While the British news media covered the departure of Boris Johnson and the arrival of Liz Truss, it was actually Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning who presented a more definitive picture of Tory misrule.
In the wheel of fortune in their “Spin To Win” game, the winner could have their energy bill paid. Yes, Boris and his Brexiters had attacked old Blighty so badly that having someone else pay your electricity bill had now become a price as attractive as a holiday to Las Vegas – something you were only granted if you were lucky.
Even the Russians laughed at it, their state television mocking the British for their desperation at Russia’s gas supply lockdown – although it wasn’t the first time in recent weeks that a national scandal has crystallized on the televised entertainment show.
When Liz Truss pulled out of a BBC interview with Nick Robinson during her leadership campaign, he finally poured his heart out to BBC1 The One Show, co-presented by (our) Ronan Keating. More in sorrow than anger, Robinson lamented the general reluctance of politicians to be scrutinized, but refrained from suggesting that those “politicians” were in fact Tories – before Truss canceled Robinson, there was Johnson, the Andrew gave Neil the way out.
Nor has Robinson placed this within the broader framework of the Tories’ relentless corruption of the media and of the democratic process in general – which he could have done. Instead, as he chopped in his oily style, there was that deeply sobering moment when it became apparent Britain could no longer rely on the likes of him to protect the public interest. Now only Ronan Keating was left.
After all, Schofield and Willoughby had long ago made their own contribution to the UK’s downfall when they snapped an exuberant selfie with Boris Johnson after interviewing him This morning. They have been criticized for this, in contrast to their relentless pursuit of Jeremy Corbyn; In her defense, it could have been said that it would have taken more than a selfie to get Corbs over the line. But it was a shame anyway – and if it resulted in the last shred of democratic accountability resting in the personality of Ronan Keating, so be it.
Last week, as the light entertainers made someone’s electric bill dream come true, Johnson was still delighting the county barbarians by interspersing a few lines about Cincinnatus into an otherwise dishonest farewell speech — he loves that bit of classical music, they say.
Of course, the political correspondents let him have his day, perhaps because they felt he was actually deeply affected, not just by the agony of having to hand over the tattered remains of Britain to Truss, who doesn’t love the bit of classical music. But because she started with a gambit that he would have liked to have made himself.
When she put Jacob Rees-Mogg in charge of climate policy, it must have almost broken Johnson. Yes, that was probably the moment when everything became too much for him and he cried bitterly to himself. How had he missed that? How could he have failed to indulge in this ultimate act of mockery, cynicism, flagship crime?
It was quite a statement from the trusser – on day one she did something Johnson himself almost felt ashamed of.
But that’s not the start of anything: it’s all over for the UK now. Within about a decade it was destroyed by the likes of Johnson and Truss. For them, the main issue will be how much more public space can be plundered by Conservative Party owners and coaches.
It’s not just that they’re bad people – there are always bad people, but it takes a different energy to give them the dominance they had in Brexit Britain. Nationalism is that energy, and it wasn’t just propagated by the usual suspects, social media.
So has the mainstream media, in the openly corrupt Tory papers and the capitulation of public broadcasters. Nigel Farage, who was never an MP, was a guest on BBC1 question time more than 30 times. Imagine for a moment if the acclaimed union leader Mick Lynch had been on this program 30 times – it would be claimed with great vehemence and indeed with complete justification that the BBC is run by a bunch of leftists taking their orders direct from the Kremlin receive. Although a novel development, some of the more enthusiastic Brexiters got their orders from this source, at least indirectly.
Nationalism – it has turned Britain into a self-sanctioning country. And, by the way, it can do the same to us in the blink of an eye.
If you spin the wheel, baby, you lose.
Get an idea of when the Office of Gambling Control will start work
It happens… it really happens. Well, it’s coming soon. Next year probably, but still… it’s happening when some of us were rightly wondering if it would ever happen.
Anne Marie Caulfield, a senior civil servant with extensive experience, has been appointed CEO-designate of Ireland’s gambling regulator, which Junior Justice Secretary James Browne has said is due to start work next year.
It’s going to be a nice 10 years since the 2013 bill that gave us a glimpse of how the world works: how slowly the big wheels can turn. Some of us, for example, have never been able to accept why it takes so long, for example, for a football agent to negotiate a Premier League player’s contract. If it were us, we’d charge a hundred grand more a week, the club would offer 50, and we’d shake hands at 75 in time for lunch. Sorted.
Unfortunately, it can take an entire season just to get them all in the room.
Furthermore, if you think that the government can build many houses very quickly because there is a great social need for it, the history of gambling legislation is always there to remind you that it is more complicated. For reasons you’ll never really understand.
If anything, gambling has been a pressing concern longer than housing. On these pages we have spoken about this urgency in almost every article written on the subject since about five minutes after the invention of online betting.
And yet in 2019, just before Covid, we heard that it could take 18 months to set up a fully functioning regulator. In my naivety I thought that sounded like a long time. Especially since the UK already had one that we could copy.
We learn that Ms Caulfield was appointed after an open international competition – which is good in some ways. And yet, when an entire generation is being lured into addiction on a day-to-day basis, haven’t they just cast this obviously qualified person in the role?
Still, I’m willing to overlook all of that because they actually do this thing. I’ll let you know how it works in… oh, let’s get it started for 2033.
Literary types need to read the room a little better
Last Sunday we argued that the authors of literary fiction have largely withdrawn from the public eye and into the university cloister.
Then there was some surprise later in the week when when announcing the Booker Prize shortlist – which includes the excellent Claire Keegan (pictured below) – Gaby Wood sounded apparently amused at the idea of a school lunch attendant and a steelworker being members of a book could be association.
Wood was pilloried, perhaps wrongly; She was perhaps amazed that the Booker would be of interest to anyone working on anything other than writing and teaching literary fiction.
These people are not out there like Marty Morrissey – we have to make concessions.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/phillip-schofield-and-holly-willoughbys-wheel-of-fortune-is-spinning-in-reverse-for-britain-41979587.html Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby’s wheel of fortune is spinning backwards for Britain