Edward Gibbon on Boris Johnson’s Conference Speech

As the kingdom reeled under a two-fold burden of disease and privation, the Prime Minister and his cohorts foregathered in Manchester for a round of feasting and declamation. On the final day, when his Jamodars had spoken and the bacchanalia were for an interlude suspended, the Prime Minister himself rose to speak. Whereas his opponent Mr Starmer had elsewhere in Albion rowed with the weighty oars of sweet reason and cautious speculation, the Prime Minister plied the craft of discourse with the bright sails of levity and fable, the former to sustain the adulation of the mob, the latter to draw the veil of deceit over his iniquities. As to his trusted Minister Mr Gove discovered a-capering in a tavern, he said it was done to encourage timid folk to go forth, for the ravages of pestilence were now all but abated. As to his own near fatal distemper, he said lightly that the angels of providence had timely plucked him from the jaws of Hades. As to the Tartarean suffering endured by millions in the kingdom, in flames kindled at his own harsh bidding, in furnaces stoked by his own merciless Jamodars, he said nothing. His oration concluded, it was met with a hoarse cadence of rapturous applause, as when Mammon harangued the assembled Pandaemonium. Throughout the kingdom, the trusting mob read his oratory in hastily printed broadsheets, and such as were barely lettered rejoiced, when they saw its essence cunningly graved in lurid pamphlets.

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