Liz Truss has been beaten by a blond wig wearing lettuce in a contest to find out which would last longest. As the prime minister took to the lecturn outside No 10 today to announce her inevitable exit from Downing Street, more than 20,000 viewers were live-streaming the historic moment, immortalised on YouTube by the (plastic) crowning of a victorious lettuce.
One of them may well have been none other than former disgraced prime minister Boris Johnson, logging-on to the Daily Star’s live webcam feed of a 60p lettuce from his Caribbean holiday bolthole.
Because while MPs, despite the chaos caused by Truss, have been working at Westminster for constituents ravaged by myriad crises engulfing the country, Johnson has been sunning himself, and possibly watching YouTube, in the Caribbean, having hoovered up a $150,000 fee for a speech at the debut of his US stand-up tour.
Johnson may have popped his own cork when on YouTube the champagne started flowing to celebrate the lettuce’s longevity over that of his successor. And, being a man such as he, he would have definitely got up on his feet as soon as the national anthem started playing. Even if he did lie to the now-dead Queen.
It would have been mid-morning in the Caribbean when Truss stepped out as PM for the last time to tell the world she was leaving. Plenty late enough then to have imbibed one or two, and still early enough for three or four more for a hedonist such as Johnson whose love of partying isn’t just legendary, it’s actually criminal.
‘The lettuce is I!’
And what else would a disgraced former prime minister on a tropical holiday, especially if they’re a pretentious narcissist with a Cincinnatus-complex, be doing other than watching a live stream of a blond wig wearing iceberg lettuce being crowned for outlasting a PM?
It would not be hard to see how a man like he could not fail to see his own glorious destiny played out in the victory streamed live on YouTube today. With bubbly flowing, God Save the King blaring, and a wilting blond crowned victor, a bleary-eyed Johnson lost in deep reverie, probably murmured. “I am the lettuce, the King is I.” Though less of the wilting please.
He may have even shouted it into the tops of the coconut trees on his Caribbean island, with a, “Finally! Me! Rex Mundi! I’m King of the World!” and a “muaahaha” like the best Bond villain.
Perhaps Carrie quick-snapped him out of his trance because almost before the vanquished Truss had stepped back through the famous black door, the Times was reporting that Johnson was throwing his hat into the ring to replace her.
‘Bring-back-Boris’ supporters are beyond themselves with excitement and cock-a-hoop that Boris ‘BigDog’ Johnson is (getting someone else to) pack his suitcase so he can make a heroic return this weekend to reclaim the keys to No 10. Their messiah, their election winner, their liar-in-chief will, the BBBs – and more than a few Tory MPs – believe, unite the party and lead them all, finally, into the sunlit uplands as prophesised on the side of a big red Brexit bus.
Johnson 2.0 will be back, re-booted (not refurbished) and with his most forlorn-forgive-me-puppy-eyes and unkempt-lost-boy-needing-mothering schtick to try and con the hearts, the minds and votes of a hypnotized electorate. He’ll win again and save their jobs, the BBBs and MPs believe. Because Tory MPs have mortgages to pay too and despite their antics, or rather because of them, we’re in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
More Tory MPs have come forward to emote their support for the BBB campaign, including Michael Fabricant (who may have also briefly believed he was the blond wig-wearing lettuce). And Nadine Dorries, too.
As outlandish as it sounds, Johnson could actually make it through to the first round of voting, such is the shameless, unquenchable Tory thirst for power.
Nominations are open until 2pm Monday when candidates will have to prove they have the support of at least 100 Conservative MPs. As such, there will be a maximum of three –the bookies favourites are Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Johnson – facing off in a vote to decide the final two. If no clear winner emerges, MPs will hold an indicative vote to show which candidate they favour. The two names will then go to 200,000 Conservative party members – many of whom are rabid BBBs – to decide in an online ballot who the next PM will be. (It is worth remembering that the Conservative party was warned by GCHQ about the safety and security of an online vote in the last leadership election because of the risk that the prime minister of the UK could be decided by hackers.)
The result will be announced on Friday, October 28. The leadership race that put Truss in No 10 took longer than she managed to last as PM. Her 44 days – around a quarter of which were taken up by national mourning for the queen when politics was paused – makes her the shortest serving prime minister in UK history.
It guarantees Truss’s legacy will amount to little more than being an answer to a pub quiz question. But for how long?
Because should Johnson triumph and be back in No 10 as PM by the end of next week, how long will he be able to last? Never mind a January 2025 general election, Johnson’s imminent appearance next month before a parliamnetary committee – to answer charges of misleading parliament – could finally send him from the political stage forever. He could be gone even quicker than Truss.
It’s a big “could” though. Johnson’s called the Greased Piglet for a reason (and it’s not just about snouts and troughs).
This truly bizarre scenario – like all those post-Brexit – has been brought to the country courtesy of the party that believes it is born to rule the country. It is something so surreal, so whacked out and truly peculiar that it suggests Monty Python’s Flying Circus was actually a documentary.
As such, it is way past time for something completely different.