Harry Horton and the art of persistence in the face of Liz Truss…

HARRY Horton is the political correspondent for ITV’s Calendar programme in Yorkshire. I usually watch the other side, so sorry about that, HH.

A clip Horton put up on Twitter shows him interviewing Liz Truss, the international trade secretary.

They are standing in a Yorkshire field with cows in the background. Those large domesticated ungulates munch grass while no doubt thinking, what is this woman on about – you get more sense from a daisy.

Horton asked Truss about the reported appointment of former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott as a UK trade envoy for Brexit – an idea so criminally bonkers, it removes any breath you may have left in your tired lungs.

Still, appointing Abbott to speak up for post-Brexit Britain does sit with the sheer reckless abandon of heading towards the No Deal cliff without a plan. And Boris Johnson refusing to budge an inch while also being determined to blame the EU for the mess he’s making of Brexit (they started it, it’s not fair).

Here is your occasional reminder: Brexit didn’t get done, we did.

Anyway, Abbott. A man ill-famed for his blatant sexism and so abrasive he could put sandpaper out of a job. He once called climate change “absolute crap” and likened climate action to “killing goats to appease volcano gods”.

Horton wondered why a man known for being sexist, homophobic and a climate-change denier should be thought suitable to represent Britain around the world. He also asked how Truss could accept such an appointment, especially as she doubled as women and equalities minister

Truss looked surprised at being reminded she had that other job, too. Why had no one told her? How could she be in two places at once when being in one place was always such a stretch?

She declined to answer, so Horton asked again. And again. And again. He was annoying in that way a good reporter should be. Truss looked displeased at being confronted by a journalist who dared to do his job. She flustered, said the same thing again and again.

She didn’t confirm Abbott’s appointment, but instead unpacked the usual old flannel about Abbott being a principled politician, a champion of free trade and a huge champion of the UK.

What a great idea – as the Brexit bus clanks towards those cliffs, let’s appoint a former Aussie prime minister that even most Australians can’t abide as one of our representatives.

As if to offer reassurance, Truss reminded Horton that she would be in charge of representing Britain. At which point any sensible person keeled over with a groan.

In this government of Brexit toadies and yes men/women, Truss stands so far back in the group photo she can hardly be seen.

Other Australian prime ministers haven’t been impressed with Abbott, although Aussie politics can be a bit of a bear pit. Julia Gillard, who suffered much sexism during her tenure, once delivered a righteous speech that rugby-tackled sexism and Abbott.

Kevin Rudd’s reaction to news of Abbott’s possible appointment was: “Is the UK joking?”

Sadly, Mr Rudd, it’s hard to tell nowadays.

But well done to Harry Horton, both for your splendid alliterative name and your persistence.

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