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24th May 2019

Choosing the next prime minister based solely on the Game of Thrones ‘story’ method

Kyle Picknell

Theresa May has resigned as prime minister and now we must choose her replacement from a list even more sloppy, underwhelming and disappointing than the final series of Game of Thrones

The next prime minister will (very likely) come from the following list: Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Penny Mordaunt, Sajid Javid.

How, exactly, do you choose between those seven politicians, each as incompetent and unlikable as the last? Well, the truth is, I don’t know. This was, however, essentially the same situation that faced the assembled elite of Westeros when they came together to decide who should rule over the Seven Kingdoms and take an awkward, uncomfortable seat on the melted remnants of the Iron Throne.

There were no suitable candidates. Edmure Tully attempted to seize his moment, and therefore power, but was abruptly told to “sit the fuck down” by his niece Sansa Stark. Samwell Tarly got laughed off the stage for attempting to invent democracy. The rest stayed quiet.

In the end, it was left to Tyrion, the only semi-eloquent person left, even if his logic has long been flawed, to suggest that the crown should be gently placed atop of Bran Stark and Bran Stark’s extremely ‘touring keyboardist in The Pigeon Detectives’ haircut.

Why Bran though?

As Tyrion explains: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

Whilst it’s all very ‘LinkedIn post from a mid-level recruitment consultant, ten likes, one comment’, I have no better way of choosing between the unappetising casserole of nonsense that is the Tory leadership candidates shortlist.

Who, then, has the best story of this bunch?

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Ah! A born-into-wealth, morally repugnant old white man! Now that, that, is a story that I can see uniting the world.

Boris Johnson has had it all to do in his career, overcoming such hardships as prep school, Eton College and the University of Oxford to eventually become what he stands before us as today. A complete and total embarrassment to both himself and this country.

Everyone hated Bran becoming king, but just imagine a world in which Boris Johnson manages to ascend to the role of prime minister despite possessing no actual moral compass, talent, charm or charisma and instead gets there by way of *checks notes* ruffling his hair up and doing his tie a bit wonky and just generally pretending to be some kind of friendly, bumbling fool to disguise the fact that he is, in fact, a malicious, incompetent, bigot? Just imagine. That’s all I’m saying. We’re dangerously close people.

Story rating: 0/10

Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab looks like an estate agent and has the personality of a hologram. Or is it that he looks like a hologram and has the personality of an estate agent? I’m not sure. I think both work, however, and unfortunately he is, therefore, one of the more memorable names on the Tory leadership candidates list. Famously resigned over a Brexit deal he himself negotiated as Brexit secretary.

According to a quick glance at his Wikipedia page, Raab is the son of a Czech-born Jew who moved to Britain in 1938 as a refugee of the Nazis. This should probably mean something in terms of his overall story, but alas, another quick glance at his voting record – against welfare, the EU and immigration, for military intervention, mass surveillance and nuclear weapons – suggest that it probably means absolutely fuck all.

He gets a point for simply ‘not being Boris Johnson’.

Story rating: 1/10

Jeremy Hunt

You can sense a pattern forming, here, as yet another unremarkable, ethically questionable white man steps forward for the top job in the entire country.

He’s another Oxford graduate, this time descended from a guy who pioneered the East Indian Trading Company and very vaguely related to the actual Queen, Hunt’s story is as dull as the man himself.

Most notable now for the junior doctors’ strikes in 2016, his tax affairs, expenses claims and reportedly asking a Female Genital Mutilation campaigner if ‘she could still have orgasms’.

Another 1, I’m afraid, for this unfortunately named, incredibly-fortunate-to-even-fucking-be-in-the-running man.

Story rating: 1/10

Andrea Leadsom

Finally some variation! Albeit not much for this former banking director who loves fox hunting, not publishing her tax returns and saying very, very questionable things about everything from abortion to climate change.

Good aspects of Leadsom’s story:

  • Is a woman
  • Didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge

Bad aspects of Leadsom’s story:

  • Literally everything else about her

Story rating: 2/10

Michael Gove

Do you ever look at Michael Gove, with his face like a ventriloquist’s puppet, and just think: “What are you?”

Is Michael Gove a real-life human man, or is he, in fact, a distant genetic relative of the stoat or weasel or gerbil or something who happens to look sort of, kind of, a bit similar to a cartoon drawing of a human male if you shave all its hair off and dress it in a suit? These are the questions you need to ask yourself before we continue.

As far as his story goes – adopted and raised by Labour family in Aberdeen, became a massive, awful Tory as soon as he got to Oxford – there isn’t much to be said.

His political career is also much of the same: private email accounts, more expense claims, repeated celebration of the Iraq War, a joke that appeared to trivialise sexual assault and an astoundingly consistent commitment to ‘just being a big fucking prat all of the time’.

He did, however, also hilariously undermine Boris Johnson’s campaign for PM after publicly supporting him before deciding to sack that off and run himself, having previously stated he had no desire to put himself forward. We must give him some small credit for that.

Story rating: 3/10

Penelope Mordaunt

Now time for Penny Mordaunt, a woman so Brexit she is literally named after a former Royal Navy battle cruiser.

The good:

  • An actual fairly difficult upbringing with both her parents getting cancer whilst she was a teenager
  • Became a magician’s assistant to pay for her university degree
  • First in her family to go to university
  • Spent her gap year volunteering in Russian hospitals and orphanages
  • Again, didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge
  • Again, is a woman

The bad:

Less than ideal for sure, but a far better story than most on this list.

Story rating: 5/10

Sajid Javid

We cannot, collectively, as a nation, allow a man that has given himself a nickname, become prime minister. We especially cannot allow it when said nickname is just an abbreviation of his first name, prefixed by ‘The’. I cannot stress this enough, The Saj can never, ever be allowed to run this country just on that basis and that basis alone. Imagine calling yourself ‘The Dan’, or ‘The Chris’, or ‘The Ben’. Imagine giving yourself a nickname and it being that fucking bad.

The rest of his story is therefore rendered irrelevant. But just in case you needed reminding: son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, went to a state comprehensive school, went to the University of Exeter and became a huge Tory, because that is seemingly as much a part of the University of Exeter experience as earning a degree is, before a New York banking job and then a seven-figure salary as director of Deutsche Bank.

After humble beginnings, is The Saj now a terrible person? To be honest that’s not really for me to say.

But yes, quite clearly he is. Quite clearly he is awful. Like definitely he is.

Story rating: -10/10

So who should be prime minister?

On the basis of this article, Penny Mordaunt. But also on the basis of this article, absolutely none of them. Not a single one of them. Thank you for your time.