Our US and Canadian readership is now greater than that of the UK, so let me apologise to our North American friends and cousins in advance: from time to time we’ll be publishing a bit of escapism that is more focussed upon British politics than theirs. Which isn’t to say that we’re not riveted by the fortunes of one D. Trump – just rather less qualified to comment.
It’s 2020. For half of the next decade we Brits may well continue to languish in the icy grip of Boris’s rule, dolefully watching our rapid descent into more austerity, the slow erosion of our hard-won civil rights, our pariah country shunned by our semi-sorrowful European neighbours, but favoured by cheerful tourists benefiting from a laughably cheap pound. And so the demise of everything that was ever deemed to be good about Britain.
For some time, ‘Brexit’ has been virtually expunged from the Government’s vocabulary: Boris has ‘got Brexit done’, or so he would have had us believe. But as we approach the final days of the Deal to be Done with the EU (how sad and exclusionary that sounds!) even the most deadbeat and mediocre of the cabinet are dimly aware that, like some unwelcome leitmotif, Brexit has come roaring back. Even we, the somnambulant public, staggering towards a post-Covid economic doom, are aware that yet another something wicked this way comes.
Cabinet morale is low according to my Downing Street source (I can’t reveal names, but let’s just say a disgruntled feline, their position usurped by some upstart mongrel, talked to my cat, who passed it on to me). So the PM has come up with an eponymous morale booster: a light-hearted board game called BORISOPOLY: One Nation Armageddon. Compulsory, weekly play sessions for the 22 cabinet members will be held in the Cabinet Room. Each cabinet member will be allocated £100,000 cash from public funds to join one of the four teams of players seated at four gaming tables with the Borisopoly boards placed thereon. As well as the cash, small silver tokens will be allocated. Employing these they will tear round the board via diminutive Boris buses, top hats, a Candy Bros Knightsbridge tower block or even a symbolic little hedge, the object of the game being to see who can make most money within a time limit.
The best way to do this will be by completely fucking up the United Kingdom: its constitution, economy, and international relations as well as its health, education and transport services, the judiciary, indeed the Union itself, to name just a few gambits. This must all be achieved in the fewest possible moves, whilst spending the least possible cash. Just being lucky with the way the dice fall will not be enough: a certain skill set will need be developed and here the game’s progenitor will provide some generous sporting hints, such as threatening opponents with physical violence (aka The Guppy Gambit) sly charm cunningly mixed with disingenuous buffoonery (aka The Andrew Marr Let-out), shameless lying (aka The Michael Howard Move), aggressive cheating, denial or simply ignoring the rules (aka The Conrad Black Codology or possibly The Cumgate Contrivance) would be helpful, as would a narcissistic bent, a talent for coining powerful bumper-sticker slogans and an ability to quote extensively from Classical literature (aka The Pericles Ploy).
The winner then takes everyone else’s cash (tax-free), rewarding themselves with a five-week holiday in Mustique with partner of choice (but preferably not a House of Commons researcher), paid for by some semi-anonymous Tory grandee. For the most lacklustre performance there will be a mandatory glamping holiday on a remote Argyllshire islet (peak midge season), its location leaked to the media a week before.
Now here’s the thing. Although the only people allowed to play this predictive version of Monopoly will be members of the cabinet and winning all that dosh will be gratifying in the extreme, there’s a serious side to the fun. ‘Advisors’ will be on hand, Cummings-style professionals such as friendly hedge fund managers, retired City, PR and media folk.
A team of top civil servants, handpicked from an ever-shrinking pool by Jacob Rees Mogg will act as referees and adjudicators and monitor each session, taking notes. Analysis will take place to see whether any of the winning stratagems resonate or correlate with a) reality; b) public opinion; c) Telegraph, Mail, Express and Sun readers; d) ongoing Brexit negotiations, etc., etc.. If they do, then an appropriately harmonious policy will be swiftly trotted out and put into effect.
Of course, there’s absolutely no guarantee that whoever takes up the Mustique option will have their job waiting for them on return. Safer for them to eschew such a tempting sundae cherry. From Boris’s point of view, at least, because their absence would enable him to swing the axe with greater ease and subtlety than in the past.
Picture details here.