Rose Garden summer sitting, fine wine sipping, road noise stilled by a slowly unwinding lockdown, life must have seemed ‘rather agreeable’ to the Bollinger Boys and Girls relaxing in the summer sun. Genteel conversations, laughs and smiles, smug satisfaction, they’d locked down Christmas and survived, spent billions on useless safety equipment, some through their Kurg Cronies, and survived, spend billions to set up call centres, made announcements to protect the NHS, save lives, and in the summer, hammered holiday hopes. Yet still they topped the polls, life looked and felt pretty darned good.
In the PMs garden, Bollinger BoJo’s best mate Dom (Dom Perry) Cummins pronounced he had driven 270 miles but this didn’t break rules, day tripped to Bowes, but that was a medical, life must have seemed tickety boo, BREXIT was on track, tick, tick, tick. It hadn’t exploded yet. The Vaccines were being rolled out, tick, tick, tick no one will notice the parishioners in the poorest parishes that aren’t bothering to get them. The furlough system had saved jobs, saved employers and there was a plan to make employees pay for it, tick, and Starmer if anyone even knew who he was, was trailing in the dust, BIG TICK.
Life must have seemed pretty darned good, of course we all know, surprised Boris didn’t, there is always a secret life in the office, and the little soiree would be no different. Sipping wines at work, seemingly hidden from prying eyes, secure in a security blanket, confident in summer’s glow, relaxed, content, perhaps complacent, no clouds to worry about.
Matt ‘Nice’ Hancock had actually turned out to have, half a clue on health matters, and although the missing half had proven deadly he had pandemic management down, well by BoJo’s competence test. His memoirs already ghostwritten, ‘The Man Who Saved England from Coronavirus.’’ Nothing could possibly go wrong.
Bojo’s big mate Dom would soon barefacedly face down a nailed-on case of pandemic law breaking, while us masses followed the isolation rules with Gusto. Sly, smug, sneers flitted across lips and fleeted in eyes, as BoJo’s eyes moved across the gangs’ tables’ bottles and glass scattered, food strewn, and fine wine relaxed, it was summertime and hot in the City, cool and chilled BoJo’s rose scented back garden.
Eyes resting, daydreaming, Oxford spires, Eton Mess at Dinner, memories, he’d often hear “wake up boy’ and smell the roses” followed by a clip on the ear, well he’d got the last laugh.
Eton was character making, and - - cough, he’d got his character, and soul there, The buzz, relieved, a bee not a dammed phone, “bloody Cameras should be banned, a word with Justice, new laws…” musings, musings, passing away the moments that make up a dull day, this sun blushed June 2021 day, the roses never smelt as sweet. He’d a new lover, soon to be wife, ok he’d had to convert to Roman Catholicism, anything for love. What the hell, “good joke have to use that later,” after all he’d end-up in the same place, dead. He heard about confession, and well, he’d get a few sins and stuff from re-runs of Father Ted. He’d use those with some doddery other worldly Priest, a few prayers, a few fiddles with a string of beads, he’s done that in seductive foreplay with lovers, and that was it. Oh yeah communion, hope they use a good vintage for that, “cheap wine was just so goddam ghastly”, oops was that a sin, taking the lords name in vain. Bollocks.
“More wine chaps?” Boomed out across the garden, “come on this IS a WORKING LUNCH”, glasses raised, chinked and filled. There was snippets “45% first jab, that’s good ,” zyphered with butterflies, “ha useless Euros can’t sort a vaccine”, “glad we’re not tied to them”, sniggers and collective delighted yelps, “we got BREXIT done!” More glasses raised, no music this is a working lunch, ha, ha, ha.
“You mean I, me, Boris. BORIS got BREXIT done.” Brows scowled , eyes flashed, who was speaking treason? Who was that getting above their station? Who was that threat? A nod to Dom, sat sprawled and confident. A fingered nose, Dom knew what was to be done, trawl the suspects, finger them, press the button and they’re… Well does it even have to be said? Let Sonia Khan’s story be a lesson to them all.
Subterfuge, conspiracy, mistrust, set-ups, Westminster culture, “never give a sucker an even break”, the almost whispered words on Dom’s lips swallowed with a wine, “no too much, can’t afford an A1 police pull and breath, those Yorkies hate us plastic Geordies,” he sloped back, two tables down, his target. Matt (I’m a toon fan) Hancock, mandarin managing, or is that ego massaging, unaware his fate was being sealed, he may not be swimming with the fishes, but he’ll soon be tube travelling again, giving Shapps earache on the services. Dom never trusted him, a threat. All he needed was evidence, and if the rumours were true, he’d ‘ave him.
Matt’s amenable chatter, his mandarins all seemed decent chaps and chapesses, not at all undermining him, they’d done the heavy lifting, watched his back, and dangers from the ‘benchers of the ’22 Committee’ he and all Boris’s Krug Cronies feared them, working in the shadows, the Provos had a public face, Sinn Fein. The ’22 had the ERG, now the equally misnomic GRG Covid Recovery Group, “Head bangers, made Militant look like well meaning Guardian readers.”
Besides, he’d ordered mountains of PPE, faced down a care home crisis, started a vaccine roll out, set up Nightingale Hospitals, okay no staff but… BUT tsunami’s of photo opps for local leaders to glory and bask in, surely that was more than enough. Bojo’s smiles greeted his own, with what he mistook as a respectful nod.
Simon ‘The Fixer’ Case glanced around the mix of slow hands, old heads, and young shoulders, the latter essential for heavy lifting, load bearing, and hiding behind. Head honch Case, foot soldier, consigliore, BoJo’s inside man, Henry VIII had Thomas Cromwell. BoJo, had, . . ashen faced, he realised, “not a good analogy, hadn’t Cromwell lost his head?” Eyebrow stroked, he struggled to remember, wishing he’s paid more attention in seminars.
Like all right hand men, he was just a soldier, well rewarded, perhaps respected, but disposable and he had to watch his back, the summer sweet aroma of the rose garden, hid thorns, random bee stings, summer madness and eye watering hay fever. A child’s tears before bed time, now a minster’s tears before tea time, revelations, reconsiderations, replacements , reshuffles, all part of the job. Glancing at Matt Hancock, what was her name, his ‘Private Parliamentary Secretary’ “private in more senses than one” it’d been a good decision to put her in Matt’s office, an insider in every sense, “wonder how they’re getting on…”
The distant whine of emergency klaxons echoing off the walls, here in PM central that could mean protests and back door exits, at least there were no division bells, bloody nuisance those things,
“Voting, what’s the point, that’s what the whips are for, put a bit of stick about.” Bojo mused, eyes relaxed at the sprawled Krug cronies they knew their place and where they swam in the food chain.
“Glad that ineffective schools’ bod is up country, good whip, but too dangerous with the benchers he’d go native given half the chance” Williamson absent then and absent in schools lockdown debate, “Absent for ever all too soon mate “ BoJo scribbled, pocketed the HoC napkin.
He’d invited ‘Goovey’, a defeated rival, after all he’d seen the Godfather, ‘keep friends close and enemies closer still’. Gove declined “gone fishing he’d said “ “rather have him swimming with the fishes” BoJo pondered “shuffle the pack?”
A dull distant thud, faces turned, colour drained, claxons, phones buzzed, thumps in the air, meant…
A few moments later, er “ladies and gentlemen, there’s a storm forecast, we must retire, leave the stuff, we can continue as before when it passes, or it can be cleaned up later we’ll sort it,”
Simon Case’s staff knew the drill, “clear the people, gather the evidence, secure it for later, “ stroking his chin. “Hmm not all storms pass, some swirl, coalesce, and explode in waves of anger, resentment and collateral damage.”
Ed Balls speculated this was a view from the window of the office terrace at 11, Downing Street.
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]