The Russia Report has gained mythical status: everyone assumes it exists, as it was referenced by Dominic Grieve in the Commons before last year’s General Election, but very few people have actually seen it. That is because alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, aided and abetted by his chief polecat Dominic Cummings, squashed the idea of publication by sitting on it - all 16 and a half stone of him.
Russia report? Search me, pal
Maybe we search your boss instead
Knowing that Cummings spent some years in Russia, and that Bozo The Clown had attended a party at a Russian oligarch’s villa in Italy without his security detail recently, it was not long before suspicions were aroused: did either of them feature in the report’s content? But now has come the news that the Intelligence and Security Committee, which will oversee the report’s release, is at last to have a chairman in place.
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, as the Independenthas reported, “Former cabinet minister Chris Grayling - renowned for a string of mishaps at the transport and justice departments - looks set to become chair of Westminster’s influential Intelligence and Security Committee”. Jim Pickard of the FT cautiously told “There is something called the intelligence committee and Chris Grayling is its new chair”.
LBC host James O’Brien was less cautious. “Chris Grayling is more punchline than politician”. Alex Tiffin compared and contrasted. “Boris Johnson December 2019: Jeremy Corbyn is a risk to National Security … July 2020: Chris Grayling should chair The Intelligence Select Committee”. David Allen Green added “Under Chris Grayling, the Ministry of Justice sought to flog prison services to Saudi Arabia … He is now to chair the intelligence and security committee”. And one Tweeter had not quite taken the news in.
Ben Claimant responded “I'm not making this up … Boris Johnson nominates CHRIS GRAYLING to chair key INTELLIGENCE committee”. The Secret Barrister added “If cancel culture wants to immediately get everybody onside, it should get cracking with Chris Grayling”. It is fair to say that Grayling’s reputation has preceded him.
Jennifer Cassidy, who you can tell as she’s a doctor, put it directly. “Chris Grayling - renowned for a string of inept policy decisions - set to become chair of Intelligence and Security Committee. His first challenge? To decide if to release the long waited report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics. That’s it”. Green Party co-leader Jon Bartley was not optimistic. “Chris Grayling’s cock-ups: - Prisoner book ban - Probation privatisation - East coast franchis - Court charges - Training in Saudi jails - Ferry contract to company with no ferries. Now chosen to hit “publish” on the Russia report.”
His conclusion? “Draw your own conclusions”. But Simon Blackwell, for one, was not downhearted. “*This* is where he shines. Finally, decisively. *This* is his Battle of Britain, his Jules Rimet moment, his Boom Bang-a-Bang at Eurovision, his Agincourt. God speed, Chris Grayling, we're all rooting for you - shine on you crazy diamond”.
Why the optimism? David Schneider spelt it out. “The good thing about Chris Grayling being head of the Intelligence committee is that a man who paid £14m to a ferry company with no ferries is likely to publish the Russia Report by mistake instead of covering it up”
Grayling will foul something up. Which may backfire on Bozo and Dom. Here’s hoping.
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