They packed them all in to the cavernous hall. They gave them their placards and they told them when to wave them.
Then in walked their wobbling Sun God. He cleared his throat, punched his palms into the lectern and threw open the sluice gates.
The lies poured forth like open sewage, or a catastrophic explosion at the start of a disaster movie.
Out they tumbled at such speed it was impossible to know where one began and one ended. At times, actual, self-contained lies could be made out, like bodies on the current of a deadly river.
At others, the lies had coagulated to form a kind of very slow-cooked bulls**t casserole, the false meat and the untrue gravy forming a kind of unctuous slop.
Of course, I could try to list them all, but what does that achieve? We’ve been down this path before. The lies on the side of the bus. The lies about Turkey. Lies are how you win.
And there were just too many to gather. Better, as Lester Burnham advises in the closing monologue to American Beauty, better to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. To let it flow through you like rain.
Who gains, for example, if I sit here and type out, again, that there aren’t going to be “40 new hospitals”, there’ll be six at the most? Boris Johnson has been telling that lie for more than a month. He told it outside 10 Downing Street at lunchtime on his way back from seeing the Queen (who he also lied to).
He told it again tonight, to the exultant cheers of his bussed-in activists. He’ll keep telling it, long after the point at which the fact that it was never true ceases to matter.
We have been delivered to this moment, of course, by his other lies. Turkey isn’t joining the EU, there is no £350m a week for the NHS, but they were the lies to get him here, and these new ones are the ones that are required for the next phase of the journey.
“I don’t want an election,” he said, for the second time that day. “I don’t want an election, but we have no choice. This parliament refuses to get Brexit done.”
With his next breath, he was explaining how parliament had “given its seal of approval” to his Brexit deal. Which indeed it has.
It hasn’t blocked his deal. We are having an election because he withdrew it. There is only one person who wants this election that he’ll tell you a thousand times that he doesn’t want, and it’s him.
But what does it matter?
For the second time today, we learned that Brexit is going to “unleash the tidal wave of investment that is going to flow into this country, a great surge of confidence into the UK”.
It’s luminous filth. Utter garbage. Pure, 100 per cent, super-concentrated nonsense.
But the truth has just become so boring that we have all moved on from it. There is no tidal wave of investment. There are only the billions after billions after billions of investment that have already been lost.
For the second time today, we learned of the “moderate, one-nation Conservatism” he has in mind. This, the man who has expelled every one-nation Conservative from his own party. Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Rory Stewart, David Gauke, the lot of them.
Moderate one-nation Conservatives are queueing up to let you know they won’t be standing again.
It’s all lies, all of it, but it doesn’t matter. Not in the slightest.
There’ll be six more weeks of it, hammered home, relentless, time and time and time again until it is too boring even to point out that the lies are lies, and then the finish line will be in sight, and the lies won’t matter.
This is the way of things now. It is futile even to try and resist.