"I know you all, and will awhile uphold
The unyoked humour of your idleness.
Yet herein will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wondered at
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him.
If all the year were playing holidays,
To sport would be as tedious as to work;
But when they seldom come, they wished-for come,
And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents.
So, when this loose behaviour I throw off
And pay the debt I never promisèd,
By how much better than my word I am,
By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes;
And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault,
Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes
Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
I’ll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will."
Whilst Keir Starmer’s fan club were swooning on Monday over the Confederation of British Industry’s conference being nice about their idol and all the media attention was on Boris Johnson and Peppa Pig, Michael Gove was on Conservative Party leadership manoeuvres, working the room at the Tory dominated County Council Network.
Gove’s promises to the assembled band of councillors included providing a date for elections for the new Somerset unitary local authority before Christmas, along with devolution “County deals” proposals, too.
He said, “Yes” in reply to a question about whether or not the new planning White Paper would include a requirement for zero carbon homes.
I have solid, practical green credentials, you know, unlike you know who …
To a rumble of (rapturous?) support from the ever more admiring throng, he stated, “We are reviewing the position of Local Enterprise Partnerships. My preference is that powers, including development powers, rest with democratically elected bodies.”
“Call me Mike,” he said charmingly, to an ever more attentive, an ever more appreciative gathering.
They are becoming e’er more like putty in my hands, Gove thought to himself. I am wooing the One Nation Conservatives, the chaps we lost at Chesham and Amersham.
A delegate, falling slowly, but deeply in love with our Mike, asked, “Will the planning White Paper look at the issue of developers wriggling out of infrastructure payments (Section 106 agreements to the cognoscenti) on the grounds of viability concerns?”
“I am aware of this issue,” their new found hero replied. “I will look to see if a viability test can be firmed up.”
He tickled their tummies.
They purred in response.
He thought, I have recruited my whips, if my qualities for the leadership of the party must be tested by the mob, correction, the most intelligent electorate in the world.
If Gove becomes the next Tory Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan’s Night of the Long Knives may well be eclipsed.
Surely, put out of the Cabinet will be the Moggy, Slim, Frosty the Nowhere Man, the Geography Teacher, Madam Whiplash, Nepotism Woman …
“Let me have men about me that are fat, Sambrook like, Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights. Yond finance paper shuffler has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.”
Uriah “It’s a pleasure to work with you, Prime Minister!” Creep will probably be moved sideways.
“Your humble servant, sir!” has been rather captured by his Treasury officials. They get everyone in the end.
Offering the bright, young lad, who married the daughter of his boss, the Home Office would neuter him nicely, whether he accepted the job or not.
Sir Arnold, “Power goes with permanence”.
Sir Humphrey, “Impermanence is impotence”.
Sir Arnold, “And rotation is castration.”
And Dominic Cummings is already yesterday’s man.
I am not so sure as to the likely fate of the South West Norfolk Globetrotter, the Dangerwoman, the Simon Templar, the Alan Whicker of the Cabinet.
Our Woman in a Suitcase.
Have media team, will travel!
“Photo opportunity, you say?”
“Top Gun on a carrier or astride a big bike?”
“My bags are packed, I am ready to go!”
“Pose like Thatcher in a Chieftain tank, in desert sand, you ask?”
“Only as long as you don’t mention Iran!”
Come what may, there will surely ere long be plenty of choice, tasty morsels to dangle before the Young Turks of the Red Wall, Oop North, to garner their votes during a Tory leadership campaign and guarantee their loyalty, thereafter.