Sketch: Sad clown BoJo’s encore
The UK waits on tenterhooks, cameras trained on the door of 10 Downing Street, breath bated. BoJo’s merry band of performers are gathered, waiting for their ringmaster, ready to give him their support whatever he says.
We think he is going to resign. But BoJo the World’s Most Famous Clown loves nothing more than a show, and what could be more dramatic and exciting than to come out, honk his noise and defy expectations.
The shiny black doors opens. Out he comes, hair wafting, and he jogs to the podium. There’s a smattering of applause. “Thank you, thank you,” begins the showman, as though he’s just told the world’s greatest joke instead of being the greatest joke.
Thankfully, the clown confirms the reports are correct. He is resigning. He didn’t actually utter those words and he’s not done yet - his encore will last until the next Prime Minister is found.
Ignoring the boos, BoJo spoke to the crowd. He is still “immensely proud” of his achievements, among which he can claim the award for ‘Most Resignations in a Day’ and ‘Best Effort to Stay When No One Wants You’. Maybe there’s a trophy for that one.
He also reasserts his Levelling Up line, hoping that will be his legacy as Prime Minister and not that he became an immovable object, levelling down on the Levelling Up Secretary when poor Gove asked him to go and instead was shown the door.
“If I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius, talent, enthusiasm and imagination are evenly distributed through the population – but opportunity is not.” Never a truer word spoken by a man with no genius, no talent, no enthusiasm and no imagination – but a hell of a lot of (wasted) opportunity.
Johnson hesitantly fired the starting gun in the race to replace him | Credit: Iain Green
To the next leader, whomsoever that may be, he says: “I will give you as much support as I can.” That support will no doubt be welcomed with open arms… and then rapidly binned and the whole of No 10 decontaminated to get rid of the stench of abject failure.
The reason he clung on for so long was “not just because I wanted to” he insists, though naturally he admits it was part of the reason. No one would have believed him otherwise. It was “because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation” to go on. I wonder if he feels it was also his job, duty and obligation to oversee wild parties while the country was in lockdown, the biggest cost-of-living crisis in decades, and the protection of bullies and sexual predators.
Unfortunately for Johnson, “herd instinct” got in the way of an otherwise excellent argument for him to stay in post. “The herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves,” he says insightfully. The Big Dog knows that they normally hunt in packs.
He continues: “Our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward.” Is that a threat?
“To you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who will be relieved,” Johnson said, raising his voice over the sound of booing and jeering, but with his characteristic optimism, he adds, “and quite a few who will be disappointed. I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But thems the breaks.”
He begins his thank yous. His loyal Cabinet (not you, Gove), his wife, the civil service for putting up with him.
“Above all, I want to thank,” he glances down at his speech, having clearly forgotten who is next. “You, the British public, for the immense privilege that you have given me.” Oh yes, don’t forgot the voters, BoJo, the ones you kept pointing at yesterday as the reason you were absolutely not going to resign. “I want you to know that from now on until the new Prime Minister is in place, your interests will be served,” because of course, they haven’t been until now. It’s the most honest he’s ever been.
BoJo the Sad Clown looks down glumly, painted tear and all, but tries to end on a lighter note. “Even if things seem dark now, our future together is golden,” he insists, before turning round and quickly heading inside. Claps from his loyalists are drowned out by boos and jeers.
It’s almost possible to feel sorry for the Sad Clown. Almost.