It’s fair to say that prime minister, Boris Johnson, has had a rum week. He has been attacked on all fronts by former MPs and close associates perhaps foolishly cast aside in acrimonious circumstances during the last year.
First off the stops was former defence minister, John Mercer, who accused BoJo of “abandoning the troops” in Northern Ireland, following an ongoing debacle involving veteran British soldiers. Mercer enjoyed slating the prime minister in TV interviews following his forced resignation. A bitter tit for tat between him and 10 Downing Street ensued, aired in gory detail in the British media.
Meanwhile, there was a flurry of excitement over Bojo and girlfriend, Carrie Symonds’s refurbishment of their Downing street apartment. Was it true that a Tory party donor had footed the bill? Did that new environmentally-chic wallpaper really cost £840 a roll? Come on! Why did Carrie hate John Lewis furnishings so much or was it just because Theresa May had chosen them? Was John Lewis posh or just tediously middle-class? Twitter was in a complete tizzy.
Who leaked the story, anyway, and actually while we’re at it, who spilled the beans on private correspondence between Bojo and Sir James Dyson regarding tax breaks for the company if it helped with ventilator manufacture back in the UK? Could it have been that wicked, most malevolent of wizards, that sinister Svengali, the Rasputin of Westminster, churlishly cast aside last year in a spectacularly explosive power battle?
Naturally, I refer to Dominic Cummings, possibly the most psychotic-looking of all advisors ever to set foot in Downing Street. Cummings described BoJo’s actions regarding the flat decoration as “possibly illegal” and questioned his “competence and integrity” as prime minister over the Dyson matter. Ouch and double ouch. These weasel words were devilishly-delivered with every last drop of venom and malice the wizard could muster.
Had the beleaguered prime minister adhered to the old adage ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’ none of this might have come to pass but now the wizard is on a roll (alas, not just of wallpaper). With vigour and a fury straight from the hell of Hades will he continue his steady dismantling of BoJo’s questionable character. It will not end until the vengeful wizard brings down the whole house. Boris had better arm his troops. The wizard means war. As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Persil and smiles
As a nipper, I remember being captivated by those classic Persil washing powder adverts where happy and smiling families wearing exclusively white and spotless clothing larked about in sunny meadows, perma-grins on their faces as they revelled in their perfect, problem-free lives. I was reminded of those vintage adverts when I watched the newly-released, endearingly quaint video celebrating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s decade of marriage.
There the family members were, jumping around sand dunes, cooking marshmallows over an open fire, laughing gaily and smiling cheerily in perfectly-coiffed, spotless attire with not a tomato ketchup stain to be seen. There wasn’t a sniff of a child tantrum or any kind of family discord. Good for them. This idealised cameo of the Cambridges off-duty lives might seem ludicrously out of touch with reality for the majority of Britons but if they can still hold the dream, I applaud them.
Of course most families would have had bawling, squabbling kids on those sand dunes, tempers would have been frayed over who got the bigger marshmallow, fingers would have been burnt on that open fire and clothes would have appeared rumpled and covered in stains. The smiling and hand-holding and chasing around bushes might happen in Persil-land but would rarely occur in every day life.
Cynicism aside, I am no critic of this happy and balanced family that has done so much to support the Queen during an utterly hellish year. Unlike the ingrates on the other side of the pond, this couple has proven utterly loyal, unselfish and devoted to one another and Royal duty.
Both Kate Middleton and Prince William have served crown and country humbly and without ostentation, and within the confines of the royal system, valiantly tried to ensure that their children lead relatively normal lives. They often wear high street brands and really try hard to normalise themselves in order to relate to the British public. This is no mean feat and they deserve our admiration and respect.
My hero of the hour is 20-year-old Nigerian-born Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole who last week selflessly jumped into the River Thames in an attempt to rescue a woman who’d fallen from London Bridge. She was rescued by emergency services as was another selfless passer-by who’d tried to help but poor Folajimi drowned. When I read about his demise, I scrolled through the British press online and found mention of him way down on the list of news.
How sad that we do not habitually honour every day heroes, even those who failed at the bitter end, to achieve their goal. Young Folajimi had his whole life ahead of him and yet he chose to risk it for an unknown person on a cold and dark night in London. I cannot imagine what sorrow his family members must be feeling but I hope that they will find some comfort in carrying his bravery forever in their hearts.
Anna Nicholas’s second Mallorca based crime novel, Haunted Magpie, is available at Universal Bookshop, Portals Nous, from Come In & Llibres Colom in Palma, and at Alameda gift shop in Soller, also at all good UK bookshops & via amazon.