BORIS: THE VERY BAD JOKE

This week we got the double up; two overweight blonde bombshells throwing their not inconsiderable weight around the forum set up in the interests of world peace and international harmony. You can safely suppose that Trump, at least, is something of a stranger to the small print in the United Nations handbook.  And that he might struggle with the larger variety.

But let us set aside for the moment the inanity and danger of the US President's bombastic tirade and consider the life and times of the UK Foreign Secretary who, as it happens, has dual citizenship with America. Let us consider the different order of havoc he too has chosen to wreak these past few days. It is, to say the least, unusual for the holder of one of the "great offices" to deliver 4000 words in a national newspaper detailing his own personal vision of the nation's future.

It is, to say the least, unusual for a senior minister to do so a) secure in the knowledge that it contradicts most of his colleagues not even to mention his boss and b) on the eve of the Prime Minister's speech on the British position on Brexit - the most real and present danger affecting every citizen in the nations and regions of the UK. As the europhiliac Kenneth Clarke - one of the few real political heavyweights left in his party - was wont to observe on the airwaves, in normal times instant dismissal would be the reponse of a strong and stable Prime Minister.

What is perfectly usual and normal however is for Boris Johnson's sole and primary calculation to be what is in the best interests of Boris Johnson.  Having portrayed himself as a leading Brexiteer at the time of last year's referendum - despite having assured many colleagues that his convictions lay with the Remain camp - and having been shafted by little Mr Gove in his doomed attempt to stand for the top job thereafter - he has had time to caclulate the best tactic to ressurect an ambition he has apparently held since taking his leave of the cradle.

It is rumoured that at the time he declared for Leave in the same newspaper in June 2016, he had written a matching article arguing the opposite in favour of Remain.  Perhaps he tossed a coin at the time of submission. It is even rumoured that there were two versions of the essay which appeared in last weekend's Telegraph.  No matter. Few people still harbour doubts that he would sell his grandparents for a couple of Euros if he thought them any kind of impediment to his naked ambition.  He is a mobile advert for duplicity as many of  those around him would queue up to testify.

What is at issue here is not his fatally flawed character, but the untold damage he is still capable of doing to the national interest. Having peddled simplistic porkies last year, he found time to recylce them last Sunday, resurrecting the absurd claim that leaving the EU would bring us £350 of weekly additions to NHS funding.  Many people swiftly denounced his cavalier way with the statistics, not least the senior and independent source of them.  Many people pointed out that not only was the headline figure wrong and inflated, but that it took no account of our rebate (copyright Mrs T.) nor that any perceived gains would still require to be spreat around the many gap sites opened up by Brexit - not least agriculture and fishery subsidies and the plethora of infrastructure projects funded at present by Europe. By the time any government covered these losses the NHS would be lucky to get a fresh packet of Elastoplast.

But Boris calculates, probably correctly, that a loud lie shouted at the gallery will gain more traction than carefully compiled rebuttals. And of course the monetary losses from our current membership are but the opening chapters of an upcoming nightmare. The European Union, as too few Remain supporters in the Commons found time to point out, has been a source of social justice, employment rights and environmental protection for decades, not to mention oiling the wheels of trade and industry thanks to the free movement of goods and people. When some of this was pointed out today to fellow Brexit cheerleader Owen Paterson, when he was advised that there are comprehensive fears for things like food supplies as we would have to set up our own border checks on quality post Brexit, he dismissed it all with an airy reference to such trifles being ironed out in negotiations.

These would be the negotiations which seem perennially stalled as the underpowered David Davis and the ludicrous Liam Fox juggle their bits of paper in the hope that one will come up with a route to a settlement. The longer this charade goes on the more fearful we should be about the comprehensive disaster being formulated on the back of a needless poll set up only to quell the right wing weirdos on the Tory back benches.  Well that went well did it not?  One year on and we have a Foreign Secretary bringing scorn and disdain on is office, a Prime Minister too hobbled by her own polling bourach to bring him to heel, and a Tory party where Joseph Rees -Mogg is being canvassed seriously as tomorrow's coming man!

Meanwhile Scotland's government has just published over 100 powers currently ejoyed by our devolved administration which Number Ten wants to bring home to London rather than Edinburgh (or Cardiff) and then decide in its "wisdom" which of these the little people should be entitled to enjoy again.  You will remember, even if Mrs May does not, that the devolution settlement said that all powers not specifically reserved to Westminster were devolved. Diluting a settlement which already, in my view, gives us too limited scope to determine our own destiny, would be a total affront to democracy.

Boris and his madcap chums are not jolly japers. They are serial wreckers. They need chucked overboard before the Brexit boat goes under.