Welcome to a new three-dimensional shape: the fiascoid.
It’s a dodecahedron fused to a dunce’s cone balanced on top of dog mess, recognisable to the public as Boris Johnson’s current Downing Street operation.
Not everything that No 10 touches turns into disaster. Far from it. But the last six weeks have felt that way. The sleaze fiasco, the botched rail announcement for the North of England, the offensive speech to business leaders at a time of national economic crisis, and now the public anger over Downing Street’s lockdown-busting Christmas party last year.
The own goals are so stupid, the competence so obviously below the level required, that Tory MPs are coming to the conclusion that it is not tolerable for much longer.
The Prime Minister is currently fighting on three fronts – and that’s
on top of the ongoing grapple with Covid-19, attempts to reboot the economy, and the newborn daughter who arrived safely on
No 10 media advisers who have just spent nine days denying that a Downing Street Christmas party took place were actually … at the party.
The PM’s director of communications Jack Doyle even made a speech and handed out awards there, ITV News reported last night. Send for Clouseau, or for the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case at least.
Mr Johnson’s support among Tory MPs is highly transactional, and based on his Brexit victory – he has not built strong personal allegiances during years in the trenches. This leaves him more exposed when the mood changes.
Neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss will make a move against the
PM, although their supporters are on manoeuvres.
His position is more perilous than it has ever been, but he retains a majority of 79, no general election is imminent – and if he and his officials can avoid needless blunders they will buy themselves some time to recover.
Conservative MPs wonder if that is too much to ask.