Shameless criminals are exploiting the plight of desperate asylum seekers for their own ends. Yes, that’s right. Boris Johnson attempted to distract the public from his own transgressions with his hastily announced and arguably unworkable Rwanda Solution. Did you see what I did there? I’m here all week! Try the cake!! But keep it in the Tupperware box!!! Then it isn’t a cake. Schrödinger’s lockdown birthday.
Was Boris Johnson’s Rwanda Solution even meant to be taken seriously? Was it no more real than his garden bridge, his Scotland-Northern Ireland tunnel, his bus-brokered £350m for the NHS, his marital commitments, his late-night promises to help his friend the former fraudster Darius Guppy maim a journalist, his 20-year fabrication of fake stories about Brussels bureaucrats and his personal integrity?
Johnson’s Rwanda Solution is the political equivalent of a distraction theft, but while there may be a certain artistry to the well-crafted street con, Johnson’s Rwanda Solution was just an especially eggy stink bomb, let off in a court room, so he could run away before the jury condemned him. Hours later, Johnson boasts like Billy Bunter about his wizard wheeze behind the closed doors of the 1922 Committee: “I didn’t transport your refugees to Rwanda, Jenkins, and anyway, they smelled horrible.”
But Johnson’s Rwanda Solution did give the Brexit government the opportunity to do what it does best, namely creating new and blameless enemies for the asset-stripped and non-specifically aggrieved British public to hate, Nineteen Eighty-Four-style, instead of them hating Johnson and his shameless cabal of outright liars and thieves as they ought to. In the halcyon days of the Brexit referendum, it was Brussels bureaucrats and Polish builders. Then it was high court judges, that girl with the EU flag costume and Terry Christian. Now it is the Conservatives’ client news-filter the BBC and any holy clerics who objected to the government’s 21st-century attempt at transportation. Rwanda-resistant religious leaders have actually been accused by the government of “virtue-signalling”, an activity that is literally the main point of religious leaders. You may as well criticise lifeboat crews for saving lives at sea, although the Brexit brigade do that as well.
The archbishop of Canterbury told us that God himself would be against Johnson’s Rwanda Solution, which presumably makes Almighty Jah-Jah part of what the Daily Mail describes as the woke “army of leftwing lawyers and naysayers lining up to thwart Boris Johnson’s plan”. If God is on the Conservatives’ blacklist, that may explain why he has not been allowed to miraculously intervene in the Covid pandemic, all the contracts instead going to Tory party donors and a man Matt Handcock met in a pub.
But by Wednesday, Johnson’s wall-spaffed Rwanda Solution was all but spent. It had served its purpose, buying the corrupt Tory party a day or so more of breathing space as the net of incontrovertible evidence of its leader’s undeniable moral bankruptcy tightened a little more. Another dead cat would need to be sacrificed on Carrie’s bloodstained kitchen table to get the government through to the weekend. Spurts of crimson gore spatter on Lulu Lytle’s mysteriously financed wallpaper and the house eunuch, Lord Geidt, sponges them off compliantly with a damp cloth, disposed of in a pedal bin full of non-birthday non-cake.
It was strange trying to assemble this so-called “funny” “column” last week, as the political ground landslipped beneath us. I began it on Tuesday night in a Swindon hotel room overlooking an abandoned building project, after easily the worst gig of my tour. The night had been a disappointing throwback to my apprenticeship as a 90s club comedian, all my energies occupied by moment-to-moment crowd management, forcing me to take on a one-dimensional, high-status standup persona, stripped of nuance. Some stray rectangles of purple ticker tape that had been left in the theatre eaves by the selfish children’s entertainer Mr Tumble (MBE) kept falling down at key moments, sabotaging important lines, even though Tumble himself had already moved on to Hull City Hall. And the persistent and meaningless interjections of an indefatigable yet incoherent woman meant the second hour never reached the escape velocity required to sustain the closing 20 minutes of virtuoso free-jazz comedy soloing, so I had to abandon the show inconclusively. People’s time was wasted. I felt depressed and wondered if it was too late to get a different job.
But on Wednesday night in Kingston, after another day’s drip-feed of Johnson’s duplicity, my closing Nuremberg-style litany of Johnson’s many crimes and misdemeanours suddenly seemed incontrovertible. What was once comic exaggeration coalesced into simple statements of fact. As of the middle of the week, it was undeniable to audiences that Johnson was a criminal and unfit for office, however passive-aggressively Jacob Rees-Mogg might state the opposite. The question was simply whether people were prepared to tolerate it any more. As I parroted my Covid-delayed 2020 routine once more, I realised I had to perform it until the end of August and worried my closing 10 might fall apart somewhat should justice be done and Johnson be deposed or even charged. I am probably the only champagne socialist hoping he clings to power, simply because I have a tight three of real zingers about all his various moral and ethical failings that gets me out of a 150-minute show on a high.
I went back to the hotel to finish this column and realised I had lost my glasses somewhere in Kingston and the laptop screen was a blur. Luckily, I didn’t need them. The truth is written in letters a mile high. It’s up to the electorate if, when they go to the polls, they choose to ignore it because Brexit funny Boris immigration blah wank.