The propensity of our alleged Prime Minister Alexander Biros de Pfeffel Johnson and his fellow stooges in the cabinet to keep on citing wartime metaphors in order to rouse the electorate to new heights of boredom knows no bounds. To illustrate this, someone has clearly dug out Winshton’s World War 2 highlights and handed them to Michael “Oiky” Gove with orders to deliver a similar oratorical flourish.
Back in the darkest days of that war, Churchill memorably told “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”. Nevah! That was the stuff of legend. So what’s “Oiky’s” version like?
“Planning for no deal is now this government’s No 1 priority - and that is why we have, since Wednesday, been accelerating preparations”. Do go on. “All the necessary funding is now being put in place … the government machine is being retooled for the task … he cabinet secretary has created a new, unified, Whitehall structure to co-ordinate action across departments and accelerate decision-making”. There is more.
Maybe too much more: “we will shortly launch one of the biggest peacetime public information campaigns this country has seen, so that citizens, communities and businesses can prepare for what will happen if there is no deal”. And then Gove rather lets himself go, as he builds to his not really memorable peroration.
“The entire machinery of government will work to help ensure our businesses will be ready, our factories will be ready, our hospitals will be ready - and the British people will be ready. We will be ready because we are not approaching this task with an attitude of business as usual. We are taking tough decisions and challenging conventional wisdom, so that we can deliver on the will of the British people”. Churchill it is not.
It’s more “We do not choose to do these things because they are easy”, which is JFK. And “Conventional wisdom” is J K Galbraith, which suggests someone ideologically suspect has wormed their way into the Cabinet Office. Gove’s attempt to do a Winshton is a damp squib. But he does want us all to know “Above all, we have the courage of our convictions and are determined to deliver for our country. Because that is what this new prime minister and new government are all about”. Talking about delivering. Yeah, right.
Talking about delivering has also spread to the Treasury, from where Sajid Javid has reported “In 95 days we’ll be out of the EU. If we can’t leave with a good deal, we’ll have to leave without one. That’s why I have tasked [H M Treasury] to immediately step up no deal preparations”. Lots of announcements. So it looks like something is being done.
And talk of a “war cabinet”. Because we’re at war, dontcha know? To which David Allen Green has concluded “The current cabinet is far more an Evelyn Waugh cabinet than ever a 'war cabinet’”. They’re talking a lot. Because they haven’t got a Scooby Doo.
But it sounds convincing. And that’s what our free and fearless press wants to hear.
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