Don’t you just love politics? It is hard to believe now, but there was actually a time when broadcasting of political affairs seemed boring and intangible to the common citizen. The names were all very forgettable, they all spoke the same, looked the same, and they were all impossibly out of reach, wrapped up in an impregnable Whitehall, elitist bubble.
Add a dash of Brexit, sprinkling of election fever, and top with some sexual harassment zest, however, and what you’re left with is the soap opera-esque catastrophic masterpiece that is British politics at this current moment in time.
One can only feel sorry for Theresa May who, after taking over from David Cameron following the EU referendum vote, must have thought that her toughest job would be steering the UK into a European-less utopia by negotiating with the beasts of Brussels. Little did she know that the biggest fire she’d be fighting would be within her own four walls, on her own patch.
Voting for the Conservatives was supposed to be a vote for strong and stable leadership, and a party that were a safe pair of hands. Since Mrs May gambled her majority in the summer though, that slogan has been used as a stick to bash the Tories with, as the reality has resulted in the furthest thing from stability.
Not too long after getting into bed with the anti-abortion and homophobic DUP, it was time for Mrs May to showcase why we had made the right decision to back her in June’s election and why we were right to choose the Conservatives as the party to lead us to a successful Brexit. Too bad then that May was suddenly overcome by a coughing fit that could only have been caused by the plague, a comedian handing her a fake p45 and giving BoJo the thumbs up, as well as letters of her slogan collapsing from the wall behind her. No matter, things couldn’t get any worse.
Fast forward to today and May is defending so many attacks from multiple angles that you would’ve thought you were watching a football match at Turf Moor. In one corner you’ve got Sir Michael Fallon, the now former Secretary of State for the Ministry of Defence. A widely respected MP and Tory heavyweight, it was with some surprise that Fallon was caught up in the sexual harassment hurricane that swirls around Westminster at present. A touch of a knee, a lunge for a kiss, and a lewd comment later, and Fallon was scribbling his resignation letter.
Theresa had barely put a new bum on the seat before she was called to another incident elsewhere in her party. Here it had come to light that Secretary of State for the Department for International Development, Priti Patel, had been having sly meetings with government officials in Israel whilst on “holiday”. Forced to come clean, Patel apologised to May for the meeting and for her negligence in not informing the Foreign Office. Not wanting to face yet another reshuffle, May slapped Priti on the wrist (figuratively, of course) and sent her on her way. On her way to Uganda in fact. Before the plane had even landed, however, Patel had been ordered back to Downing Street, as it was revealed that there were more secret meetings Patel had been dishonest about. As the camera crews assembled around no.10, Priti was the next minister to spin through the revolving cabinet door.
In the background also you have fan favourite Boris Johnson, who has landed himself in hot water over reckless comments he had given (which, really, should be of no surprise to anybody). Johnson, commenting on a British national’s imprisonment in Iran said, “she was just there to teach people journalism”. A relatively harmless statement on the face of it. However, adding in the fact that she has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for propaganda and allegedly plotting to topple the Iranian regime after she had (and always has) insisted that she was in the country on holiday, and Johnson’s “slip of the tongue” seems embarrassingly more costly. So costly in fact, the Iran courts are considering slapping another five years on to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sentence. No wonder then that Boris has faced calls to hastily follow Fallon and Patel out the door.
And last but definitely not least, neither in scale or embarrassment, is Theresa’s deputy Damian Green who, of all things, is caught up in a pornography scandal after it was alleged that he had extreme porn on his parliamentary laptop.
All this, along with the heavily redacted sex pest list containing 36 Tory MPs and their sexual indiscretions (including serving ministers), is really not what Mrs May needs to be dealing with right now. As all eyes in Europe begin to magnify on the details of the UK’s withdrawal bid, I would be surprised if May even shows up to the negotiating table. Much more likely that she’ll take a few days annual leave to, you know, clear head. It’s been a tough few months and no doubt she’s of the opinion that the Christmas Break can’t come soon enough.