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The cautionary tale of the emperor’s ill-fitting clothes

Rishi Sunak appears to be having a few wardrobe malfunctions. Is he taking a leaf out of Boris Johnson's book?

Image: The New European


OK, here’s a question: why can’t Rishi Sunak find a suit that fits him?

Seriously, how is it that a man conservatively (see what I did there) estimated to be worth about three-quarters of a billion pounds can’t seem to come by a jacket and trousers that make it all the way to the ends of his limbs?

The man could afford to buy a decent outfit from Burton’s – the man could afford to buy Burton’s – and yet every time we see him out and about, his trouser hems hover somewhere around halfway between his knees and feet and his coat cuffs are receding elbow-wards.

What’s going on? Is this some Masonic recognition signal? Is it a sartorial statement? If so, what is that statement saying, other than perhaps “I get unusually sweaty around my wrists and ankles”? Is it perhaps a new trend that’s SO fresh and now that nobody except our next ex-prime minister has thus far picked up on it?

Or is it a fiendishly clever diversionary tactic designed to get foolish pundits and commentators to waste their precious column inches – indeed, even their lead item – obsessing over Mr Sunak’s apparent wardrobe malfunctions instead of addressing the fact that his cabinet is imploding, his administration is utterly clueless and adrift and the nation’s social and economic decline is approaching terminal velocity?


In another example of Sunak’s dynamism, last Sunday he sprang into action and dismissed Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi a mere week after revelations about Zahawi’s “carelessness” regarding his tax arrangements.

Quite what had changed on the Saturday to suddenly make Zahawi’s financial swifties a sacking offence, we may never know (spoiler alert: nothing) but sacked he was, and in his response to his dismissal, Zahawi seemed to draw inspiration from Sunak’s predecessor in No 10. Specifically, he published a lengthy open letter to the PM in which he acknowledged no wrongdoing and devoted the entire text to singing his own praises apart from one paragraph in which he lambasted the conduct of those pesky financial journalists whose impertinent scribblings had led to his downfall.

Oh boy. I do hope those journalists aren’t sitting on any OTHER embarrassing facts about Mr Zahawi or any of his colleagues; if they are, he’s just made it far more likely that we’ll all find out in due course.


Before we move on, it’s worth pointing out that Sunak’s official pretext for firing Zahawi was the latter’s “serious breach of the ministerial code”. Leaving aside the startling revelation that there is in fact still such a thing as “the ministerial code”, Zahawi should take heart: if Sunak’s treatment of previous codebreaker Suella Braverman is any sort of precedent, Nadhim should be right back in his old job within a week or two.


Scarcely a week goes by without another nugget of whatever the opposite of wisdom is from Lee Anderson, enthusiastic rentabombshell and thickest brick in the “red wall” (unless you count Jonathan “serves the little buggers right” Gullis). Last week, during a particularly edifying WhatsApp exchange between Mr Anderson and some equally delightful fellow Tory MPs, all trying to out-nasty each other on the subject of the refugee boats, 30p Lee compared the floundering administration to “the band on the Titanic”.

It’s a vivid image, certainly, but unfortunately, this comparison would only really work if the band on the Titanic had previously seized control of the vessel and deliberately steered it into the iceberg. Also, given the prestige of the maiden voyage of the flagship of the White Star Line, one imagines that the musicians on the Titanic were carefully chosen professionals who were extremely good at their jobs. That’s where the analogy really falls apart, I’m afraid.


I’ve seen some great front pages
On the papers through the years
Words that made me seethe with rage
Or brought me close to tears
But I’ve never seen an image
As bizarre or just plain daft
As the one that graced the cover
Of last Saturday’s Telegraph

“The photograph that clears the Duke”
The banner headline shouted
Like they’d saved the Royal Family
From shame, no doubt about it
Two people fully clothed and masked
Crammed into a bath
This was the front-page story
Of Saturday’s Telegraph

“The photo proves his innocence!”
The story then reported
“For in a tub so small, the Prince
Could never have cavorted”
The public stared in disbelief
Then answered with a shrug
“I dunno, looks like there’s room”
“It’s certainly quite snug”
Who signed off on this idiocy?

Who thought it wise and proper
To fill this organ’s frontispiece
With such a crass jaw-dropper
Were we supposed to think “of course!”
Or do anything but laugh
At the clothed and masked-up bathers
On Saturday’s Telegraph

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