Arise, Sir Gavin Williamson!

Posted on March 4, 2022

There is a reason for everything in life. Yesterday, someone turned up at our house and handed Aden (Jennifer’s son) two pounds in exchange for an inflatable Jesus Christ. There is a reason Jennifer found it amongst a load of old kids’ stuff. There is a reason she put it on Facebay and there is a reason someone drove several miles to pay two English pounds for it.

Huawei Sacking

If that sounds like something from a parallel universe, how about Gavin Williamson getting knighted? That’s different gravy. In May 2019, Gavin Williamson was sacked as Defence Secretary by Teresa May. This was due to allegedly leaking information about the Huawei mobile phone network. May said she had compelling evidence he was behind the leak. She sacked him after ‘losing confidence in his ability to serve’.

So, when May was ousted later that summer, perennial buffoon, Boris Johnson, gave him another crack. This time, Williamson got the Education Secretary gig, going on to become the most inept minister in a cabinet of ineptitudes. Johnson likes being surrounded by people who should be playing with Lego in a padded cell.

Whilst previous leaders surrounded themselves with intellectual heavyweights, Johnson has taken a different route. It’s a process of surrounding himself with imbeciles and fruit cakes even less capable than he is. Whereas Thatcher, for instance, was constantly under threat from the likes of Michael Heseltine and Ken Clarke, Johnson can sit safely. Nadine Dorries, Grant Shapps, Priti Patel, and Liz Truss, may do untold damage to the reputation of the UK, but they are no threat to Johnson.

The Ideal Dead Cat

So, sacking Williamson couldn’t have been easy. His handling of the exam system during the Covid-19 lockdown was so appalling, it was bordering on slapstick. The irony was that he was so awful, he became useful to Johnson as a ‘dead cat’. Deadcatting is a political tactic that Johnson learned from brazen Australian strategist Lynton Crosby.

“There is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend (Crosby) is that everyone will shout, ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’ In other words, they will be talking about the dead cat – the thing you want them to talk about – and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief”.

Johnson may not have chosen Williamson as a dead cat, but the calamity-stricken minister delivered with some aplomb. Despite having more disasters than Frank Spencer, Williamson clung on for two years before Johnson reluctantly, let him go. Williamson was a great distraction and his loss meant Johnson had to turn to Nadine Dorries for ineptitude.

How a Knighthood?

So, why has he been knighted? There can only be three reasons. Firstly, could Johnson be using Williamson for one last ‘dead cat’ mission. The government have had an awkward couple of days, with the bizarre announcement that people with financial links to Putin will have their assets frozen. But only after they have had a month’s grace to get them out. There will be several economic reasons behind this, but it is still not a good look.  

Secondly, has Williamson got something on Johnson? Is there something in Johnson’s private or public life that really cannot come out? We know he is reckless with his romantic and financial dealings, so it’s hard to rule it out. Johnson has had a career of chaos and batting away rumours or dismissing them as Bermuda Triangle stuff. In normal times, a knighthood to shut someone up would seem ridiculous. However, these are not normal times.

Or thirdly, is this just an age where Prime Ministers are handing out knighthoods for ‘services to ineptitude’?

Have a nice weekend.

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