On the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Lying Liar Johnson uttered what was quite possibly one of the worst lies that the lying liar has ever lied about in his miserable mendacious life. Johnson tried to blame the Labour party for the early release of Usman Khan, the convicted terrorist responsible for Friday’s knife attack at London Bridge. Johnson tried to make out that last week’s atrocity was entirely the fault of the Labour party because Labour introduced legislation allowing for the early release of prisoners who were deemed to have been rehabilitated. He absolutely refused to take any responsibility at all for the actions of the Conservative party who in the past nine years that they’ve been in office have taken an axe to funding for rehabilitation efforts within prisons, and who have ruined the probation service which is tasked with the supervision of released prisoners with a botched privatisation attempt and who have slashed its funding.
Nothing to do with me, said Lying Liar Johnson, I’ve only been Prime Minister for a few months. Yet when the artfully tousled pants on firer was running for Conservative leadership in 2016 he had a meeting with the prominent lawyer and Chief Prosecutor for the North West of England, Nazir Afzal, who warned him that the justice system was desperately in need for funding. Afzal informed Johnson that he was concerned that cuts to funding for probation and rehabilitation services meant that convicted terrorists who were due to be released would not be adequately supervised and that he feared some of them would go on to reoffend. However it seems that during this encounter, Johnson was only interested in changes to the justice system that don’t cost any money, and was not interested in what an expert with direct professional experience had to tell him. Experts eh, who needs them? It’s only what Michael Gove said during the EU referendum after all.
Yet even with an interviewer as weak as Marr, Johnson was still unable to give a proper account of himself. No wonder he’s terrified of Andrew Neil, and steers well clear of the leaders’ debates that have been organised by the broadcasters. Cowardice is born in selfishness and ends in shame. Or it would, if Johnson was capable of feeling shame. Since he’s not, his cowardice will end in disaster for everyone else. Johnson is a coward, but those who vote for him even though they are well aware of his shortcomings are guilty of moral cowardice too. The shame that he is incapable of feeling becomes theirs.
There’s another election debate this evening but there’s as much chance of Boris Johnson showing up as there is of Prince Andrew showing some remorse, or indeed his sweat glands. Instead the Tories will be represented by Rishi Sunak, the nonentity who’s the Minister of State for Prime Ministerial Shitebaggery. Boris Johnson can’t come because he drew the short straw and has to visit the cage where Jacob Rees Mogg is locked up for the duration of the election campaign in order to feed him a peasant and the tears of a disabled mother. All the other parties are represented. Johnson and Corbyn want to lead the country but can’t be arsed to turn up for a debate. But we can’t say that Johnson isn’t represented, he’s sent Nigel Farage.
Nicola Sturgeon is appearing for the SNP. Farage is bullshitting for the Brexit party. Jo Swinson will be torturing innocent vowels for the Lib Dems. Adam Price is standing up for Plaid and Siân Berry for the Greens. Labour is sending [checks notes], Richard Burgon. Richard is the deputy shadow Secretary of State for Childish Retaliation and Futile Gestures.
Immediately prior to the debate, ITV was broadcasting one of the Harry Potter movies, in which a bunch of kids try to take down the embodiment of evil who looks like Dominic Cummings. Apparently it’s an extended metaphor for the British politics that its author thinks we’re better together with. Perhaps she’ll write a future instalment in which she explains how the UK gets out of this mess without actually resorting to magic, because currently it’s looking like the federalism fairy is merely a character in a fantasy novel.
But onto the debate. Because masochism. Oh god. It’s going to go on for two hours. Doesn’t that count as a crime against humanity? And why do the sets for these things always look like the set for one of the crappier daytime TV quizzes? This is more pointless than Pointless.
The Tory nonentity starts his speil by telling us that we’re all fed up. This is correct Rishi, we’re fed up of your boss not answering questions. We’re fed up with being patronised. And we’re fed up being told what we think by former hedge fund managers who are married to the daughter of a billionaire. That would be you, Rishi. He kind of reminds me of one of those synthetic humanoids from that Channel 4 Sci Fi show, Humans. Only not as convincingly human.
The Labour guy emotes like a plank of wood left out in the rain for six months. You know that you should go out there and pick it up and put it out of its misery, but then if you ignore it long enough it will disappear all by itself. So pretty much like the Labour party. There’s all the passion of a wet half day closing in Saltcoats.
They start off by answering a question about the recent terrorist attack. Nigel Farage blames political correctness gone mad. Which is just showing his age really. If he was down with the youth he’d know it’s wokeness that he ought to be railing against. Political correctness is so ’80s Nigel, a bit like you. He’s even wearing a tie that’s straight out of the Burton’s 1983 catalogue. And then in a surprise twist, the Tory nonentity blames the Labour party. You’d never know from listening to this guy that the Tories had been in power for the past nine years and if they had wanted tougher sentencing powers they could have done it already. Instead they slashed police numbers and destroyed the probation service. But Jeremy Corbyn, anti-semitism, ammarite?
Nigel Farage leapt in to demand that people convicted of terrorism offences be locked up for life and never allowed out again. These people want to destroy our civilisation! He harrumphed. Which the rest of us kinda thought was Nigel’s USP all this time. Then having made his nakedly populist point he was surprised that no one in the audience applauded him. That would be because they recognise a cheap opportunist when they see one Nige.
Saltcoats isn’t that bad really, you know.
Rishi guy is channelling Boris Johnson and refusing to answer Nicola Sturgeon’s question about ruling out no deal at the end of next year if the British government has failed to negotiate a trade deal with the EU. Nigel Farage bangs on about how Nicola Sturgeon is supposed to love independence and the UK will be independent once it’s out of the EU. Labour’s plank of wood guy wakes up and remarks that Nigel wasn’t very independent when he was taking instructions from Donald Trump when he called into Nigel’s show on LBC. That gets the round of applause that Nigel has been desperately seeking but failing to get all evening. Now we have actually learned something new. A wet plank of wood can deliver a nasty burn.
We get on to the question about keeping the UK together. Plank of wood guy rules out any backroom deals with the SNP over another indyref. Sturgeon says that if the union is as strong as people say then how come we’re in a position where Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will and Boris Johnson is deciding its future. She insists that the other parties respect Scotland’s right to choose. That gets applause. Jo Swinson wades in and blames the Labour party for allowing another indyref, and the Tory party for putting a customs border down the Irish sea. Tory guy says that it’s divisive to spend the next few years going on about referendums. It’s even more divisive for a supposedly democratic party to ignore a mandate delivered by the people of Scotland about the right to decide Scotland’s future. But Tory nonentity is fine with that. None of them are called on to defend the proposition that it’s fine for parties in Westminster to ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland.
And then it’s on to immigration. Scotland you’ve had your two minutes. Nigel Farage starts getting animated. I’m losing the will to live here. Sian Berry points out that she’s lived with an Australian style immigration system and it’s nothing to be proud of.
Next up it’s a question about the special relationship and Trump’s visit next week. Farage seems to think that we need Donald Trump to protect us from the EU. Which is a bit like asking a vampire to protect you from a blood transfusion. Nicola Sturgeon asks for an act of parliament to protect the NHS from US corporations. That gets a round of applause. Farage tries to defend Trump’s misogyny by shouting over the top of the women in the room. That’s a good look there Nigel. He’s trying to brush it off by saying that all men say such things when they’ve had a few to drink. Trump is teetotal. Maybe someone should explain to Nigel that sexual abuse doesn’t become OK just because it’s perpetrated by a drunk.
Sturgeon asks if we want to allow the future of the UK to be decided by the Trump-Johnson-Farage axis or whether we can choose something better. She’s getting the most rounds of applause from an otherwise pretty comatose audience. And that includes those of us watching at home. Adam Price says it’s never acceptable to refer to grabbing women by the pussy like Trump did, or referring to gay men like himself as bumboys, as Boris Johnson did. Big cheer. Tory nonentity tries to defend Johnson’s record on gay rights. Everyone else except Nigel Farage laughs. Tory nonentity comes across as someone who’d cheerfully scoff a plateful of dog crap if Boris Johnson told him to. He’s certainly spewing enough crap.
They move on to nukes. At least talking about them. While I am opposed to nuclear weapons I must admit that the notion of dropping one on Nigel Farage and the Conservative leadership does have a certain appeal. Sturgeon points out that spending £200 billion on new nukes is a damn peculiar way of attaining nuclear disarmament. Wet plank guy ties himself in knots trying to defend Labour’s support of nuclear weapons with Jeremy Corbyn’s previous opposition to them. We’ve now all learned that Richard Burgon doesn’t have a high public profile, and is extremely unlikely ever to attain one. Adam Price points out that this is a moral issue. We unilaterally gave up chemical weapons, we should do the same with nuclear ones. Tory nonentity talks about how the Conservatives are all about peace and love and manages to avoid mentioning that under his party the UK has sold arms to 22 of the countries in the world with the worst records on human rights.
Nigel Farage goes on about the other parties lying about spending, which as Nicola Sturgeon points out is pretty rich from a man whose beloved Brexit only won the referendum because of a £350 million lie written on the side of a bus. Nigel gets annoyed, although to be fair that’s pretty much the base state of a permagammon. Tory nonentity lies about the strength of the UK economy. The Tories inherited a UK credit rating of AAA stable from Labour in 2010. It is now Aa2 negative. He says that the route out of poverty is well paid jobs, neglecting to explain why so many working families are reliant on foodbanks.
They’re on to the NHS now. Nigel Farage says how much he values the NHS. He values it so much that he’d like to move towards a US style private health insurance model. At least that’s what he wanted in 2012. He’s very quiet about that now. Labour guy points out Farage’s previous support for a US style insurance system. Farage shouts back “more lies”. But he’s on record as having said so. There’s some random shouting. However we can all agree that the NHS is a very good thing, that the Tories are trashing it, but that Tory nonentity doesn’t need to worry about that because he’s extremely wealthy, and besides they don’t actually have provision for androids in health centres just yet. He just needs one of those Tesla power points where he can plug himself in.
We’re onto the final stretch now. Thank god. I lost the will to live 45 minutes ago. Plank of wood guy says Labour will introduce free personal care for the elderly but he can’t answer Adam Price when he asks why Labour hasn’t introduced in Wales already. It’s a devolved issue and the SNP has already introduced it in Scotland. Tory android manages to shoehorn get Brexit done into the discussion. Sturgeon points out that free personal care has existed in Scotland for over a decade and has recently been extended in scope. It can be done she says, stop talking about it and just do it.
Time for the closing statements. Farage says it’s been a competition about who is the most politically correct. And then the man who’s spent the evening channelling the 1980s complains that there’s no desire to change anything. Tory robot waffles about getting Brexit done and slagging off Corbyn. Labour plank of wood talks about the need for hope, a speech he delivers with all the passion of a souffle that has failed to rise. Adam Price demonstrates what passion is really about. Education is the route out of poverty, but children in Wales are going to school hungry. Give children the best Christmas present ever, the gift of a better future. Sian Berry warns of climate chaos, but says Greens don’t fear the future. Her party won’t allow the others to escape their responsibility. Jo Swinson murders some vowels and lays into Boris Johnson’s lies. Nicola Sturgeon says that Johnson’s Tories are unfit for office, they’ll damage our public services and our NHS. It’s vital to vote against them, and to vote for a better future. A vote for the SNP is a vote to provide an escape route out of Brexit, a vote to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.
Nicola Sturgeon has definitely had the most positive response from the audience. Adam Price has been passionate and has spoken well. Sian Berry came across well too. Plank of wood guy from Labour managed to get a couple of good lines in at Farage’s expense. The less said about the animatronic Tory nonentity the better, and Nigel Farage deserves to have a special level of hell all to himself for his shameful attempt to defend Trump’s “pussy grabbing” comments. Oh, and Jo Swinson was there too.
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