As always, I’m up long before the sun. It’s home stretch day, the final hurdle of this week’s news steeplechase, so there’s no time to lie about. Most of the work is out of the way but, given the nocturnal nature of our news cycle these days, anything could have happened overnight.
I’m also up early to see what odds the bookies are offering on the United Kingdom’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, being in office in a year’s time. I’ve inherited my mother Winnie’s love of punting, so I’m keen to make some cash out of the disintegration of the Tories — and the UK — that is inevitable under the “leadership” of the Trump by the Thames.
Johnson is a ruthless, evil bastard, a lying, right-wing fop with no conscience, a racist Muppet who, despite his visible idiocy, is more than capable of running the UK into the ground.
Boorish’s first day in office was, as expected, carnage. The newest resident of 10 Downing Street loaded his Cabinet with fellow Brexiteers and a fair number of nutters. Expect more of the same in the coming days, along with a mad dash to complete the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union within 99 days, regardless of the consequences for the 99% of the people who didn’t vote for him to become prime minister.
I called Winnie — she’s recovering at home after breaking her leg in a fall and spending two months in Belfast’s Royal Memorial Hospital— after watching Johnson’s installation. She wasn’t happy. Winnie’s worried that Johnson will gut the National Health Service, on which she’s pretty much dependent for survival. She’s also worried that Boris will cut her retirement, housing, heating and transport benefits, fire her home carer who pops in daily to cook for her and to see that she’s okay, and throw her out in the street.
I share her concerns. Johnson is capable of anything. He was no friend of the working class when he was mayor of London and he’s clearly not undergone any kind of conversion since. If anything, he has become worse, bolder and more vicious, so I’m also a tad worried that he will tamper with the soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and start a war, just for the hell of it.
I’m also worried Johnson is gonna cost me money when I visit Winnie again. I gave back my British passport in 1994. Flying to Belfast requires a visa, which I’m not keen to pay for given that I was born there, so I normally fly to Dublin, where no visa is needed for a South African passport holder, cross the “border” by bus or train, and head for East Belfast. If Johnson reinstalls a hard border, I’m gonna have to cough a small fortune for a visa or jump the border, risking arrest and deportation from the land of my birth.
Hopefully he’ll have been given the boot by the time I’ve hustled enough money to visit Winnie again. If not, I’ll have to take my chances. It could be a bit of a laugh.
I power up the laptop, hit the gambling sites. Nothing. It seems nobody is taking bets on Boris yet. I’ll have to wait if I’m to make any money out of this fucker and the mayhem he’s about to unleash on the Brits.
I move on to the news sites. It’s been a busy night. This time, it’s not another nocturnal notice by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who, it appears, has been bitten by the evening edict bug that infected his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, the king of the late night Cabinet reshuffle.
Instead, its Zuma’s suicide bombers,ANC secretary general Ace Magashule and public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who have been burning the midnight oil. Bra Yster, as he’s known in the Free State, has let rip with a vicious attack on ANC veteran Derek Hanekom, calling him an “EFF sleeper”, a “charlatan” and “wedge driver” after Economic Freedom Fighters president Julius Malema threw Hanekom under the bus, burning him for meeting the EFF in 2017 to discuss the participation of ANC MPs in the parliamentary vote of no confidence in Zuma.
Mkhwebane, seemingly undeterred by a week of being hammered by the courts, or the notice of legal action by both Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan over her investigations into the South African Revenue Service “rogue unit” and the funding of the president’s Nasrec campaign, has initiated another investigation, this time into the appointment of tax commissioner Edward Kieswetter.
Crazy, but not unexpected, given the dirty brutal, civil war going on in the governing party.
I close the laptop and head for the shower.