Tories keep Psycho Dom at arm’s length as Angela Rayner goes for jugular
No more Mr Nice Guy. Rishi Sunak has always been keen to project himself as a thoroughly decent bloke. The sort of man even his opponents can trust. Someone who keeps his word. But bit by bit that mask is peeling off. On Wednesday he revealed himself to be an out and out sadist. How else can you explain the decision to leave Dominic “Psycho” Raab in post as his deputy and then skip off to Betty Boothroyd’s funeral, leaving Psycho to step up for prime minister’s questions?
For months now, Psycho has cut a lonely, dejected figure on the government frontbench. Even he has come to realise his political career is as good as over. It’s hard to believe that every bullying allegation against him, coming from at least 24 civil servants, has been fabricated. And it will take some kind of miracle for him to hold his Esher seat at next year’s general election.
So he’s on borrowed time. His colleagues keep him at arm’s length, as if his troubles might be contagious. The backbenches were littered with empty spaces: even Jeremy Hunt lent away from him. He sits alone with his thoughts. The only sign of life, the throbbing vein in his forehead that speaks of imagined injustices against the justice secretary. The anger. Always the anger. It’s all he can do not to rage against the dying of his light. The blackbelt unplugged. A serial killer whose body count is in plain sight.
Labour’s Angela Rayner, standing in for Keir Starmer, didn’t waste time in going for the jugular. She reckoned Raab should know a thing or two about the government’s antisocial behaviour plans given his first-hand experience of thugs and bullies. Did he think more bullies would be brought to justice? Psycho’s eyes went dead as he tried to contain his rage. Hunt couldn’t resist a smile. There will be a reckoning for that later.
All that Raab could manage in reply was that he had never called anyone “scum” before. Maybe not. But there are plenty of people willing to testify that he has treated them as scum. Throwing things and shouting is just all in a day’s work for Psycho Dom. The Tory benches went quiet. They knew their man was holed below the water line from the off. There was no coming back.
It got worse. Rayner switched to 6,000 fewer neighbourhood police officers and a rape charge rate of just 1.6%. And it wasn’t surprising Raab had been left out of the antisocial behaviour launch. Though it must be embarrassing for him to have been dumped for a known coke fiend. Michael Gove looked on blankly. He, too, increasingly seems like a man who is preparing himself for a life outside Westminster. A man not so much on the verge of a midlife crisis as in the middle of one.
Psycho had nothing much to say. There was nothing much he could say. Nor did things improve when Mhairi Black made her debut as SNP deputy leader in Westminster. Did he think Kwasi Kwarteng and Matt Hancock were worth £10k a day from a fictitious company? And what did he think his own value might be? Whatever it was, it was far too much. And getting lower and lower the longer PMQs went on.
By the time he had referred to Paul O’Grady as “Paul Grayson” and mumbled some disobliging comments about “woke comedy” he had lost everyone in the chamber. So much for going out on a high. In what was almost certainly his last ever PMQs, he had shredded what remained of his reputation. Bad enough to be a bully. To be an incompetent bully would be the last straw. He won’t be much missed by anyone. Before long he will be back on the beach, phone off, wondering why the sea was closed.
Related: Dominic Raab is wrong: refugees do not come to the UK for the hotels | Diane Taylor
You’d have thought Suella Braverman would have wanted to give the statement on immigration in person. After all, there is nothing she likes more than giving refugees a hard time. But of late she has declared an omertà on herself in the Commons, refusing to say anything that might be incriminating. As if she can’t trust herself not to go too far and reveal her true self. So she sat on the frontbench while her junior, Robert Jenrick, did the honours.
Jenrick has been on quite the journey. When he first won his Newark constituency in a byelection in 2014 he was a dyed-in-the-wool wet blanket. A rather wet Cameroon with no ideas of his own. It’s still not clear if he has any ideas of his own but he’s suggestible enough to have plenty of Suella’s. The more poisonous the better. Anything to advance his career. He’s that unscrupulous.
Here was the thing. There were just way too many refugees and the only way to combat them was to match whatever the criminal gangs did. Yup, you heard that right. If the gangs broke the law, then so should we. It would just be naive to do anything different. Fight fire with fire. We should not hesitate to drown a few migrants ourselves. Or better still, intern them at the former Dambusters’ airfield and then use them as bouncing bombs in night-time raids over the Ruhr.
Related: Asylum seekers will get the most basic housing possible, says Robert Jenrick
Our problem – and it was a problem – was that we were just too nice. We gave refugees secondhand coats when they arrived. We tried to help them by putting them up in hotels. And now they – almost certainly all rapists, according to Honest Bob, coming over here trying to take advantage of our dreadful conviction rate – were just taking the piss. Some were even deliberately moving to war zones and having babies to tug at our heart strings. But we should resist. And hey! He’d been watching Great Expectations at the weekend and thought that the Victorians had a point. His one worry was that prison hulks might be just too damn comfy.
Weirdly, this was too much for some Tory MPs. Not Jonathan Gullis, of course. He wanted every refugee out of Stoke and dumped somewhere else. He wasn’t bothered where. But even Richard Drax – never normally shy and retiring about sticking it to foreigners – worried that barges might be a little bit much. Jenrick put him right. It was time to relax and get nasty. So what if there weren’t enough shitty beds for refugees. Perhaps they could share them. Sleep in three eight-hour shifts. Breathe deep and release the bigot within.