The problem with having to file copy over a week in advance of publication day means that sometimes what I write in this column can be superseded by events. So, I have to choose between voicing outdated opinions or making wild speculative predictions. Or both. So, I’m going with the wildly speculative this time around.
By the time you read this, Matt Hancock will have resigned or been handed his P45. And the very minute I typed that sentence, he had quit. I fully expected him to still be hanging on by his fingertips, still receiving Johnson’s full backing, with the PM doubtless trotting out his familiar mantra that ‘the matter is now closed’.
Hancock had already survived several scandals that would have prompted any politician with integrity to fall on their sword. Let’s recall: from the utter failure to source enough PPE for the NHS, to the abysmal fiasco of track and trace, to over 125,000 deaths on his watch as Health Secretary, to the doling out of government contacts to friends and family members. Somehow, he managed to survive, like a cockroach emerging from the rubble of a nuclear war. And, if we are to believe Dominic Cummings, Johnson reckoned back in March 2020 that Hancock was ‘fucking useless’.
So having screwed over the whole country, it should come as no surprise that Hancock would end up screwing his aide. Of course, the sexual relationship is not the scandal that it used to be – certainly not in the post-pandemic world. The scandal was that he breached guidelines for social distancing in the workplace. And I admit I actually have some sympathy for the ‘poor man’, as the Queen calls him. It must be bloody difficult shagging a work colleague while staying two metres apart. After all, Matt Hancock may be a massive prick, but that doesn’t mean that he has one of similar size.
So, why was Johnson so keen to stand by him? I’m guessing the PM was worried that if he sacked the Health Secretary, there could be a domino effect and he himself could be the next to go. In the words of the old joke, he is scared that his government could end up being like a piece of Ikea furniture: one loose screw and the whole cabinet falls down.
Basically, the whole scandal could have been averted if Matt Hancock had changed his last name to ‘Handjob’ and kept his cock in his pants until 21 June, when all restrictions were to be lifted, and it would be completely legal to get your end away in the broom cupboard or on top of the photocopier. However, as it turned out Freedom Day was postponed until 19 July, so I guess the ‘poor man’ just couldn’t hold out for that extra month.
The relaxing of all restrictions in England may have been put back by four weeks, but it appears no-one told the Tartan Army about this. We all saw the scenes on our TVs of Scotland fans flooding the streets of London, packed like sardines onto EasyJet flights, drinking the city dry and then buying massive carry-outs in the hope they might see the game despite having neither tickets to Wembley nor guaranteed seats to watch it on telly in a pub. The impromptu street parties, celebrated a nil-nil draw as the greatest victory in Scotland’s history.
Sadly, after that 23-year wait, the dream ended in the same predictable disappointment. All Scotland is going to take away from the Euros is a potential new strain of the virus caused by 20,000 idiots getting pissed, hugging each other and generally behaving like, er, football fans. Watch out for ‘The Wembley Variant’ or ‘The Gamma Variant Thought to Have Originated at Kings Cross Station’.
Malta and The Balearic Islands were added to the UK’s Green List at the end of June. However, after floods of unvaccinated British tourists descend on these Mediterranean hotspots taking a Greek alphabet’s worth of variants with them, it’s reasonable to assume that infection rates will soar. By the time you read this, the chances are that they will be put back onto the Amber List before most Brits arriving in Mallorca have had enough time to order their first pints of San Miguel.
Of course, by the time you read this, the UK may be at war with Russia – which would prove Boris Johnson’s biggest challenge in office so far. But he has the weapons to deal with. He could put Black Sea resorts onto the Green List, so all the same Brits move their holidays to Sochi. Then a week later move Russia’s status up to Amber, leaving the Russian authorities to deal with thousands of angry, disgruntled, drunk, sunburned Daily Express readers. Or, he could send the newly unemployed Matt Hancock to Moscow as a special health envoy. Sounds like a win-win situation.
Vladimir McTavish will be performing at the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe with his solo show ‘2020 Re-Vision – A Comedy Review of The Year That Was Cancelled’. Time, date and venue to be confirmed. Details will be advertised nearer the time on his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Vlad-McTavish-Comedy