I’d like to watch that Panorama report on partygate, I say. “So long as you don’t swear like you do at the radio,” my wife says.
This is unfair as I only ever swear at Tory politicians spouting lies on the Today programme while they clean up after the latest mess Boris Johnson just made. Who doesn’t swear at that?
Sometimes it is a minister of relatively lofty awfulness, such as Dominic Raab who earns a curse for whatever sneery thing just slithered out of his mouth; sometimes it is just the latest subservient sap sent out with a mop in the endless job of tidying up.
When it all becomes too much, I switch to BBC Radio Three and the swearing is stoppered by lovely music.
This swearing habit set me thinking about being cross over something you cannot control. Is this healthy or would it be better not to care about that day’s political irritation; better just to listen to music?
Easier said than sworn at after a lifetime of politics. Only ever as a spectator, and perhaps this is my football crowd, a one-man crowd it is true, standing alone in the kitchen and swearing at the radio while my wife sighs in the next room.
I don’t know if I can get out of this habit, or if I even want to, but sometimes it worries me. Does being cross change anything? Not really, but perhaps it is a safety valve, a necessary release of angry steam. Or maybe it is self-indulgent and pointless, an endless round of futile fury with no conclusion in sight. Who knows?
We watch Panorama. The former BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg offers a detailed account of all those parties Johnson said never happened. It’s there on iPlayer if you want to catch up.
Mostly it is a recap of known tawdriness, although there are interviews with three disgruntled Downing Street staffers (in shadow and voiced by actors). Details are filled in, numbers added to the parties, more bottles discovered, more winey fuel to the fire.
The programme was made before ITV yesterday released a photograph of Johnson raising a glass at a leaving do, bottles cluttered all around. It feels a little out of date already, political news being an endless rush to staleness.
Annoyingly, Kuenssberg ropes in the Beergate non-scandal in the name of balance, summoning up that cynical belief that “they’re all the same” the Daily Mail has spent so long cultivating to cover up for their man.
Well, it’s annoying to me. My companion on the viewing sofa wants to know why Labour lied about that curry night in Durham. It wasn’t a big deal, I say. But why did they tell lies, she says.
After that we watch the Chelsea Flower Show.
As for partygate, the long-delayed Sue Gray report is due today, having been completed last night, according to the BBC. It will now be sent to Downing Street. According to the Times, Johnson tried to prevent its publication.
Will his Sue Gray moment be worse for him than he expected? Will his MPs finally decide they cannot keep supporting such a mess of a man? And, closer to home, will I learn to stop swearing at the radio? Years ago, I used to swear in the car but gave that up, so there is hope.
Footnote: The Sue Gray report has been published and, among the lovely details, you will find wine on the wall, vomit on the floor, scuffles and rudeness to staff trying to do their job, and much more. Boris Johnson has told the Commons that he takes “full responsibility” for the report’s findings. This may or may not mean a thing. Is “full responsibility” different to “responsibility” (full-fat responsibility as opposed to semi-skimmed responsibility?); or is it just something you say when you take no responsibility at all and wish everyone would get off your back as you are too important for all this?