Tthings were even worse than they looked. Liz Truss looked positively shredded in the limelight ahead of the Prime Minister’s questions. Someone from number 10 had told her she was up for promotion in the impending reshuffle. Uselessness was clearly a highly prized commodity in a Boris Johnson government. No one could copy and paste an existing trade agreement and rename it as a new one quite like Truss. Notably because she sincerely believed that she had accomplished something remarkable.
At first, Priti Patel didn’t look so relaxed. But that was because she had taken Home Office’s Boris description of turning the UK into “Saudi Arabia of criminal policy” as a sign the PM thought she was letting go of crime. It had taken a while to convince Rishi Sunak, who was sitting next to her, that Boris had actually taken the remarks as a compliment. “Everything will be fine,” the chancellor had said. “You cannot be weaker than the Secretary of Health who thinks you cannot eliminate Covid from your friends and the Prime Minister really appreciates the fact that you are as vicious as you are useless. “
It is the absences that are the most revealing. No Gavin “Pike Pike” Williamson. No Robert “Honest Bob” Jenrick. No Dominic “Psycho” Raab. Telling Gavin to “go away and shut up” had turned out to be a little more difficult than Boris had expected. Mainly because Williamson had been convinced that he had been secretary of education in the first place. Johnson must have walked through his accomplishments – his “transformational reforms” – incomparably aggravating everything he came into contact with.
“So you fire me,” Gav had said at last, before bursting into tears. “But what about everything I have done to help you become the leader of the Conservative Party? Doesn’t that count for anything?
“You are even dumber than I thought,” replied Johnson. “The only thing everyone knows about me is that I invariably let people down. So surely you should expect to be fired.
Robert Buckland had just been collateral damage. Boris had asked Robert to come to his parliamentary office, expecting Jenrick to come. But once Buckland had walked through the door by mistake, it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. “No hard feelings, Robert,” Johnson had said, “but it would be very helpful to have someone else do your job. So even if you’re no worse than some of the deadbeats I keep promoting, I’m going to have to ask you to clear your desk.
Ten minutes later, Boris had regained Robert’s right and gave Jenrick his marching orders. The housing secretary had initially been curious as to why he was being dumped simply because he was desperate when he could have been fired months ago for illegally approving a planning request that would have allowed the ex-pornographer and Tory Dirty Des £ 45million donor. Johnson just shrugged. This is how he drove. Jenrick could once again become the nothingness he was born to be.
Getting Raab out of the Foreign Office had proven to be the most difficult of all. For some reason, Dom wasn’t too keen on ending up in a crap stream without a paddleboard. Especially when the sea was closed. The vein in his forehead throbbed. There are reportedly several unidentified corpses found in the Thames in the coming days.
“I can’t say it more clearly than that,” Boris explained. “Conservative MPs are furious with the way we have handled the chaos in Afghanistan and they want a scalp. So it is you or I who must take the blame. And after a nanosecond of thought, I’m here to tell you that you’ve drawn the short straw. But on the bright side, you will be demoted to the post of Secretary of Justice and you will receive the totally meaningless title of Deputy Prime Minister. “
Naming the new cabinet ministers had been a lot more fun. Truss had been surprised to learn that she was going to be the new foreign minister. Although she wasn’t as surprised as the rest of the country, as she could barely place the UK on a map.
Michael Gove must have been warned not to take drugs and become the new housing secretary. “You will also be responsible for leveling up, whatever it is,” Boris observed. In response, the governor asked if it was still acceptable to block affordable housing in his own constituency. As for Nadine Dorries as Culture Secretary, it seemed like a good laugh at the time, but even Johnson was starting to have doubts.
“The point is,” Carrie said over a takeout pizza in Apartment # 10 later that evening, “you seem to have achieved the impossible. You’ve found people who are more spectacularly shitty than Williamson and Raab. and gave them a job. Imagine a world where there is no one better to be a secretary of transportation than Grant Shapps. The cabinet is in an even worse shape now than it was this morning.
Boris shrugged his shoulders. He could only play the cards that had been dealt to him. The Conservative Party’s gene pool of talent was at its lowest. After all, how could someone like him become its leader? Still, there was an advantage. Everyone was so focused on the reshuffle they seemed to have forgotten that he just got his ass put his ass back on a plate by Keir Starmer at PMQ over universal credit. You gain a little, you lose a little.