This is the Groundhog Day Government. Another week, another scandal, another minor reshuffle to paper over the cracks. Lessons learned? None. Hope of avoiding repetition? Zilch. Theresa May is doomed to go from one ‘worst week ever’ to another in a horrifying cycle of Tory self-immolation.
It is tempting, because we have a two-party adversarial democracy – to believe that the break in this carousel of chaos will be a new Government. Surely, we sigh, the Opposition will break through? Well, maybe. But there is a unique edge to Corbyn’s Labour that makes such an outcome far from inevitable. One, he shows no sign of pulling decisively ahead – disaster after disaster for the Government fails to upset the balance finally for Labour. Two, unabashed socialism makes Tories cling to Government even more than personal or party ambition. She clings on, her party lets her – they have to because the alternative is terrifying.
Priti Patel is just another casualty in the long, undeclared war in the Conservative Cabinet. This isn’t Brexiteers vs. Remainers; it’s every man and woman for themselves. It’s Reservoir Dogs, not Full Metal Jacket. Why was she freelancing foreign policy? Because no-one has the authority to make her too scared to do so and because she thought (wrongly) that it might help her leadership chances. Why has Boris helped bring her down? Same reason. Likewise a dozen or so side-plots and sub-Machiavellian manoeuvres in recent months. More will come, it is inevitable.
Number 10 has questions to answer too – not least about if (and why) they colluded with the erstwhile International Development Secretary to cover up further assignations with Israeli big-wigs. In normal circumstances the Prime Minister might be able to purchase Patel’s co-operation with the promise of a swift return to Cabinet in a future reshuffle. But why would Priti Patel believe that Theresa May will be in any position to keep such a promise? What is to keep her quiet and friendly in such circumstances?
And so we rumble on. Another week, another reshuffle. Tomorrow is another day. Except, of course, for Theresa May it is not. It will feel very much like today.