Words: Pete Williams | Illustration: KREETCH
The past few days have taught us a lot about the outcomes of our actions; namely how to avoid them. Whether that’s ‘being careless’ with state secrets, or breaking up a union of nations in a bid to become PM. Either way, I think I’ve figured out the way to get away with it – put simply, you need be in a position of power. Allow me to illustrate with two examples in particular.
Boris Johnson, with his cheeky smile and bumbling on camera persona; sometimes I don’t know whether to ruffle his hair and send him on his way like the little scamp he seems. Or do I brain him for the geopolitical earthquake his bungled shot at the big time has caused?
He stared through the cameras on the morning of the 24th June, basking in the monolithic horror of the post referendum clean-up and the realisation that it was going to fall to him, draped over him like a cape. He looked like a man defeated, not the triumphant general, standing astride the pile of political corpses he was to create. Perhaps he didn’t want his page in history to read ‘the man who led England from the EU’. I know that look. I’ve woken up hungover, the night after a party, ears ringing, vision blurred; sort of like after a grenade goes off in a film; trying to both remember and suppress the memories of what I did the night before.
To be fair, he possibly had a little more weight on his shoulders, but the payoff was that he was going to be Prime Minister so…
Anyway, Dave was out, (yaaay), everything going to plan, until good pal, and Pob lookalike, Mikey Gove, proceeded to stab him in the back so publicly that the astronauts on the international space station could see it happen in real time (boooo).
No matter, because now he could do that politician thing that they kept doing in ‘The Thick of It’, where they resign, but not really because they get a different cabinet job five minutes later. Plus, now there was no need for him to get his hands dirty cleaning up his own mess! He and Nige, currently in the European Parliament literally rubbing the result in everyone’s faces, but soon to be back to absolve himself of all responsibility too (what a great guy), would be free to go on and on about how they would do things, without actually having to do them.
Boris then, in his weekly column in The Telegraph, now free of all responsibility, dropped his long-awaited five point plan for a post ‘Brexit’ Britain – TLOB, or the Life of Boris (it’s fire) if you will. He also helpfully added that someone should have told the people how leaving the EU was a good thing before they voted for it – wasn’t that his job?
Fast forward to today, and we have a new Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher with a firmware upgrade, Theresa May. She’s now picked out a new cabinet: George ‘allergic to sunlight and garlic’ Osborne is out, replaced by Aardman animation come to life Phillip Hammond; nondescript terrier breed Liam Fox takes a new ‘Leave’ and trade related position; and of course, the man of the hour , Boris Johnson as foreign secretary.
So what have we learned from Boris’ example? That it’s OK to use a country as a pawn in a political power-play? That you shouldn’t trust people who look like puppets from 1980s kids’ TV shows? That you can screw up in a way that for most people would be the end of their careers, and still end up with an even better job at the end of it? All of the above..?
Meanwhile on the other side of the pond: the final boss of western imperialism, high-ranking lizard person, and democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, seems to be in the clear for using a personal email server to transmit classified information whilst Secretary of State. James Comey, the Director of the FBI, recommended no charge be brought against her. She was, in Mr Comey’s words, “extremely careless in [her] handling of very sensitive, highly classified information” and, in paraphrase, someone in her position should have known better, and is grounded, with no pocket money for a month, now get to your room! etc.
He also added that it’s possible that hostile foreign governments had gained access to her account as “she used her mobile device extensively … in the territory of sophisticated adversaries”, but even in light of this, there is still no need for criminal proceedings. In any case, there could still be a civil suit, (here’s hoping…). Oh wait! – her lawyers have filed a motion with a federal court to block her having to give testimony, a bit like getting your Mum to give you a note letting you off PE.
In his big speech he disclosed that of the 30,000 emails she released to the FBI “a very small number” were marked in a way identifying them as classified as well as others ranging from top secret to; ‘What are we having for tea Bill?”. This is in fact contrary to statements she made during her testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi! She also testified that she had turned over all of her work-related emails, and that her attorneys had “[been] through all of them”. This was also proven to be untrue by the FBI’s investigation.
This, as you can imagine isn’t great, and Republican Representative for Ohio Jim Jordan, who originally questioned Hillary at the hearing seems pretty wound up about it. In his words, she misled Congress under oath; again, his words, not mine. I would like to point out however, that lying under oath is perjury, which in the US, is a felony and most people go to prison for it, if found guilty. At any rate, Rep. Jordan, has said he’ll leave the decision to pursue charges to the prosecutors. The FBI pre-emptively tried to distance itself from this by saying that Clinton’s testimony was outside the scope of their investigation, and that they need a criminal referral from Congress… well now they have one in the form of this letter.
So, Hillary’s above the law (good news for the Donald, according to the polls), and Boris is beyond reproach (good news for no-one, according to me). My advice: if you want to do whatever you want safe in the knowledge that it will all work out in the end, get a job in Politics.