One of the most critically acclaimed cartoon shorts of all-time is a 1947 Tom and Jerry masterpiece called ‘The Cat Concerto’. It went on to subsequently win an Oscar at the following Academy Award ceremony. The plot centres on Tom, a piano soloist, who plays a rhapsody to a crowd in a theatre. It just so happens Jerry is asleep on top of the hammer felts inside the piano. There then follows 7 minutes of hilarity as Tom and Jerry battle each other. Naturally, Jerry wins. After being bashed around by Tom, Jerry breaks off two hammer felts and pounds the chords with such gusto, Tom can barely keep up. At the end of the cartoon, Tom collapses with exhaustion and the crowd cheer Jerry, who emerges in the spotlight wearing a tuxedo.
Tom’s downfall during the course of that cartoon just sums up brilliantly the reputational collapse of Boris Johnson in the 11 months he’s been an elected Prime Minister. Last December, he was like Tom at the beginning of that cartoon: The audience at his feet cheering on his brilliance. Now, he’s like an exhausted Tom at the finale: Devoid of energy or ideas, flailing around as he chooses to follow events rather than lead them.
For Jerry, read a combination of COVID and a media class that hasn’t been as hostile to any sitting PM since the days of Margaret Thatcher. Like Tom and Jerry here, they have been at war with one another. And like Jerry, the media have just been waiting for an opportunity use a particular circumstance in order to indelibly etch the incompetence of their foe into the minds of a watching public. Last night, after the mother of all U-turns, Boris finally gifted them their prize. No wonder the presenters of Sky News and BBC Breakfasts have faces wreathed in smiles this morning.
We’re going into another lockdown, folks. As winter approaches and the days get barely 7 hours of light, we will once again be largely cut off from our families, our friends and the activities that help keep both our bodies and our minds healthy. The Latin phrase ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ obviously doesn’t mean much to a government willing to allow people to stuff themselves with takeaway kebabs and Big Macs for the next four weeks, but not allow folk like me to lift weights in order to keep fit. It didn’t have to be like this. As holder of the highest political office in the Kingdom, Boris could have continued to strike a balance between personal and economic health, and the rise of COVID. But no! Up pop the Brothers Grim (Vallance and Whitty) and he’s like putty in their hands. Sod the economy; sod people’s fitness; sod people’s mental health; sod jobs; sod livelihoods; sod keeping your word. It’s all about COVID, and for so long as we have one of the lousiest sets of politicians in the Commons (from all parties) we’ve ever known, that’s all it’ll ever be about.
So how does yesterday’s joke of a press conference practically gift the keys of 10 Downing Street to Captain Woke Starmer in 2024? Because, for the first time since this pandemic started, the Leader of the Opposition is seen to be proactive and the PM is seen to be reactive. Thus, whatever the reality, this binary image will now become embedded in a public consciousness aided, as I said, by a stridently anti-Boris and anti-Conservative TV media who’ve been licking their lips in anticipation of last evening’s moment. By being endless campaigners and agitators for lockdown ad infinitum, they effectively snapped off those two hammer felts and pounded them until the PM – bereft of initiative and strategy – just kept pretending to be in control until exhaustion got the better of him. You know, like Tom pretending to play the finale of that Hungarian Rhapsody when all the time it was Jerry banging out the notes! We now live in a country controlled by a government in thrall to media opinion. It’s as simple as that!
This will be my last Alt News Media article for a little while. If I’m going to be plunged into another bout of isolation, I may as well go the whole hog and include social media. But remember this crucial point: Boris now has a credibility factor that is utterly wrecked. I don’t think he can recover from this. I don’t think our slanted media WILL ALLOW him to recover from this. Most importantly of all, I’m not even sure if he deserves to recover from this!
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