Monday 31 January 2022

The Boris Blitz and what it betokens

 ... aside from the fact that the man is utterly shameless and very desperate indeed, a dangerous combination.

Few who pay any attention whatever to anything other than the lowest form of social meejah output can have missed the Boris Blitz of apologia, stunts, diversionary announcements and other attempts to "regain control of the narrative".  We can confidently expect him to visit a slit trench "somewhere in the Ukraine" shortly.  Sadly, we can also be confident he will spend epic quantities of our money on ill-conceived attention-grabbing policies.

It signals two things worthy of note: one specific and one timeless.

(a) He has some competent advisers.  They may not be in the Cummings class in any particular dimension (recall his extraordinary performance in the Autumn of 2019), but they know the basics of their trade (mostly, Lynton Crosby's Dead Cat** strategy).  And they must be broadly "loyal" because, given their shameful brief, they are advising intelligently and comprehensively.

(b) Government always has the whip-hand - or at least, a whip-hand - because like it or not (and Starmer won't like it at all) it can always set the news agenda and has a truly vast array of levers at its disposal: with a little creativity, even more levers than are obvious.  This is something Mandelson always knew instinctively, and exploited to the full.  Cummings likewise, in that Autumn 2019 campaign (proroguing Parliament!)  However, a surprising number of "experienced" politicians don't.  Probably the total lack of creativity, of course. 

It's why the oft-heard suggestion "this is an Election to lose" is always wrong.  Power, when held in the right hands, is always the right answer.  It's like: who doesn't want choice?

Incidentally, none of the above acknowledges Boris' strongest card, which is that the Energy Crisis buys him guaranteed time - and time is always also of the essence.  Playing for time is a pathetic business, but often the very core of political strategy.

Not even Starmer, I think, wants to be PM until after April ... even though that flies in the face of my dictum above.  Lack of creativity, see.



** Before this Crosby coinage became the generally-accepted nomenclature, I used to think of it as the "Royal Yacht" strategy.  Back in 1997 after the great Blair sweep-to-power, Blair disappeared off for an extended summer hol ... leaving Mandelson in charge (amazing to recall).  Several things started to go wrong rather publicly and embarrassingly - the one I remember specifically was the Millennium Dome project.  So Mandelson announced the Royal Yacht was to be scrapped, and immediately grabbed all the front pages.  So easy - when you realise what's possible. 


Clem said...

If I was Boris' advisor, I'd call for a Scottish referendum in 4 months.

It would certainly change the media narrative, would take the pressure of Boris as the tories wouldn't the distraction of a leadership battle. It would unite the tories behind a single cause.

Plus doing this and winning would hopefully get rid of Sturgeon once and for all.

BlokeInBrum said...

You would think that all the media dahlings would be wise to all of these tricks by now and not be taken in.

What does it say about them that they dance like fools to whatever tune is played.

Unless it's simply because they went to the same schools and Uni's that the great and good went to and they don't want to upset the apple-cart.

It's no wonder that all the real political discourse has now moved over to Youtube and to Podcasts. Shoutout to Rogan.

Nick Drew said...

Clem, that's a truly excellent one. For sheer entertainment value, hard to rival.

(My standby, for decades, has always been "dis-establish the Church of England".)

andrew said...

Not only is it excellent, if the scots vote leave (!) the rest of England has a baked-in Tory majority

Imagine that majority combined with some of the less savoury Tory (well, a lot of the cabinet's) instincts
It will press down on your face

dearieme said...

The UK government would need to set the question, to wit "Do you want your constituency [name] to secede from the United Kingdom?"

Would the Nats really want to be in control of an "independent" nation that consisted only of bits of the Glasgow conurbation and Dundee?

Old Git Carlisle said...

Why have Tories not pointed out that SNP are under police investigation over the possible misdirection of £600,000,

What about the ferry scandal.

A joke going round

Dulux have a new pant called Sue Gray - gives the best possible cover up!

Jan said...

I had a chuckle at that one Clem! Excellent!! Let's hope the advisors are readers of this blog.

Bill Quango MP said...

Boris has arrived in Ukraine.

( now if we can just get Biden to handle the evacuation )

Nick Drew said...

I told you!

No, it'll be the RAF again, all at public expense - Operation Save Big Dog, I think it's called ...

Shiney said...

"The Boris Blitz"

Is that like the "Ballroom Blitz" only not as good....

"And the man in the back said, "Everyone attack"
And it turned into a ballroom blitz
And the girl in the corner said, "Boy I want to warn you"
It'll turn into a ballroom blitz"

AndrewZ said...

"You would think that all the media dahlings would be wise to all of these tricks"

They probably are. But the "tricks" often work because they give the media what it wants. They provide shock-horror headlines, controversy and endless political soap opera. They give the talking hairstyles on TV something to grandstand about. A key part of media management is misdirection, and the easiest way to send the media off in the wrong direction is to feed them something that makes better headlines than what they are currently talking about.

The problem for Johnson is that "PM breaks the oppressive laws he imposed on the rest of us" makes a very good story and a lot of people in the media clearly loathe him, so it's going to be harder than usual to distract them.

Timbo614 said...

@BQ Isn't this the classic "Trouble at home, look abroad" ploy?

Jan said...

Couldn't one of the MSM run a story about how the rules were too draconian so no wonder Downing Street didn't follow them. That would provoke a much more interesting discussion.

Some people would be apoplexic which would lead to a certain amount of schadenfreude for some of us.

Don Cox said...

Apart from Boris, how many other people from Downing Street have been seriously ill with Covid ? Or is he the only one ?

How about his daughter ?


Anonymous said...

I see on Guido that Labour seem to be reining in their people on trans stuff, he shows Wes Streeting cooling his rhetoric on Rosie Duffield. "Wes’s position has transitioned since pollster Deborah Mattinson convinced Starmer to order the Shadow Cabinet to avoid trans ideology issues which repel most ordinary voters, women voters in particular."

That was one of the issues that Dom highlighted in his "advice to Labour" post, when he pointed out that Bill Clinton would have had zero truck with it.

The other issue Dom pointed to was crime. It'll be hard for Labour to swallow that one, because it'll mean banging more people up, but they may end up having to get into it. Remember "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"?

Scrobs. said...

Surely a real commitment to either drastically reduce, or scrap the TV tax would be a near perfect way to grab the headlines?

When Nadine mentioned the sort of 'well, we're - er - freezing the - er - LF' stuff, of course the BBC whinged for ages, but the privately run stations lapped it up!

And when people like Simpson try to say that the BBC isn't state funded, it would mean that better journos than him could gently wheel him away from the limelight and get the meedja exposure!

I really hope Nadine will be in a better place with real support, to carry on her work when Boris has gone, but we must expect the BBC to try every dirty trick in the book!

A week's pension for a poorly run, pompous, uninviting state broadcaster is far too much to pay for pensioners - and me!

Matt said...

You could of course just not watch live TV and therefore not require a TV licence.

Don Cox said...

I haven't watched live TV for twenty years -- the last thing I watched live was the Twin Towers attack. In doctors' waiting rooms I try to find a seat that faces away from the screen.

If there is something really good on BBC TV, it will come out on discs. I have a few natural history sets. You can watch a disc when you want and stop it and start it at any point. But I haven't even watched a disc for a couple of years.

So, no license.


Elby the Beserk said...


We kicked our TV out about 15 years ago when we realised we never watched it. Also resented funding the Propaganda Arm of the Left Liberal elite. Anything you want to watch is out there anyway and I run a VPN that the BBC does not detect so can watch the iPlayer. Which I only ever do to watch footy.

Indeed, I would say half of my adult life has been TVless - when my kids were young we had no TV till they were older. Last thing kids need is screens, and this was well pre-internet.

I did catch a Morecambe & Wise episode recently that Eric's son had found somewhere. A reminder of when the BBC COULD do comedy.

And on Monday I couldn't switch Today off, having put it on for the sports report. Robinson, whose head is so up his own arse it's a wonder he hasn't suffocated was exercising himself on Boris with SUCH glee and relish it left me dumbstruck. Yes, I think Boris must go - he's proved that he is what we all suspected, a congenital liar. that he holds us in contempt, and he IS destroying the country and spending all them money we don't have, our kids don't have, our grandkids won't have and their offspring too they way he has set about spending other people's money. Which ran out long ago.

We now call then the Consocialist Party.

FUBAR doesn't even begin to describe this.

Regardless, it is not meet that the BBC allow Robinson scope to express his personal opinion, through his tone. It was, frankly, repellent.


Looking forward to the new energy pricing. Our neighbour Fred, 85 and an ex-miner spends half his state pension on fuel, and that's before the rise. WTF is he going to do? Starve? Or freeze.

Levelling up. Stick it up your Jacksy, Johnson, and GO.

Scrobs. said...

E the B, you know us, middle England to the core, and we admit that when our dear Maj has departed this mortal coil, the TV tax will be the first to go, but we want to 'be there', before Big Ears gets the job, so we can turn off for good!

You and Lils know that when Blair and Brown were wrecking the country, they almost wrecked Scrobs Inc as well, and seeing how badly this is all turning out for us as OAPS now, gives full credence to your mention of Boris doing roughly the same these days.

BTW, we now have a new dog - Lily! Please tell lils, as I emailed her on her old address I reckon!


Don (You're not from EG are you, 'cos if you are, 'Hi Mate, how are you these days')!

You're right of course, we should have done this years ago, as Lilith and Elby did! The days of bad letters from HMRC, and the sodding banks made us so fearful of more goons from Capita, that we'd rather pay up - for the moment!

Cowardly, probably, so thanks Nick for allowing this outburst!

Anonymous said...

The 70s are back.

Heath thought high inflation would only last two years and then be back steady at the new normal rate of 3.5%. Was 4.7% in 1968. A fairly high year for historic inflation. It wouldn’t be that low again until 1986. And a sustained rate of 2% wasn’t achieved until 1993.

Twenty years into the future we will wish Rish had given us the whole spoonful of horrid medicine now.

Elby the Beserk said...


Will do. As for Crapita, just wrote to them, state that you have no contract with them, and that henceforth you have removed their common law right to access your land. And even if they do knock, they have no legal right to enter
your premises. Did it ages ago, and in fact, we haven't heard from them in years, whereas it used to be a 2 year cycle, ended each pass with a letter from me stating

"You would seem to be implying we are lying. Please put that in writing and our lawyer will be in touch"

Worked every time. Also return any letters to "The Occupier", writing on the envelope

"Not know at this address"

Hours of clean, innocent fun :-)

Scrobs. said...

Thank you Elby!

I'll find a pint of Robinsons and drink your health!