What would Matt Hancock have to do for Labour to call for him to go?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a Number 10 press conference

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a Number 10 press conference - Credit: POOL/AFP via Getty Images

MITCH BENN starts his weekly look back at some of the highlights and lowlights of recent days...

UNFATHOMABLE STRATEGY OF THE WEEK

The trouble with an inscrutable and mysterious strategy is that to the untrained eye, it’s indistinguishable from an entirely non-existent one.

What is Sir Keir Starmer’s plan as leader of the opposition? Does it involve, like, opposing things? What would Matt Hancock have to do for Sir Keir to call for his resignation? Sneak up behind him and flatten his quiff?

While Sir K does still project a sort of Jedi-ish calm, even his keenest supporters are starting to find that calm maddening rather than reassuring. Simply not being Jeremy Corbyn is not in itself a path to victory. Ask Neil Kinnock; he was every bit as much Not Michael Foot as Tony Blair was.


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Nor can Sir K coast in on being the only major national party leader who owns a comb. Speaking of which...


ENTIRELY SUCCESSFUL DIVERSIONARY TACTIC OF THE WEEK

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Boris Johnson somehow managing to whip his hair into its most chaotic state yet before announcing his 'roadmap out of lockdown' plan on Monday, thus ensuring that all discussion was focussed on his tonsorial tumult rather than on the fact that we’ve heard it all before, and that every time we hear it it’s only a matter of days until we hear the blustered retraction and “clarification” (which doesn’t).

Or indeed that 'roadmap' is a rather tone-deaf metaphor to inflict upon people who have barely left the house for 11 months. And you’ve got to say it works, because look, here I am, three days later, still wasting precious column inches on the PM’s stupid hair.

The crazier Boris’s coiffure, the bigger the disaster he’s trying to distract our attention from. If he ever addresses the House sporting a green and orange mohawk then hit the shelters because it means he’s just declared war on China.


COMPLETELY FORESEEABLE UNFORESEEN CONSEQUENCE OF THE WEEK

The elevation to 'Brexit secretary' of David Frost, previously the UK’s principal negotiator during our last round of entirely successful and in no way humiliating discussions with the EU, and – of course – not an MP (not to worry though; peerages are a lot easier to come by these days if you know the right people).

So it is that our five year quest to rid ourselves of unelected bureaucrats and to stop begging favours from the EU has finally resulted in the appointment of an unelected bureaucrat to the full time position of begging favours from the EU. It’s not so much that David Frost isn’t the most appropriate person to be Brexit Secretary; it’s that David Frost isn’t even the most appropriate David Frost to be Brexit secretary, and the other one’s dead.


RAW DEAL OF THE WEEK

Former president Donald Trump (my fingers are tingling from the sheer joy of typing those words, so what the hell, I’m going to type them again) former president Donald Trump (mmm...) has been told by the Supreme Court of the United States that he will, after all, have to surrender his tax returns to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance. Given that fully one third of the current Supreme Court consists of Justices appointed by Trump, and that each one of these appointments was highly contentious in its own way, and given also that Trump has a famously transactional view of the world, this development must surely have come as a terrible shock and disappointment to One-Time Former Ex Definitely Not President Any More Trump. How will he react? With his customary litigiousness? Can someone sue the Supreme Court for breach of promise? Is there enough popcorn in the world?





MYSTIFYING SHOWBIZ DEVELOPMENT OF THE WEEK

Permanently behelmeted French dance music legends Daft Punk have announced they’re splitting up after 28 years. What’s mystifying is not so much that they’ve called it a day – they were bound to run out of obscure 1970s disco tracks to recycle eventually – but that they’ve bothered to tell anyone.

Since nobody knows what they look like under their sci-fi robot masks, they could have hired a couple of ringers to don the helmets, sent them out to do endless greatest hits tours and DJ sets while sitting chez eux and raking in the fees...


GRATUITOUS POEM OF THE WEEK

Ministers of the crown
Before you think of sitting down
At home, to share online your views
With Britain, via the TV news
Even before you fire up Zoom
Take a look around your room
Be sure to place, behind your back
A bloody massive Union Jack


What truly British home would lack
A battleship-sized Union Jack
Occupying half your place
Towering o’er your living space
It makes you look so patriotic
And not the tiniest bit neurotic
So fly that flag, proud and true
(Keir Starmer did, so we must too).

What do you think? Have your say on this and more by emailing letters@theneweuropean.co.uk

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