That Tory beauty contest is certainly a lovely parade…

There’s nothing like an election for Tory leader to lift the spirits, especially the sight of Michael Gove bent double in a post-cocaine grovel. Or Boris Johnson doing nothing at all, shutting his famously unguarded mouth in a surprising new tactic (shame he didn’t try doing that years ago).

Dominic Raab says he will close parliament to get a no-deal Brexit over the finishing line. If only he had the relevant experience, you know, like having been Brexit secretary or something. It makes you wonder if the secretary in that title meant that all Raab did was sit there and take notes and make tea occasionally.

It’s a great selling point, though, isn’t it? Trust me, I’m one of a long line of useless Brexit secretaries who couldn’t sort out this mess, so back me.

Or the rest of them, all 10, count them if you have the energy, and Jeremy Hunt is in there somewhere, too, smiling that shifty smile. The Tories have a better record than Labour on women leaders (a shameful two-nil), but the two women in this scrum stand out only in how appalling they are. Andrea Leadsom is calling for a “managed exit” from Brexit and a bit of stuff about the environment. And if you believe that, I have a cloud here in my pocket you may wish to buy.

As for Esther McVey, oh God, Esther McVey. She’s just too unpalatable even for the Tories, isn’t she? Too unpalatable for ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly, for sure. Asked yesterday in a live link to Good Morning Britain if she remembered Esther McVey from their days working on GMTV, Lorraine said: “Yeah, yes I do. OK, coming up after half past eight…”

Their feud is said to be long-running, so we shall leave them to it, but only after giving Lorraine a brick to put in her boxing glove.

This morning former useless Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith came out for Johnson, after Boris kicked off his campaign by offering a tax cut for people who earn more than £50,000 a year. Posh man backs posh man shock. But to be fair to Johnson, £50k is peanuts as he’d barely get out of bed to give a speech (the speech, really, as he pretty much only has the one) for such a pittance.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Duncan Smith said Johnson would get us out of the EU by October 31 and generate a “mood of optimism”. Funnily enough, I had exactly the same reaction. Oh, hang on, I appear to have mistyped that last sentence. I should have written “generate a mood of existential despair and eternal gloom”.

Johnson’s only other policy, apart from the one about keeping his gob shut, has been to say that the EU can whistle for the agreed £39bn divorce bill. Yet more showboating for the 120,000 party members who will pick our next prime minister.

Gove the Grovel and self-loving Johnson were both journalists before becoming politicians, and that’s always a potential trap. Gove’s confession that he used cocaine 20 years ago led to the unearthing of an article he wrote for The Times in which he lacerated the hypocrisy of middle-class drug users, even, it seems, as the powder round his nose was hardly dry.

And the perennially dreadful Boris Johnson has been unmasked by Boris Johnson, no less. Thanks to Media Mole in New Statesman for unearthing a Telegraph column Johnson wrote in 2007. His subject was the election-free shoeing in of Gordon Brown as Labour leader and prime minister.

“It’s the arrogance. It’s the contempt,” Johnson puffed and prattled. “That’s what gets me. It’s Gordon Brown’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people. It’s at moments like this that I think the political world has gone mad, and I am alone in detecting the gigantic fraud.”

He added: “They voted for Tony and now they get Gordon…” and much more besides, but I’ve had enough of quoting that man.

Spotting that Boris Johnson is a screaming hypocrite is only as surprising as saying that in general night turns in to day.

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