I refer, of course, to the Rt. Honourable Philip Hammond MP, currently pretending to be Her Majesty's Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Well, he might have that as a working title but he's no more in charge of our nation's financial affairs than I am! His total train crash of a budget has only been 'rescued' by slicing off the engine that produced the crash, that was the decision to break a Tory party vow not to raise National Insurance rates on the Self-Employed. It might have been a Cameron/Osborne promise from yesteryear but a promise is a promise, maybe not to politicians, but certainly to all those irritating people who, dammit, have votes and long memories!
Of course, little Georgie Osborne, a previous Chancellor, had similar problems - who will ever forget his "Omni-shambles budget"? - but at the time his 'new best friend' was Prime Minister, and George himself was young, good-looking with a cheeky-chappie smile and the sort of charm you get from a public school and Oxford education. Poor old Phil is an Essex boy who 'made good', and made good money, but lacks charisma, perhaps partly because I doubt he could spell the word!
Even so, when the 'brown stuff' hits the fan in politics everyone ends up picking bits of it off their suits, or in Mrs. May's case, her dress and carefully-coiffed hair-do. She will not have been amused! As a regular church-goer, she will have thanked God with trembling sincerity that He arranged to provide her with the dimmest, dumbest Leader of the Opposition since - well - since forever, I think. At today's Question Time, 'Jezza' was totally and hopelessly useless. My weapon training sergeant used to tell me that I would have great difficulty hitting a barn - even if I was inside it. 'Jezza' wouldn't hit it if he leaned the muzzle against the wall!
However, this whole farrago has serious implications. Yes, it was mainly Hammond's responsibility but Mrs. May cannot dodge hers. A PM and a Chancellor should work together in forming a new budget. And what were all those allegedly 'smart Alecs', whose well-tailored suits polish the chairs in the Treasury and inside No. 10, doing and saying when this total cock-up was in the design stage? Within an hour of the budget statement being delivered just about every Tory MP knew it was an 'A1 blx' of the first order.
These are the same people who will be guiding our 'negotiations' with the European hierarchy prior to Brexit. Why do I suddenly feel queasy?