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  Opinion   Columnists  17 Jun 2023  Farrukh Dhondy | Caesar vs Brutus or Boris vs Rishi? Morality twist to UK power games

Farrukh Dhondy | Caesar vs Brutus or Boris vs Rishi? Morality twist to UK power games

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Jun 17, 2023, 12:22 am IST
Updated : Jun 17, 2023, 12:22 am IST

BoJo read the graffiti on the wall and resigned his seat before the judgment and penalty were announced.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (Photo: AP)
 British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (Photo: AP)

“O Bachchoo are you a thousand tortured souls?

Or do you feel every emotion is walking on red-hot coals?

Why have you become indulgent in self-pity?

The last survivor in the devastated, abandoned city?

O Bachchoo realise your life itself is a gift

And set this self-indulgent egotism adrift

The day dawns, the sun is in the sky

The world is what it is, so why ask why?”

From The Laments of High Mary Leigh-Leigh, Tr. by Bachchoo

Modifying Shakespeare’s plots may be sacrilege, but suppose, just suppose, that Brutus, having murdered Caesar, replaces him and disposes in various ways of the Mark Antonys who are Caesar’s advocates. End of JC Part I.

As in Shakespeare’s histories a second part, another play, is added. JC Part II begins with a surprise. Caesar is not dead. He was, to adopt an Americanism, playing possum. The several Mark Antonys may have been temporarily dispensed with and sent to Egypt to make love to Cleopatra, but they are now back and plotting the demise of Brutus and his replacement by the phoenix from the flames… you got it!

Here endeth the allegory.

Regular readers of this column (don’t get presumptuous --Ed) will have guessed that the sacrilegious rewriting of Shakespeare is a way of entering the continuing saga of BoJo – Boris Johnson -- and Hedgie -- Rishi Sunak. BoJo’s followers, as stubborn as the Trumpees, claim that Hedgie was ambitious and that it was a grievous fault which must be answered grievously.

The flame from which this phoenix will arise is the chaos in the Tory party, to which my reaction, gentle reader is “Ha, ha, ha… etc”, and “what does one expect from opportunistic, vicious, self-seeking, dishonest clowns?” I could use other adjectives, but in the interests of stylistic excellence… Oh, okay, just two more “corrupt” and “nepotistic”.

History will record that Liz Truss’ 49 days as PM were the most chaotic, but that was really a sideshow. The Hedgie-BoJo shenanigans are at the centre of this pathetic soap opera.

The latest incident is the quarrel over BoJo’s resignation honours list: Retiring Prime Ministers are entitled to award “honours” to people of their choice, making them Lords, Dames, Baronesses, Knights and offer them “Orders of” or “Memberships of” the “British Empire”.

The list of nominees then goes to a committee called the House of Lords Approval Committee (HoLAC). It does what its name says.

In the present circumstances, it rejected several of BoJo’s incestuous and crony nomination. Some say eight nominations were rejected, including BoJo’s attempt to give his father, a known wife-beater, a peerage, having already created his brother a lord. I have no evidence for it, but perhaps two of the blocked nominees were BoJo’s wife Carrie Antoinette and his pet dog.

This is not far-fetched speculation. BoJo also nominated for honours his specific and hopeless chamchas, including Priti “Clueless” Patel and the Regency-era pomposity, Jacob Rees-Mogg. Also on his list were the crooked civil servants who helped him hold illegal parties at No. 10 Downing Street when his government had banned such gatherings. The shamelessness would make Iago blush.

While this list of compromised nominees was being discussed by BoJo and Hedgie, another scenario was being enacted. An independent Parliamentary Commons Privileges Committee  has been constituted to investigate BoJo’s statements to Parliament about his gatherings during Covid lockdowns. This committee was about to announce that BoJo had knowingly lied to parliament when he said that no rules against isolation had been transgressed at No. 10 Downing Street gatherings. This announcement would automatically suspend BoJo from Parliament for 90 days and that would entail a by-election in his constituency of Uxbridge, in west London.

BoJo read the graffiti on the wall and resigned his seat before the judgment and penalty were announced. Smart calculation?

Possibly. Together with BoJo’s resignation from Parliament, two of his acolytes, Nadine Dorries and Nigel Adams both announced their resignations as MPs, triggering three byelections to the House of Commons.

These coming by-elections can be seen as a BoJonic strategy. In the local elections in May, the Tories lost 1,060 seats to Labour and other Opposition parties. This result was considered disastrous for Hedgie’s leadership of the Tory party. The results of the three strategically-inflicted byelections will see significant erosions of the Tory vote. In the Uxbridge seat, BoJo’s majority of 7,200 could be easily overturned. The other two seats are in Tory strongholds, and even there, their vote will suffer. The BoJistas calculate that this will damage Hedgie and prove that only BoJo can restore voters’ confidence in the Tory party. They hope the dead Caesar will, as a consequence, be able to gather the support of the nervous Tory MPs and stab Brutus in the front.

Another possibility has surfaced. Let’s put it as questions. Did BoJo resign his seat after his acolyte Nadine Dorries resigned hers, in order to stand in her substantial Tory-majority constituency? Was her reward for that vacancy BoJo’s now blocked nomination of Nadine to the House of Lords? “Mad Nad” now says that she will delay her resignation till she gets answers about why her House of Lords nomination was blocked -- a tactic to embarrass Hedgie on two rather than the same byelection day.

BoJo has now accused Hedgie of breaking an assurance that he would overrule HoLAC’s rejections. Hedgie says he gave no such promise and was asked by BoJo to do something he considered immoral, which he couldn’t do. Oh, the virtue of the clowns!

Tags: rishi sunak british pm, farrukh dhondy, boris johnson