why boris johnson was waving a smoked fish around

And other (more pressing) political info on a dark day.

by Marie Le Conte
23 July 2019, 2:36pm

Hello! Welcome back to Political i-Deology! I hope you’ve had a nice fortnight because everything here has been no good, just very very bad. You can probably guess why. If you can’t, it starts with “Boris” and ends with “AAHHHH”.

If anything, not much has happened in the past two weeks, due to one large thing happening, thus not leaving a lot of space for smaller things to happen, so we’ll be keeping the usual format but you will spot a bit of a pattern emerging quite quickly.

[pinches bridge of nose, rubs temples]

Alright, here we go.

One thing that actually mattered

Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. There’s just no way around it; Boris Johnson is here and he is extremely Prime Minister. He won the Conservative leadership contest, because nothing says democracy like four and a half extremely old men deciding who gets to run the country, and now he is in 10 Downing Street.

It isn’t exactly a surprise, to be honest, as no-one ever thought that Jeremy Hunt had a chance in hell of beating him, and in the end Boris won with 66% of the vote, so that is very much that.

By the time you’re reading this, Theresa May is either packing the last of her stuff from No.10, or off her tits on gin in a field of wheat somewhere far from Westminster.

One good thing that happened

Well! Just because Boris Johnson is Prime Minister doesn’t mean he is about to get an easy ride. Do you remember our proroguing chat from the last column (if not, just read it here and we won’t tell anyone)?

Last week, Parliament voted on an amendment put forward by Tory MP Alistair Burt and Labour MP Hilary Benn, which sought to make suspending Parliament to get away with no-deal Brexit a LOT harder. Nerds up and down the country were expecting the vote to be won or lost on the thinnest of margins but the rebels actually won by 41 votes, hahahahahaha.

Still, one word of caution: the amendment didn’t make proroguing Parliament entirely impossible, just a lot harder, and crashing out of the EU with no deal on October 31st is still the default position if politicians can’t agree on another course of action.

That being said, the vote was still an important one because: 1) it showed that there are a lot of MPs in the Commons willing to oppose shady tactics to get a no-deal Brexit, and Boris simply cannot take his (already tiny) majority for granted, and, as previously mentioned, 2) hahahahahahahahaha.

One bad thing that happened

I mean, you know what this is going to be, don’t you? You and I both know what I’m about to say. One bad thing happened in the past fortnight, and it is that Boris Johnson has become Prime Minister.

This is a but a humble recap column so there is no point in trying to go through every bad thing Boris Johnson has said and done since getting into the political spotlight what feels like one hundred years ago, but let it be said that things are about to go to shit.

We don’t quite know what flavour of shit we’re about to get yet, as the only thing Boris believes in is Boris, but given that he is famously egotistical to the point of near mania, awful on detail, shameless and duplicitous, shit is definitely what we’re getting.

If you would like to find out more about Boris as a person and what made him the [squints] person he is today, I wrote this big profile of the Johnson clan for VICE last year. Have fun!

One puzzling thing that happened

This is the last one, promise, but -- Boris Johnson was giving a speech at some Conservative leadership hustings and he got a kipper out (the fish, wrapped in plastic), and he waved it about.

The point he was trying to make was that the EU is bad, as some guy who manufactures kippers on the Isle of Man was “utterly furious” at EU regulations that demand that he must put a little plastic ice pillow on the fish to transport it. He then brandished the fish and wanged on about taking back control, etc. etc., you get the gist.

Anyway, turns out the bit about the little plastic ice pillows was not true as it only applies to fresh fish as opposed to smoked kippers and the bit about the Isle of Man was not true because the Isle of Man is not part of the UK or the EU. But he did a funny thing with a fish he waved in the air so it’s all good. Good old Boris. Wahey.

One person to watch

There was another leadership contest this week! The Liberal Democrats were picking their new leader and they went with Jo Swinson. Given that their last leader was Vince Cable, a mostly dull man as old as time itself, the appointment of an enthusiastic 39-year-old woman is pretty welcome.

We do not know what she is planning to do quite yet, besides trying to stop Brexit, and though she has already been attacked for her record as a minister during the coalition years, she should be a breath of fresh air for the party.

One word worth knowing

“Rent controls” is, once again, two words -- should we just rename this part “phrase” and be done with it? Maybe! -- but at least it has nothing to do with B*r*s J*hns*n.

Anyway -- London mayor Sadiq Khan wants more powers to be devolved to London (and to City Hall), in part because he wants to try and fix the whole private rent sector clusterfuck down in the capital.

One of the proposals would be rent controls, which are already in use in places like Berlin and New York, and would put a cap on the amount of money a landlord can charge tenants for a property.

Given that since 2010, average rents have risen three times as fast as average incomes, this would probably be welcome by a lot of Londoners, but it currently looks unlikely that a Tory government would let him do it. Still, good on him to get people talking.

Boris Johnson
rent control
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