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Events, dear boy, etc. There comes a moment in every Prime Minister’s tenure when the real world rises up and bites them on the backside.

Life doesn’t always read the script. The best-laid plans and so on, and so on, and scooby dooby dooby.

Tony Blair‘s state visit to Japan in 2003 was turned upside down when he got off the plane in Tokyo to learn that Dr David Kelly, Britain’s Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction inspector, had been found dead with his wrists slashed in an Oxfordshire forest.

At his subsequent set-piece press conference with the Japanese PM, the Boys In The Bubble weren’t the slightest bit interested in discussing Anglo-Nippon relations. All they wanted to know was whether Blair had blood on his hands.

During the 2010 election campaign, Gordon Brown turned up on Jeremy Vine’s excellent Radio 2 lunchtime show to talk about how he’d saved the world from financial meltdown, only to be ambushed with a recording of his ‘bigoted woman’ remarks directed at Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy, who had confronted him over immigration.

Events, dear boy, etc. There comes a moment in every Prime Minister¿s tenure when the real world rises up and bites them on the backside. Life doesn¿t always read the script

Events, dear boy, etc. There comes a moment in every Prime Minister¿s tenure when the real world rises up and bites them on the backside. Life doesn¿t always read the script

Events, dear boy, etc. There comes a moment in every Prime Minister’s tenure when the real world rises up and bites them on the backside. Life doesn’t always read the script

In similar vein, Boris Johnson returned to Glasgow this week with every intention of delivering a triumphant bulletin on the progress made at Cop26 in the battle against global warming.

The hacks on the spot had other ideas. Tell us about Geoffrey Cox, the former Tory Attorney General who has trousered more than five million quid working as a lawyer while he was supposed to be an MP.

What was Cox doing in the British Virgin Islands during the Covid lockdown?

Er, sorry chaps, I’ve got a train to catch, said Boris. Everybody back in the buffet car.

At least this time Boris took the rattler, rather than chartering a private plane. But scuttling away from scrutiny was not a good look. Nor did it do him any favours lingering furtively on the concourse at King’s Cross station earlier in the week to avoid having to face the Commons over the Owen Paterson scandal.

Sticking up for your mates is commendable. Defending the indefensible is not.

Paterson was bang to rights and should have been made to walk the plank sooner. As for Cox, where do we start? Since 2009, he’s spent an astonishing 10,700 hours moonlighting from the House.

As for Cox, where do we start? Since 2009, he¿s spent an astonishing 10,700 hours moonlighting from the House

As for Cox, where do we start? Since 2009, he¿s spent an astonishing 10,700 hours moonlighting from the House

As for Cox, where do we start? Since 2009, he’s spent an astonishing 10,700 hours moonlighting from the House

During Covid, he was to be found living the Death In Paradise dream, working on a Caribbean government corruption inquiry. It’s one thing topping up your Parliamentary salary with the odd speech or newspaper column, provided it doesn’t interfere with the day job. It’s quite another filling your boots with lucrative refreshers in a Cayman Islands courtroom.

Hilariously, Cox is reported to have grumbled that the 18 months or so he spent as Attorney General under Mother Theresa actually cost him money, despite pocketing a salary of around £150,000 a year.

That might be chicken-feed in the legal world, but it’s a king’s ransom to most voters in the Red/Blue Wall who put the Tories into office with a thumping 80-seat majority.

So, too, is the £500,000 Owen Paterson banked working as a consultant on top of his MP’s wages.

Look, if Cox wants to play at being Rumpole of the Caymans, good luck to him. But he can’t do it while drawing a parliamentary salary at the same time.

And this is where it gets really grubby. It transpires that Cox is also renting out his London home while claiming £1,900 a month from taxpayers for a second property. He even claimed £3,800 while he was in the West Indies.

For an allegedly bright barrister, how stupid is he? He’s been around Westminster long enough to know that perception is all.

Claiming for one property, while renting out another takes us straight back to the expenses scandal of 2009. We’re talking Jackboots Jacqui Smith here, the former Labour home secretary and MP for Redditch who tried to pretend that her sister’s spare bedroom in South London was her ‘main residence’.

Some ‘honourable members’ went to prison after their various scams were exposed. That should have been a warning to them all.

How long before we discover that Cox has been claiming for a duck house and moat cleaning?

Boris is, of course, no stranger himself to creative accounting — what we used to call in Fleet Street ‘Old Spanish Customs’. No matter how much he earns, he always seems to be a shilling short of balancing the books. The cost of refurbishing the Carrie Cave in Downing Street, revealed by our own Simon Walters, is still under investigation.

Owen Paterson’s persecutor, standards gauleiter Kathryn Stone, is currently sticking her nose into Boris’s holiday at Zac Goldsmith’s drum in Marbella.

Frankly, most of us couldn’t give a monkey’s if Boris stays with an old friend. It’s not like Tony and Cherie Blair turning up on Cliff Richard’s doorstep or freeloading off Silvio Berlusconi or one of the Bee Gees.

What does cut through, however, is the stench of what we have learned to call ‘Tory sleaze’, the idea that the rules don’t apply to them.

Cox has legitimate questions to answer. Not least: Is he really only 61? In which case there’s hope for us all. But Boris should pull the rug from under him, right now.

Some of us have supported BoJo since he ran for London mayor and saved us from the Red Ken terror. He battered Corbyn and Got Brexit Done, after a fashion.

So he enjoys a residue of goodwill, even in those Northern seats where the natives are getting restless.

He has an uncanny ability to paint himself into a corner and walk out over the paint. But there is a growing feeling that he may be reaching the tipping point where even his most trenchant backers decide he has delighted us too long.

It’s instructive that his fiercest critics lately have been proper Conservatives, whose patience he has exhausted.

There’s mutiny in the ranks, too, as evidenced yesterday when his Chancellor, the ultra-ambitious Rishi Sunak, put the boot in on the wireless.

Prime ministers always find themselves in trouble when the lower orders are no longer frightened to rebel. It’s blood-letting time, Bojo. Starting with Cox and maybe even Sunak, pour encourager les autres.

Stop the greenwash posturing, the pseudo-socialist, tax-hiking, big statism and remember why you went into politics in the first place, as a free-booting libertarian.

At the moment, Boris is dancing in the dark. It’s time he took charge of, rather than cowering in the face of, events, dear boy, events. Right now, it’s his backside on the line.

A cornucopia of creepy-crawly stuff for Gary to get his teeth into today.

At Cop26 they’ve been banging on about cutting down on meat because of the methane created by cows.

Turns out they’re well wide of the mark. It’s caterpillars, not cattle, pumping out the poisonous gases. 

Scientists at Cambridge University say that gypsy moths and forest tent caterpillar moths are responsible for creating more nitrogen-rich CO2 emissions than cows.

I like the sound of forest tent caterpillars — right up there with our old faves the depressed river mussel and the oak processionary moths.

Apparently, they munch through so many leaves that they produce vast amounts of excrement, causing ‘defoliator outbreaks’ to be released from lakes. We’re talking ‘dissolved carbon’ here. As Eric Morecambe used to say: There’s no answer to that!

And I haven’t even mentioned the spurdog and starry-smooth-hound sharks which have just turned up in the River Thames.

Fill yer boots, Gary!

The Lookalikely Lass 

Mail reader Dave Smith writes to say Amanda Staveley is the spitting image of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz

Mail reader Dave Smith writes to say Amanda Staveley is the spitting image of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz

Mail reader Dave Smith writes to say Amanda Staveley is the spitting image of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz

Amanda Staveley, the woman fronting for the Saudis at Newcastle United, has finally got her man. 

Ex-Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has agreed to take the poisoned chalice at whatever St James’s Park calls itself these days.

Mail reader Dave Smith writes from Marske-by-the-Sea, Redcar, to say: ‘I wondered who Amanda Staveley reminds me of . . . and then I realised!’

She’s the spitting image of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz.

Howay the lads!

Source: Daily Mail UK

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