This week, Diabolic Cummings released WhatsApp messages in which Boris Johnson had denounced Matt Hancock as ‘hopeless’.
For his part, Hancock had then responded to a press question of, ‘are you hopeless?’ with a, ‘I don’t think so’.
He didn’t sound too convinced either way.
Poor old door matt – however, the way he’s survived might suggest his true moniker might could even be kompromatt.
In all likelihood, though, Hancock doesn’t really need to have something on his boss. He’s worth his weight in gold to the charlatan crusade.
He’s emerged from the COVID catastrophe as the go-to crack-oversmoother for the whatever matter needs a swift hand-off. If a probing question requires a non-answer, out he is wheeled for a touch of Matt gloss.
He is the Cabinet’s Jeffrey Fairbrother.
But duffer that he may well be, it is a sign of the times that even the most egregious dropped balls are navigated with impunity by the lurking, smirking jerk. So why not leave him where he is to play his part and draw some of the fire?
To understand the Hancock survival story better, we need only squint at the Chesham and Amersham by-election. This week’s Liberal Democrat seat steal might have seemingly rocked politics, but the real story was Labour’s 622 votes.
Yep, just the 622. And the ignominy of a lost deposit and the worst Labour election result ever.
That’s not merely tactical voting by a percentage of Labour voters seeking to tip the balance and unseat the Tory. This was a dissatisfied electorate who did not see Labour as a remotely viable alternative proposition.
The fact that the Liberal Democrats, who have redefined hopeless as an art form, were preferable to local voters – well, that tells us most about where we are.
Hopeless now appears to be the only hope.