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The get-Carrie campaign forgets that it’s Boris Johnson who’s in charge

Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd
04 February 2022

henever I’m forced to watch Shakespeare I’ll always root for the woman no matter how loathsome she’s supposed to be. Lord help me, but I love an untamed shrew. So though I know this opinion to be wrong, I’m glad Carrie Johnson survived the week. It seems the Prime Minister considers the two of them to be starring in a contemporary remake of Othello in which he plays the hero (obviously) to Dominic Cummings’ Iago. So, if I remember the plot right, she should have been figuratively strangled by now.

But no, she tore up the Desdemona script and washed her hands like Lady Macbeth — no doubt while singing Happy Birthday and thinking of cake.

The coverage of Carrie in recent times has been so condemnatory it seems tempting to blame it on old-fashioned sexism — but that would be naive. She’s an active player at No 10, not a passive, Fifties-style housewife. She is seen as culpable as any aide in the culture of lockdown breaking in Downing Street and responsible not only for dogs being airlifted out of Afghanistan but the Prime Minister’s much-derided eco-agenda. Moreover, it seems she had words with Munira Mirza, the PM’s adviser, after she stepped down yesterday.

I can’t say I admire how she came to power exactly — marrying the PM seems unnecessary when you can get elected to office. But I have to admire her for one thing, which is the cause of her present predicament: getting rid of Dominic Cummings. Only women can stand up to him; exhibit A being the lady with the spider brooch who wouldn’t stand for his proroguing Parliament.

We do live in a democracy, much as Cummings doesn’t seem to like it, and Carrie Johnson (formerly director of communications for the Conservative Party) felt her husband’s unelected adviser was so unpopular with the British public that it was damaging trust in his Government.

Perhaps, you could argue, Carrie should now be telling her husband to step down for the same reasons. But I can’t be the only one who fears Boris’s replacement would re-hire Dominic Cummings to win the next election. Since I am not a Tory and have zero investment in their prospects, I confess I trust her more than I trust him. No one attributed the Iraq War to Cherie Blair, the bank bailout to Sarah Brown or the miners’ strike to Denis Thatcher, so it seems ridiculous to blame her for all her husband’s failings, lockdown parties included.

She is not only not the PM — he is — she has a one-year-old son and a newborn baby to look after, which must take up most of her attention. And if she did pop the champagne corks and blast out ABBA the day Dom departed, I don’t understand why he blames her considering they hate each other. No doubt he’ll do the same when she and Boris are booted out.

Pre-pandemic, I was not a fan of Boris and uninterested in Carrie but if she preserves the public from being subjected to yet another of Dominic Cummings’ campaigns, I’m afraid I’m all for her. Screw your courage to the sticking place, girlfriend.

Male lingerie and the right to wear uncomfortable undergarments

February 14 is the day for unwrapping mysterious packages but Rihanna has a big surprise for us all this Valentine’s Day: male lingerie. Strip down your man and you may find far more than a pair of boxers awaits you — he could be wearing a Savage Fenty red mesh crop top, cut to above-pec level, which has sold out in all sizes…

The men must be super excited about this situation; finally they have won the right to wear uncomfortable undergarments. But it reminds me of a Muriel Spark novel. “If we don’t look lively,” a female character in The Driver’s Seat observed, “they will be taking over the homes and the children, and sitting about having chats while we go and fight to defend them and work to keep them.

They won’t be content with equal rights only. Next thing they’ll want the upper hand, mark my words.”