Yes, it’s over…
Liz Truss resigned today as British Prime Minister, bringing to an end a period of uncertainty about both UK politics and the credibility of this column.
Keen readers may recall that in the early stages of last week’s offering on this page I had speculated that Ms. Truss might not even survive to “the end of this column”. Well, she did. But just about.
I don’t for one moment suggest that my musings should have been any consideration for a woman who was undoubtedly under pressure, but I am grateful for a ‘credibility score draw’ on this one, whereby I speculated that Liz could be gone by Thursday, then suggested she looked likely to last the week, then returned home with a copy of the Roscommon People at lunchtime today to discover that she had announced her resignation. Like I say, Liz and I are fine. She may have messed up a few things, but she treated this column with a certain degree of respect.
On a more serious note, I feel sympathy on the proverbial ‘human level’ for the humiliation Liz Truss and her family have been through. That said, she clearly wasn’t ‘cut out’ to be Prime Minister, and it was probably best to end this sorry saga.
Now what’s all this talk about a hungover, dishevelled Etonian scampering from a beach in the Caribbean to the nearest airport?
Mock the Week, the popular BBC comedy panel show presented by Cork’s Dara Ó Briain, ended its 17-year run tonight. I believe the relevant word to sum up its fate might be ‘axed’.
I used to be a fan, but gave up watching years ago, having tired of its shamelessly pre-planned, semi-scripted format. The show established the careers of numerous previously relatively unknown comedians, most famously the controversial (and brilliant) Frankie Boyle. It made Ó Briain a household name in the UK.
I had long grown tired of MTW, but happened to see tonight’s final episode, and in fairness they left the stage with an admirable lack of self-importance. Undoubtedly the show was a big success in its peak years. I always preferred Have I Got News For You, but that show is now a pale shadow of its former self.
By far the best of the comedy panel shows now is the brilliant, always entertaining Would I Lie To You? Long may it continue!
They’re very, very excited at Sky News, where they’re treating former PM Boris Johnson’s return on a flight from a holiday abroad as some sort of major, solemn event. Apparently he may want his old job back.
You couldn’t make this up. They’re actually breathlessly announcing that Boris has boarded a flight to come back to Britain, they’ve a grainy photo of him in his airplane seat, a reporter says there were “one or two boos” from fellow passengers…and then there’s endless footage of ‘his’ plane arriving on the tarmac.
This isn’t a Hugh Grant comedy; it’s the real-life farce that Britain finds itself trapped in.
It had been billed as a big weekend for Roscommon GAA, and so it proved. On Saturday, Four Roads won their 14th Roscommon senior hurling title this century. It sounds even better this way: 14 of the last 23. That remarkable tally includes an eight-in-a-row from 2008-2015. They really are Roscommon hurling royalty! (Four Roads also won the U-17 county title, defeating St. Dominic’s in the final).
Also on Saturday, Clann na nGael confirmed how the pendulum has decisively swung in their favour in ladies football. Victory over Kilbride meant a successful title defence for Clann, an ominous sign for pretenders to the crown. Oran had an excellent win in the Junior B final which completed a double bill in Ballyforan.
Sunday’s first game at Hyde Park was a very entertaining contest, Elphin/Ballinameen eventually seeing off Éire Óg/Michael Glavey’s in the U-20 Division 2 final.
The County Senior Football final wasn’t a particularly memorable game in terms of quality, but it was contested with great, honest endeavour and was ultimately a fascinating battle of wills. There was nowhere to hide for the men charged with eyeballing history in this all-northern showdown.
A dramatic finale had the large attendance riveted. It was a day of heartbreak for Boyle, players and mentors bereft as victory slipped from their grasp. Strokestown got just reward for a fiercely committed display. Any time Boyle looked like moving a few points clear, Strokestown stubbornly stayed in touch. They had several excellent performers. Substitute Tony Lavin was their hero in the end, kicking the winning point in the 5th minute of time added on. It was Strokestown’s day; in fact it was Strokestown’s year. As a former resident of the town, I am very happy for everyone associated with the club. I hope Boyle’s long wait for glory ends soon.
There were more unprecedented scenes in the er, febrile world of Westminster politics today. A source told the Roscommon People: “People have never seen anything like it. When the news broke overnight that Boris Johnson had pulled out of running for PM – and that there would be an anticlimax today in the Conservative Party leadership race – we saw some of the most incredible scenes ever witnessed here”.
According to our sources, Sky News presenters and political correspondents from various media outlets have never been at such risk of collectively imploding.
Our source continued: “It’s carnage. There are unconfirmed reports of reporters angrily tearing up scripts with phrases like ‘Blonde Bombshell to return’ and ‘Can Tories be this crazy?’ and ‘Five more days of drama to go as grassroots to choose’.
“Last night, when they heard the Boris soap opera was cancelled, there were unprecedented scenes as reporters and editors were seen elbowing one another in a desperate scramble to get into any pub to drown their sorrows.
“This morning, we have cameras permanently outside the houses of all the main political correspondents, waiting to see will they emerge and wave at us while we shout questions at them.
“This really is devastating for reporters. There are even reports that some of them may resign their ‘seats’ and become PR advisors or Government spin doctors”.
One Sky reporter who did not wish to be named told the Roscommon People: “I still intend to stand in front of 10 Downing Street and stare solemnly into the camera at every opportunity. If I’m asked anything I’ll just speculate that there are rumours that Boris is plotting a comeback in a few years and that who knows, Rishi might trip over that damn cat on his way into Number 10. I’ll certainly be scrolling on my phone while on camera to give every impression that prominent backbenchers are texting me while I’m live on air. I’m not giving up!”
Asked if there is a real possibility of stability at the heart of British politics now and if he may have to go back to reporting on extreme weather events, the reporter became emotional and said “I think I’ve said enough for now”.
Rishi Sunak has succeeded Liz Truss and become the latest UK Prime Minister. Boris will lie low, for now at least. Rishi seems to be a nice enough chap, though no doubt he has all the ruthlessness required for this role. He and his wife Akshata Murty have a combined estimated wealth of about £730m (€842m) so it remains to be seen how clued in the new PM will be to the cost of living crisis impacting millions of people in Britain.
Today, Mr Sunak went to Buckingham Palace to meet King Charles and set the formalities in motion. There is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that the twinkle-eyed King asked Rishi for the loan of a few bob.