JANET STREET-PORTER: Sorry Boris, but I'd rather put my faith in Dilyn

JANET STREET-PORTER: Sorry Boris, but if you think this week’s Downing Street dogs’ dinner shows you’re as ‘fit as the proverbial butcher’s’, I’d rather put my faith in Dilyn

I’ve got one simple question – who’s in charge? Number 10 Downing Street is fast turning into Calamity Central, with the Prime Minister, six MP’s and two aides self-isolating after being ‘pinged’ by our ‘world beating’ Test and Trace app.

There are bound be more casualties – it’s well known that Boris doesn’t wear a mask in the office, constantly forgets to social distance and – most importantly- is an pig-headed sod who thinks covid couldn’t strike him twice, even though he was knocked for six the first time around and has struggled to regain his fitness since.

To make matters worse, Hapless Hancock is trying to brief that the UK is well-placed to receive the latest Moderna anti-Covid vaccine when in reality, he’s only ordered 5 million doses and they aren’t going to be available here until next spring, well after the USA gets them.

So – at a critical moment with Covid compliance fatigue setting in, and as Brexit lurches towards a final conclusion – the British government is being run by remote control.

Boris is in solitary confinement and must reach his office from his flat via the garden. Where does that leave his daily designer workouts with an expensive trainer?

Boris Johnson is pictured with his pet dog Dilyn at Conservative Party HQ in December 2019

Maybe they can run around the rose bushes 100 times where, sadly no paparazzi, will be on hand.

Meanwhile the population is fed up with abiding by frequently changing rules not to mention all the hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing. The only thing keeping us compliant is that we’re desperate to see our relatives, end lockdown and have a decent Christmas.

And none of this is because Boris is ‘unlucky’, it’s because he’s just plain arrogant. Last Thursday he decided to meet a group of MPs in person, although it would not have been disrespectful to conduct the meeting (focusing on local issues) via Zoom.

After all, he did have other more pressing matters on his mind; his key team players were in disarray, with infighting over who would be made Chief of Staff. Lee Cain – a former tabloid journalist was thought by various people (including the Prime Minister’s new TV spokesperson Allegra Stratton as well as Ms Symonds) to be unsuitable for the job, which had already been offered. So he quit.

Within 24 hours, the infighting claimed a bigger scalp when, after being accused of disrespecting the Prime Minister’s future wife, Boris’ key aide Dominic Cummings made a theatrical exit out of the front door in full view of the press, heading straight to my local deli in Islington for a takeaway of Gazpacho, a bag of spinach (?), two bottles of wine and some beer.

Matt Hancock (pictured at 10 Downing Street yesterday) is trying to brief that the UK is well-placed to receive the latest Moderna anti-Covid vaccine

Interestingly, he could have chosen the less fashionable but cheaper Turkish shop on the corner, but that reveals a lot about the circles Boris and co move in.

Now, following the dramatic exit of Cummings and Funky Chicken man Cain, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder who is at the helm behind the door of number 10.

Is it Princess Nut Nut (as Dominic Cummings is said to have dubbed Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds) or maybe Dilyn the dog, allegedly the source of much anguish after a newspaper erroneously claimed that Ms Symonds has tired of the loveable rogue.

According to gossip, she demanded that key ministerial meetings were interrupted to issue a denial to the Times newspaper and was further enraged by stories that she regularly pesters Boris with helpful texts about policies up to 25 times an hour. Either way, it’s clear, Symonds is no Denis Thatcher, content to play golf and take a supportive back seat.

Having cleansed Downing Street of the ‘lads’ – Cummins and Cain – this was designed to be the start of a Big Week for Boris.

Dominic Cummings made a theatrical exit out of the front door of Number 10 last Friday

A rebranding exercise for a more loveable (and less strident) PM making daily policy statements designed to showcase his statesmanlike qualities, his commitment to the environment, female equality, environmental issues and, of course, Brexit – all ahead of his deadly rival Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review in a week’s time.

Then, disaster struck with a positive Covid test result on Sunday evening. Taking to social media, Boris assured us that he is ‘as fit as a butcher’s dog’ – a bizarre turn of phrase, more reminiscent of a music hall turn than a senior statesman in charge of nuclear weaponry. Is referencing butchers is a good idea when meat-eating seems to be going out of fashion?

It might have been better to say ‘as healthy as a Greggs vegan sausage roll’. Anyway this was classic Boris, determined to appear the perky commando, even though our older citizens are dying in conditions worse than most prisoners, who at least get exercise and the odd visit.

He claims he’s ‘bursting with anti-bodies’, when there’s no proof – and who would believe a philanderer and serial adulterer?

Meanwhile, Carrie Symonds – allegedly the coup leader – is nowhere to be seen.

Boris Johnson with Carrie Symonds and their dog Dilyn at the count for the Uxbridge and Ruislip South constituency in the 2019 General Election on December 13 last year

For the bulk of the population, Boris testing positive is just another minor irritation. We are soldiering on each boring day unable to go to the pub, living on takeaways. Home cooking and breadmaking have become a chore and who wants to garden in a downpour?

We couldn’t give a monkey’s about what Carrie, Dilyn the dog, her pal Zac Goldsmith think – a man so wet and ineffectual he lost his Commons seat and was rewarded with a peerage. It’s so easy to be passionate about the environment when you are born with a multi-million pound trust fund courtesy your dad.

I’m sure Carrie is bright (that degree in art history and theatre from Warwick University must be useful) and well intentioned.

Nevertheless it must be galling for all the other super-bright women who have stood as parliamentary candidates for the Tories and not been selected, that here’s someone who went from being a glamorous press officer surrounded by stale middle aged white males – to having a chance to push her thoughts and her dreams directly into the ear of the person running the country.

But the whole affair reveals more about why Boris Johnson is a disastrous Prime Minister than it does about Carrie Symonds.

She’s only doing what any ambitious political partner would.

What’s his excuse?

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