“I’ll be glad when you’re gone – you rascal you!”

…and the Prime Minister couldn’t even bring himself to tell people he was resigning.

As David Baddiel noted:

…noting that The Prime Minister did not say: “I am resigning”

My general reaction?

“I’ll be glad when you gone, you rascal, you!
I’ll be glad when you gone, you rascal, you!
When you gone from public life,
We’ll get thru this pain and strife.
I’ll be glad when you gone, you rascal, you!”

An update on “You Rascal You!” by Louis Armstrong and co – pre WWII

Have a dance to this number – the updated version by Tape Five.

Above – from Tape Five’s new album: Both sides fo the moon

One of my favourite electroswing bands – from Germany, a group I discovered while in Austria over 15 years ago. And it turns out that they have another song that could have been written for the now disgraced & soon to be former Prime Minister.

So if anyone can invite them to Cambridge, that would be splendid!

“Whitehall is a jungle, with danger everywhere
And one old cat, a dirty rat does things that just ain’t fair
Now, he’s the king of the swingers! Heh, at least he used to be!
He thinks it’s cool to play the fool and mess with you and me!”

The law of the jungle, is a law of his design / Smooth operator, he breaks the rules ‘most every time / Slimy like a snake, he slides around the scene / His taxpayer-funded bodyguard, his guzzlin’ limousine

By Tape Five – “Bunga Book” from their album “Swing Patrol” – adapted by me
The Speaker’s Revenge

With the resignations flooding in yesterday evening following the exits of the now Former Chancellor and Former Health & Social Care Secretary, the “Resignations per minute” became a new term of measurement. By the time it became clear that the Prime Minister was going to talk about stepping down, over 50 Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Parliamentary Undersecretaries (all Ministers of the Crown), Parliamentary Private Secretaries, and unofficial flunkies (such as ‘trade envoys’ to random countries appointees might have little experience in – but a move that buys loyalty on difficult votes) spoke volumes.

Accordingly, Mr Speaker Hoyle decided to allow two urgent questions that led to ministers being rinsed in Parliament on what is normally. a quiet Thursday. The second of these was about something that was well-known when the Prime Minister was the Foreign Secretary – and demonstrated to the world what a security risk he was. The minister who had to take the hit? The former East of England MEP, and Parliamentary Undersecretary at the Foreign Office, Vicky Ford MP – whose policy responsibilities cover Africa, Latin America, and The Caribbean.

You can watch the grilling that Mrs Ford – who I am acquainted with, here.

Understandably, MPs were furious over the responses that The Minister gave. The problem was that officials, special advisers and Downing Street did not prepare the Minister with the information that MPs were – quite rightly demanding. The Minister can account for herself, but it makes me wonder about the competency of the entire administration that the Prime Minister – and the election campaign he ran – aided and abetted by the print press and parts of the broadcast media, that accountability to Parliament was delegated down from Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, and down to Parliamentary Undersecretary rank.

Even Mr Speaker admonished The Minister Mrs Ford for something that the Prime Minister had dropped her into.

It’s worth noting that the nature of Urgent Questions means that ministers have around 90 minutes notice to get their briefing and advice from officials and advisers before they appear at the despatch box. Which is why they can be such powerful tools for MPs wanting to hold the ministers with policy responsibilities to account. But when something like this happens, it does not work. Something for political and parliamentary reformers to consider when faced with a government of the likes of the soon-to-be-departing Prime Minister.

“Will the minister make a statement on the functioning of Government?”

You can listen to the Paymaster General responding for The Government to the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party here.

“I hate to break it to the Minister, but we don’t have a functioning government.”

Rt Hon. Angela Rayner MP – Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, 07 July 2022

“The Prime Minister should be making this statement about the functioning of government”

Chris Bryant MP (Labour – Rhondda) 07 July 2022

The shambolic state of Parliament following the 50 or so ministerial resignations in around 24 hours was made clear by Rachael Maskell MP (Lab & Co-op, York Central).

“So, what happens next?”

We all protest on Saturday, or wait to see if the Leader of the Opposition will table a motion of confidence which, if he wins, will result in a general election.

“Will this mean we get better politicians?”

Opposition parties have already started selecting candidates. But improving the calibre of people collectively who get to party candidacy stage is easier said than done. The barriers that any would-be politician face have been written up in detail by Isabel Hardman.

Above – Why we get the wrong politicians. (Front cover of the 2nd Ed)

But as we found out today, 24 hours is a very long time in politics. Very long indeed.

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