Sunday 18 August 2019

Gerard O'Regan: 'How Apples could make Boris crumble with some tough talk on Brexit'

Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds
Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds

Gerard O'Regan

Some of her closest buddies, we are told, affectionately call her 'Apples'.

It seems her 'cherubic cheeks' are a reminder of fruit falling from a tree.

For his part, the call cry 'BoJo' is known to friend and foe alike.

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The relationship between Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds hit the headlines smack bang in the middle of the Tory leadership battle.

While the Brexit drama reaches another crescendo, perhaps it's possible to imagine a private conversation between Bojo and Apples - as he prepares to enter Number 10 Downing Street, leader of all he surveys.

APPLES: You've got a lot of enemies. Most dangerous of all are your fellow Tory MPs.

Is there anyone who you can really trust?

BOJO: No. But I understand all that. Studying the Greek and Roman empires at university shows human nature is pretty constant. My book on Churchill was another reminder. There is only one rule when it comes to winning power - and retaining it - look after number one. Everybody is ultimately out for their own gain.

APPLES: What about those hardchaw Brexiteers who think you are really going to do the dirty deed by October 31 - and pull us out of the EU come what may?

BOJO: They know I had to spout some utter tosh to get elected. Travelling around the country schmoozing those party members who had a vote was a real pain in the butt. Old fogeys, deadbeats, time servers, 'Dad's Army' idiots, and endless blue rinse bores did my head in. They gave me the nod 'cos I told them what they wanted to hear. Poor pent-up Jeremy Hunt just couldn't lighten up.

APPLES: You do know, a lot of the idolatry from the grey brigade will seep away when they realise you have been spouting a load of Trump-type waffle.

BOJO: That won't really matter once I'm in the top job. Big thing is I have to play for time.

APPLES: Still, you look hurt and rejected when you get stick from your fan base. That jibe from your old 'Daily Telegraph' editor, Max Hastings, still wounds.

BOJO: Remind me again what the bounder wrote?

APPLES: "Almost the only people who think Johnson is a nice guy are those who do not know him. His gravest vice is cowardice - reflective in a willingness to tell any audience whatever he thinks is most likely to please, heedless of the inevitability of its contradictions an hour later.

"His premiership will almost certainly reveal a contempt for rules, precedent, order and stability. He cares for no interest save his own fame and gratification."

BOJO: That reads like a good CV to become prime minister.

APPLES: But your weakness is you like to be liked more than anything else.

BOJO: Look, within a few months the polls will probably be showing me as most unpopular prime minister ever. But that won't matter in the here and now. Just as long as I can avoid a bloody general election.

APPLES: Votes in the Commons this week show you won't have a majority of MPs who will back your plan for an end of summer jump Brexit.

BOJO: That suits fine. It's a great reason for kicking the can down the road. I will be saying, of course, that I would leave the accursed EU if I could, but I can't.

I will tell them if we go ahead we would lose a no-confidence vote and have to face an election not of our timing.

That will soften a few coughs.

APPLES: And what about the infernal backstop?

BOJO: The key is to come up with a rear view mirror double whammy solution - whatever that means. We could have a fallback rather than the backstop.

APPLES: Sounds confusing. You might not get such a warm welcome in Dublin.

What about your dad's statement: "If the Irish want to shoot each other, they will shoot each other, whether there's a hard Border or not. That is something the Irish will do."

Irish Independent

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