There’s an old YouTube video of a festival-goer wandering out of a portaloo while a Dutch TV crew are filming the facilities, who then proceeds to wash his hands in a fetid urinal. As if hallucinating a crystal clear babbling brook and snow-white bar of Dove, he picks up a urinal cake from one end of the trough then shuffles down to the other end where the piss is more plentiful, swishing his hands around in the frothy, citrine shallows. But as he rubs the deoderising block between his palms, he slowly catches on. “This isn’t a urinal, is it?” he asks the Haarlem105 TV presenter. “I think it is, man,” she regretfully informs him.
It’s certainly an embarrassing moment. I mean, you’ve got to feel for the guy. But do you know what? If it was a choice between Boris Johnson as Prime Minister or that guy, I would vote for him every single time. In fact, in the imaginary world in which he takes office, a directive would go out from Number 10 to all journalists informing them that, seeing as they enjoyed using the pally nickname ‘Boris’ so much, their new PM would like to be referred to as ‘Piss Hands’. Kuenssberg, Peston, no exceptions. Every interview, every report, every press conference, every day… ‘Piss Hands’. As leaders go, that can’t be more embarrassing than what we have currently, surely?
Recently, during yet another photo op, this time aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier ahead of its first operational deployment to the Far East, Boris Johnson was wearing a jacket with a ‘United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group’ breast badge, under which ‘Prime Minister’ had been embroidered. Why on earth did he have a personalised jacket with his job title on?! Was it for the crew’s benefit, in case they thought a coked-up Gary Busey was wandering around on deck practising his Churchillian stoop? (A great cunt double, though, should Johnson ever decide to go down the Saddam Hussein decoy route.) During his visit, Johnson was even allowed to sit in a jet fighter. And not one of those like you find outside supermarkets that rock gently back and forth when you put a quid in – a real one! He really is an all-action hero.
I don’t know why his advisors don’t just dress him up like he’s depicted in some of the poorly Photoshopped, Trumpesque fan art that’s circulating on the Internet? I saw one recently, where his gormless face had been superimposed onto the body of the legendary Cadian General and “brilliant strategist” Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed from the Warhammer 40k series. If he wants to dress up then he should really go for it. (Even though the reality would be less Johnson bravely leading the charge into battle and more a case of him dangling helplessly over a Tory donor event with his garish bermuda shorts ensnared in a zip line harness.)
This country, with its right-wing politicians, commentators and supporters wrapped up in the flimsy idea of British exceptionalism and a misplaced sense of superiority, is just a total embarrassment right now.
Take the ‘war’ with France the other week, which, if you’d dropped Stuart Hall into proceedings dressed as a frogman, guffawing down a microphone, looked less like a conflict and more like a water-based challenge on Jeux sans frontières (a French boat lightly rammed a British boat – fin). The country’s foremost dullard, Darren Grimes, actually cheered on the prospect of “war with France”, which amounted to nothing more than the embarrassing spectacle of a lone man wearing a tricorn hat futilely firing a blank musket round at some French fishing vessels from the walls of St Helier’s Elizabeth Castle.
“What a legend!” said one bloke on Twitter. “Knight this man!” said another. If the unidentified member of the Jersey Militia reenactment group had dressed up like Captain Birds Eye, while launching volleys of frozen fish fingers from a catapult fashioned from an oversized pair of underpants, I dare say the celebration of cringeworthy mediocrity would have been much the same. So low is the bar.
Even Saturday’s Eurovision song contest couldn’t escape the absolute nonsense of right-wing dickheads. When the UK ended the night on zero points for what was, if we’re honest, a fairly forgettable song and performance from James Newman, the ‘Political Correspondent’ for the much-hyped GB News tweeted that the European nations awarding us ‘nil points’ were basically ungrateful, seeing as we’d single-handedly liberated them from Nazi tyranny during World War II. (Yep, the war… again.)
Harwood recently went to the trouble of ranking the UK flags on Twitter (a victory for the union flag, naturally) which is what I imagine he submitted to Andrew Neil in lieu of a CV when applying for a job at GB News (“You’re in, son!”). But that sort of tells you everything you need to know about him. Of course, when he realised that he was getting dragged on social media for his idiotic Eurovision tweet, he claimed (nearly half an hour later, in a separate tweet) that it was just harmless Twitter baiting and that he was “really enjoying” seeing his not-at-all-serious tweets being taken very seriously. The trouble with right-wing comedy like this (which the left is understandably very nervous about) is that if you tweet something as a joke that sounds exactly like something people would expect you to say, it doesn’t really work.
But the Eurovision embarrassment didn’t end there, because we also had Amanda Holden delivering the UK’s points. “Bon Soir. Goedenavond,” opened Holden, promisingly. She then explained to the multilingual Dutch presenters: “That is good evening in French and Dutch although I’ve got absolutely no idea which is which!” If it was a joke, it was cringeworthy and completely misjudged. If it was a bizarre celebration of ignorance, it was bloody awful. You don’t even have to speak another language to discern which one is French and which is Dutch?! Fucking hell, if you did GCSE French and perhaps half-watched an episode of Van der Valk back in 1990, you would know which was which. It was yet more embarrassment heaped onto our poor nation.
If the government carries out its threat to “intervene to restore trust in the BBC” following the Dyson report, I expect we’ll see Grant Schapps giving the UK’s Eurovision results next year. I imagine he’ll be dressed in a union flag three-piece suit with the name ‘Michael Green – BRITISH RESULTS ANNOUNCER’ embroidered on the breast pocket for good measure.
I got into a slight Twitter spat the other week, when I dared to ask someone how, in their words, people should “embrace Britishness”. One of the ways, so I was told, is to “stop talking Britain down”. That’s fine, but when the country’s been seized by idiots who’ve quickly reduced us to an embarrassing global laughing stock, how the hell do you even begin talking this place up?