
75. To prove how terribly cross Tories were about all this, they gave the P&O owners an additional £50m as part of Rishi Sunak’s ever-so-clever Freeport Scheme.
76. So crepuscular Regency abattoir-creeper Jacob Rees-Mogg sympathetically said he intended to scrap even more employment rules.
77. He said “safety laws that are good enough for India are good enough for UK.”
78. Workplace deaths per year in the UK: 112.
79. In India: 48,000.
80. Speaking of avoidable mass-deaths, despite the govt writing a terse memo telling the pandemic to pack it in, infections are up 400 per cent since mask restrictions were lifted.
81. 3.3 million people were infected in just 7 days.
82. Admissions in England are up 26% in a week.
83. So health secretary Sajid Javid moved on from last week’s soothing advice to “brace yourselves” for loads of deaths, and now says primary school kids should “socialise a bit less”. Cos cutting down on 7-year-olds having dinner parties beats simple preventative measures.
84. Speaking of utter failure to perform basic duties, senior officials reported the PM is “too lazy” and “unfocused” to read briefing papers, even on Ukraine.
85. Instead, they send him summaries of sensitive material in WhatsApp messages, in breach of govt security regulations.
86. All Johnson’s WhatsApp messages are still there, except for the ones about Covid contracts, which he seems to have entirely accidentally deleted, just as the Covid enquiry begins. The “delete awkward evidence” button is in the Settings menu of WhatsApp.
87. Also, Matt Hancock failed to declare WhatsApp messages he exchanged with disgraced former Tory MP Owen Paterson during last year’s illegal lobbying scandal.
88. And this week Tories dropped plans to cap earnings from MP’s second jobs, which they promised after Paterson.
89. They then rejected new rules to prevent “discriminatory language” in parliament.
90. Which brings us the person in charge of equality, Kemi Badenoch, who said the black schoolgirl Child Q being strip-searched just shows how much the UK cares about minorities.
91. She then boasted the British Empire achieved “good things”, overlooking the small matter of 100 million deaths.
92. Despite this, dying palm-tree Michael Fabricant rushed out to boast UK still had an excellent “soft-power” score of 64/100.
93. It was 75/100 before Brexit.
94. Finally, glistening human polyp David Cameron tried to rehabilitate his rep by posing for photos at one of the 2800 foodbanks his own policies had created.
95. And research showed his decision to “cut the green crap” has added £150 a year to every fuel bill in the country.
Hey, look, I’m really sorry about all of this sh*t that’s listed above. I hope you’re not too depressed.
If you feel like doing something useful, join a political party that ISN’T the Tories, prepare to do tactical votes, and donate to Ukraine.
And if you feel like a longer, dafter dive into what Tories has done to the country, there’s still a chance to support my forthcoming book (which includes lots of jokes to make the horror less horrific).
Your name appears in it if you order now.