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Sketch: Boris Johnson has installed a clock to measure his own failure

Sketch: Boris Johnson has installed a clock to measure his own failure

Boris Johnson finds the fact that the UK is still in the EU “painful”. In fact, it’s so painful, he has put up a giant clock, to remind himself of the days, hours, minutes and seconds that constitute his increasing pain.

That’s right. He put up a clock counting down to Brexit. Then he failed to deliver Brexit, and the clock has instead been counting past the point it should have happened.

It does seem quite a lazy solution. He was previously going to run on the basis that he had successfully removed the UK from the EU. Now, instead of bothering with any major campaign redesign, he will run on the basis he didn’t.

But this isn’t just any clock. This is an attack clock. A clock of shame. A clock that asks difficult questions, like it’s possessed by some berserk cuckoo. Because this is where Johnson’s genius becomes truly evident. He didn’t just put up a clock, he also added a sign to it. The sign says: ‘Time since we should have left the EU if Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP hadn’t blocked Brexit.’

There's actually only one current UK leader with a demonstrable record of keeping the UK in the EU, and that’s Boris Johnson

Why would someone choose to do such a thing? Well, we have an election on our hands, that’s why. And while Boris Johnson installed a clock to highlight his failure to deliver the one thing he said he’d deliver, the opposition parties, too, hurtled into action.

So what are the strategies? For the Lib Dems, apparently, the plan is to plead with the other parties not to run. Genuinely, that’s their strategy.

As Willie Rennie explained, in a statement that bore about as much relation to reality as a Lib Dem graph: “There is no point in Scottish Labour any more. On the two big issues of our time they have been humiliated and side-lined by Jeremy Corbyn.”

There’s no point to Scottish Labour anymore. Bold words from a party that won around half Scottish Labour’s vote share at the last election. And while, at times, the ‘remain alliance’ can seem a confusing one, Rennie just kept talking, by now highlighting inconsistency in the party regarding its position on independence and EU membership.

“It is utterly humiliating for Scottish Labour to be repeatedly overruled on such important matters. If they have any pride left, they should just opt out of this election, as they will be humiliated by the voters too.”

If they had any pride they would ‘opt-out’ of the election. But then you can see what he’s trying to do. After all, winning power through getting votes has rarely, if ever, been the Lib Dem way. Even the 2010 approach – of betraying the student vote and then propping up the Tories – has begun to look old-fashioned. Then 2019 saw a new strategy, based on waiting until MPs are elected for other parties and then poaching them. After all, why bother chasing down votes when you can let other parties do the work, then move in later and pick over what’s left? It’s very much a plan based on the behaviour of a vulture, a theory made all the more confusing by the fact that Dominic Cummings, the Tory strategist, does actually look like he could be part vulture.

But this is even better – after all, you can’t lose an election if you’re the only party that runs. Sadly, though, the Lib Dems are not the only ones to think of it, with the SNP apparently questioning the mystery of why the Scottish Greens would compete against them in a general election. Though in fairness, that mystery is much more intriguing if you ignore the fact they are a different political party.

It’s all very confusing, not least because there is actually only one current UK leader with a demonstrable record of keeping the UK in the EU, and that’s Boris Johnson.

And so, we face another election. On and on it goes. So how much further will the current chaos continue? The sad truth is that it may never end. Decades from now, long after society has collapsed, voters could well find themselves watching as the two remaining members of Scottish Labour, unable to remember how it all began or why, continue a bitter feud over the party’s stance on indyref2. A century on from 2014, a robot Nicola Sturgeon is debating the definition of ‘once in a generation’ while accusing the UK Government of “treating Scotland with disdain”. The FM argues it should be for Scotland’s roaming gangs of scavengers to decide their own future, while Robo-Harvie accuses her of running on fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, having run out of animals for photo-ops, a Cyborg Willie Rennie is planning to jump a shark using waterskis, in a desperate attempt to hold the attention of the remaining members of the press. In the background, the shark can be seen mating.

In London, Jeremy Corbyn has just survived another internal attempt to oust him. His supporters say he is playing the long game. Speaking nearby, Boris Johnson is promising to “get Brexit done”. The Brexit clock continues to tick onwards, but no one remembers why.

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