Nelson's Column: Boris Johnson's No10 has now become the Big Brother house

I’ve tried, honestly I have, but I can’t get my head around reality TV.

It’s misnamed for a start because there’s nothing very real about it.

I wonder how the idea was pitched for locking misfits up in a house or sending them to an Australian penal colony to be released on public whim?

Wormwood Scrubs meets the EU referendum?

I’m a Celebrity: scrubs

Reality shows are designed to make ordinary people behave in extraordinary ways.

Which is what must have happened in our new dictator’s own Big Brother house, formerly known as No10.

In true jungle fashion dad Stanley would be familiar with, I imagine Boris Johnson and creepy-crawly sidekick Dominic Cummings feasting on dead scorpions, sheep testicles and pig’s anus before shoving Parliament up a constitutional black hole.

PM & Cummings: feasting

Because that’s what suspending it for five weeks means, denying the men and women you and I elected a say on our behalf.

Or maybe Johnson and Cummings cackled round a steaming cauldron cooking up eye of newt and toe of frog to concoct this democratic wickedness.

I’ve known Commons Speaker John Bercow for 30 years and neither of us have seen anything like it.

He accuses Messrs Johnson and Cummings of a “constitutional outrage.”

My initial reaction isn’t printable.

Bercow: outraged

Children’s author Philip Pullman was so angry he tweeted: “When I hear the name Boris Johnson the words ‘rope’ and ‘lamppost’ come to mind.”

He later clarified he did not mean the PM needed executing.

But he does need harnessing.

READ  What the rest of the world thinks of Boris Johnson

The Queen’s ill-advised decision to prorogue like this was something even great-great granny Victoria eventually couldn’t stomach.

But there’s little MPs can do except stage a Commons sit-in daring the No10 tyrant to send in the Army to remove them at gunpoint.

Queen: ill-advised

The truth is Brexit has now reached a stage where there is NO satisfactory solution.

Yes, Johnson is right the Irish backstop is unacceptable.

But the EU is also right that as things stand there can’t be a deal without it.

That’s because the EU must – not wishes – but must impose tariffs on goods coming into Ireland and maintain single market rules and without a technological alternative to keep the border open it will have no option but to close it.

It is an irrelevance for Johnson to say Britain wouldn’t do border checks.

Irish border: no solution

As the technology does not currently exist there is only one answer – to put Brexit on hold until it does. If that means postponing it for years then so be it.

Whether you’re a Leaver or Remainer, it’s the one reality which must be grasped in the unreality show that is British politics today.

TV has a hidden a-gender

Jo: leading charge

Last Sunday I was dropped from a TV politics show for not being a woman.

My offer to transition before airtime was not taken entirely seriously by producers.

As so often with political programmes, they couldn’t get the gender balance right so a man had to go. I drew the short straw.

READ  Conservative MP Nick Boles quits party after his soft Brexit plan fails

TV has quotas – male/female, black/white, Asian and so on.

The BBC loved Gordon Brown as PM because his blind eye meant he kept ticking their disability box.

Fewer than one in three MPs are women, not only proportionately less than France, Italy and Spain, but also Cuba, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

And our 32 per cent makes us just four points ahead of Afghanistan.

Yet women are leading the charge against no-deal Brexit – Lib Dem Jo Swinson, Change’s Anna Soubry, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts, Green Caroline Lucas and Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland.

Anna: charging

And I’d have backed them on TV last Sunday had I been a woman.

Let us prey…on Brexiteers

Welby: chair

The Brexit debate has a religious fervour about it so it was only a matter of time before the Archbishop of Canterbury became involved.

Justin Welby accepted an invitation from cross-party MPs to chair a citizens’ forum reconciling warring factions.

He did so as the Remain Alliance met at the C of E’s Church House London HQ on Tuesday while the Brexit Party gathered round the corner in a conference centre which doubles as an evangelical church.

Their Messiah Nigel Farage addressed them under a quotation from John’s Gospel: “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Hallelujah. Five loaves and two fishes for that man.

IDS: butt out

Iain Duncan Smith doesn’t want Welby butting in, saying: “Brexit isn’t a terrible thing which will tear society apart. It’s a political debate, and no more.”

READ  Do Boris Johnson's tax and spending plans add up?

Come again? After all that wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Sugaring the bitter exam pill

Sugar: one O

Disappointed by this summer’s exam results?

Never mind, eh.

Lord Alan Sugar only got one O Level and he’s worth £1.4billion.

Sir Richard Branson has none, and his tidy sum is £3.6billion.

Chequers, mate? No thanks

Johnson: one hour

Boris Johnson asked Tory MPs to Chequers for drinks “with Conservative colleagues” on Friday.

Delighted to attend? No, furious.

Their invites said the party was from 19.00 to 20.00.

And they were reluctant to drive hundreds of miles in some cases for a grudging hour the PM could spare them.

Food, glorious food…by George

Eustice: picking his own

Last Sunday I quoted Food minister George Eustice as saying a no-deal Brexit could cause shortages of fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables.

Not from where he comes from in West Cornwall it won’t.

His family own Trevaskis Farm near Hayle where George can pick his own peas, beans (broad and runner), sweetcorn, apples, cherries, gooseberries, blackberries and plums. Yum.

Meanwhile, he’d condemn the rest of us to rooting around for turnips.


Leave a Reply