When is a Re-shuffle not a Re-shuffle?

When its sole purpose is blatantly nothing more than an attempt to shift an uncomfortable story for the Prime Minister out of the “Lead Story” slot on that night’s Six o’clock News, that’s when.

It’s fair to say that Alexander Johnson is having a tough time of it as Prime Minister right now. It’s the job he’s wanted all his life—well, the story goes that what he actually wanted to be was World King, but that isn’t a thing so Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would have to do—and I suspect that the job isn’t quite all he’d hoped it would be.

Being Prime Minister is hard. It’s not all dressing up in Hi-Viz jackets and going on jollies to see what sort of jobs the little people do. You have to actually make decisions and sometimes those decisions are difficult, with the choices being between one dreadful thing and another dreadful thing and having to determine which of the two is the least dreadful thing for the largest number of people.

And that’s what he’s had to contend with since March 2020. A Global Pandemic is no fun for anyone and the choices were the rock or the hard place and neither was a good option. But the choices had to be made. Rules had to be set to try and protect people’s lives and the least the public at large had a right to expect in that situation was for those who were setting the rules, to follow the rules.

Only, the thing is, World King Wannabe Johnson has never, in his whole life, ever for one second thought that the rules applied to him.

As his School Master at Eton famously wrote in a letter to Johnson’s father, he’s always believed that he should be “…free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”

Which is a fancy way of saying the rules don’t apply to him. Or shouldn’t apply to him.

So, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the Prime Minister fostered a culture in his Downing Street office that led the staff there to believe that the National Lockdowns we faced in 2020 & 2021 quite simply didn’t mean anything to them.

It was a surprise to a lot of people. But it shouldn’t have been.

The point I’m trying to make though is that through his reckless actions, his woeful leadership and the poor example he set for his staff, Johnson finds himself under siege like no other Prime Minister before him. And Johnson’s character is such that his only response is to come out swinging.

Years at Eton and then Oxford not only left him believing the rules didn’t apply to him, but also that he could do no wrong. And that he should never apologise, because why would you need to apologise if you’ve done nothing wrong?

So last week, when under pressure after the release of the Grey report, Johnson came out swinging and landed a low blow on the Leader of the Opposition. I’m not going to repeat what he said, if you’re reading this, chances are you already know. But what Johnson said was a lie. It was a falsehood as large as any that’s ever passed his lips. And it led, in part, to the Leader of the Opposition being accosted by a rabid mob outside Parliament.

And this is the story that the PM is trying to get off the Six o’clock News. Johnson needs to retract his comments. And he needs to apologise for making them in the first place.

But he won’t, he’s made that crystal clear.

Instead, he will do what he always does, lie, and try to distract attention away from his mistake in the hope that people will forget about the mistake.

And that’s a terrible trait for the leader of any organisation to have, let alone the leader of a whole country.

So, when is a reshuffle, not a reshuffle, when only a handful of the chairs on a sinking ship are moved in the hope that no one notices the deck is already below water.

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