Where were you on Sunday night, Mr Johnson? We all know. We watched him, sitting on the wrong side of the desk, blocking a doorway, like a raffle ticket collector at a social club.
He was already guilty as charged. His three geographical sidekicks – who he had kept in the dark, broke their vow of omerta, they were not going to back him on this caper. They were staying at home.
Today as he bumbled into the chamber, late again, dishevelled again, you got the feeling he wished that he hadn’t changed the rules on Sunday and kept himself in the safehouse at Number 10.
Ego, arrogance and some quick wit will always find a welcome home when surrounded by the braying sycophants on his own benches, but not under interrogation in the dock – and this is where he found himself today.
In the first Mafia trials, gangsters found that their wiseguy remarks fell on deaf ears, especially when your fellow henchmen were not there to cheer on your every word.
As Sir Keir Starmer will very well know, eminent barrister that he is, no joke looks funny when read out in court.
Like those beleaguered Mafia dons, Boris – when faced with the bare facts – began to crumble.
There was even a smoking gun. Sir Keir – who had once more brought props – held up a print-out of a government chart.
In the calm, lawyerly style that is swiftly becoming a trademark, he said: “Last week, I showed the prime minister his own slide showing that the UK now has the highest death toll in Europe and the second highest in the world.
“A version of this slide has been shown at the Downing Street press conference every day since 30 March – that’s seven weeks.
“Yesterday, the government stopped publishing the international comparison and the slide is gone. Why?”
Boris agreed that the numbers of deaths are stark and deeply horrifying. “This has been an appalling epidemic, he said. “As for the international comparisons he seeks to draw now, he will have to contain his impatience.”
Sir Keir said he was “baffled” by Mr Johnson’s dismissal of the need for international Covid-19 death comparisons, given the Government had done so every evening for the past seven weeks.
He continued: “The problem with the Prime Minister’s answer is it’s pretty obvious that for seven weeks when we weren’t the highest number in Europe they were used for comparison purposes, as soon as we hit that unenviable place they’ve been dropped.”
Starmer had more evidence, and it wasn’t from a wire-tap or undercover agent. He quoted the Government itself, which had said on 12 March that it was “unlikely people in a care homes will become infected.” We know now that 40 per cent of all deaths have happened inside care homes.
Next the Labour leader quoted a doctor, who said that elderly people were being shifted back from hospitals to care homes, leading to a huge increase in deaths.
The ONS had calculated that, in a normal April, 8,000 people die in care homes. This April, there were 26,000. We know that 8,000 were from coronavirus, but what about the other 10,000?
Johnson didn’t know. He wished he had paid attention, but he had been sleeping with the fishes – and whoever else. In essence, contrary to his own advice, he hadn’t stayed alert.
Boris has shut the door well after the horse bolted. Starmer might well worry that the nag’s head is going to turn up in his bed.
Through the MP hole
The MPs are really ruining this. Bland suits and blank walls. How many people have plain white walls in their home? They must blu-tack their “Take Me To Your Dealer” and Cypress Hill and magic eye posters back up after it ends.
Quick shout out to Neil Gray, SNP, who appeared to be asking a question while sitting on a Henry Hoover in the smallest room in the entire constituency of Airdrie and Shotts. He should know, as he had a map of the region on the wall virtually touching his head. It was just another case of a Henry interfering in private Scottish matters.