WHAT if you ran your life like the government runs Brexit?
We’re going on holiday at the end of next month. No idea where we’re going but we’re not blinking before the travel agent blinks.
We’re buying a new car at the end of next month as the old one is about to fart its last puff of exhaust. But we’re not blinking before the car salesman blinks.
We’re moving house at the end of next month. But we’re not blinking before the estate agent blinks. And we’re not telling anyone where we are moving to either as it’s important in a negotiation to keep a card or two up your sleeve.
But it’s all OK. We can deliver all those things on time and to the family budget.
Meanwhile in what we are supposed to think of as the real world, Chris Grayling is still drawing his salary as Transport Secretary. How is that possible? A quick google fails to pinpoint the amount he earns, although in October 2017 Boris Johnson said that a Cabinet minister’s salary of £141,000 “was not enough to live on”.
The Transport Secretary goes everywhere with that note stuck to his back, the one that says “Failing”. And yet he keeps rolling on with an admirable belief in his own uselessness.
In the latest example of Grayling’s admirable idiocy, he has been faced with the calamitous – but not entirely unforeseeable – collapse of the no-deal Brexit ferry contract handed to a company with no ships.
It was all a bit like Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen saying: “I see no ships.” Although in Grayling’s case it was everyone else saying: “We see no ferries.”
And that’s because there weren’t any.
Grayling organised the £13.8m contract with Seaborne Freight to run ferries between Ramsgate and Ostend, despite what my copy of the Observer describes as “widespread derision and accusations that it had been awarded illegally”.
It was obviously a sound idea to leave organising the no-deal Brexit ferry run to the man who can’t keep the trains moving. As that witty old Tory Ken Clarke said in a tweet the other day: “I’ve just turned up to a brewery tour organised by Chris Grayling. Unfortunately there isn’t any beer so he’s had to cancel it.”
Here is the latest verse of this farcical sea shanty. Grayling previously said: “We haven’t spent any money on this contract.”
You know, the one with the ferry-free ferry company. Now auditors have found that his department spent £800,000 of public money on consultants hired to assess the bid of the ferryless ferry company.
What if we all ran our lives like Captain Grayling runs his sinking ship? At least there will be lifeboats, won’t there? Oh, I’ve just heard that Chris Grayling gave the lifeboat contract to a firm that doesn’t own any lifeboats.
Late news flash: Chris Grayling is reported to have come to a deal with a man called Noah who has an old boat for hire.
And where was Mrs Maybe while all this shameless chicanery has been going on? Oh, on the ferry to Brussels, as usual.