Content Warning: the Conservative Party.
So BoJo’s resigned and the diverse membership of the Conservative party must now select a new breed of leader. But why make it a boring leadership election? It hasn’t worked the last couple of times. Instead, Sir Graham and the 1922 Brady Bunch have decided to drop the current Cabinet of fruitcakes and loonies onto a remote island in the Korean Peninsula and watch them duke it out for the crown. Ladies and gents, welcome to the Calamitous Conservative Party Calamari Competition, as the Tories take on Squid Game…
The first challenge of Red Light, Green Light proves difficult for some. Michael Gove and Sajid Javid attempt immediate beelines for top position ahead of Johnson et al., but both are just a little too slow off the starting blocks. With a small stumble, their ambitions are laid to rest.
A test of laser sharp precision is the second challenge, in which ministers have to cut shapes in a honeycomb with a tiny needle. Liz Truss is executed after declaring her honeycomb ‘a fantastic trade deal for squares everywhere’. She had etched a circle. Meanwhile Alok Sharma uses his COP26 tears to make the honeycomb easier to cut. He claims he’s ‘deeply sorry’ as he sees Eustice and Shapps given a one-stop, one-shot ticket to the afterlife (which still costs £350. Each).
Rishi seems strong going into the third game following a honeycomb honeymoon which he sailed through. But fame is a fickle food to eat out with, and the Chancellor is shocked to find he had no support for the Tug of War. Alone and isolated amongst his peers, the former frontrunner plummets to his death – much like his poll numbers. Similarly Therese Coffey has no one to snog under the mistletoe, and is swiftly dispatched from platform to floor by a universally credited – and shirtless – team of Raab and Wallace. Floccipended by the other ministers Rees-Mogg is forced to take himself, his six children, and his hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianism to an early grave. All that remains is a calling card left on his desk. ‘Wish you were here’, it says.
In the fourth game marbles are stolen, friendships shattered, ministers murdered. Wallace and Zahawi play by the rules, with the Defence Secretary winning swiftly, competently, and fairly. Meanwhile Alok Sharma’s pact with his BEIS Secretary successor Kwasi Kwarteng goes up in flames. An unprecedented agenda calls for unprecedented measures, and so with a masterful display of crocodile tears Sharma stole his friend’s marbles to ensure success. Dorries and Trevelyan partner up as ‘the girls’ before it becomes apparent the Culture Sec has no idea what ‘Squid Game’ is; ‘we should be investing in proper English media, like Game of Thrones and reruns of Friends’. “You know nothing”, says Jon Snow, the guard who channels four bullets into her head. The International Trade Sec wins by default. And, in a shock turn of events, the Prime Minister is himself taken out by his Deputy. Muttering something about ‘Lord Elgin’, Raab refuses to give Boris his lost marbles back.
The glass hopscotch game sorts the imported wheat from the exported chaff, as Anne-Marie Trevelyan makes a trade deal with death when she drops through the first pane. The remaining four intrepid ministers – Patel, Sharma, Raab, and Wallace – look at each other, clueless. After all, Patel only made it through the marbles because no one wanted to partner up with her. But quick as a flash the Home Secretary takes back control of the game, and swiftly pushes Indian-born Alok Sharma over the border of the seventh glass pane and onto the ground; the COP26 frontrunner’s O₂ emissions are finally reduced to zero. Claiming asylum on the other side of the glass panes, Priti Patel is the first finalist, with Wallace and Raab left to duke it out. But the ‘full Tonto’ is no match for a black belt in karate, and with a spinning roundhouse kick the Defence Secretary is dispatched just as Mr Raab had done with Afghanistan: fallen, and a complete bloody mess.
And so Priti Patel faces Dominic Raab in the final game, for guts and for glory. Neither Home Sec nor Deputy PM knows how to play a ‘Squid Game’, but at least the latter has tried calamari in his leafy home constituency. The Witham Witch appears to have no chance in the ring against the third-dan black belt. But Priti needs no physical weapon, and Dom Raab simply doesn’t see it coming. With a vicious campaign of bullying Patel nobbles Raab’s willpower into the ground, and the ex-Foreign Secretary becomes an ex-contender to the crown. Having tapped out, Raab is not capitally punished but deported by the new winner, free to enjoy paddleboarding on beaches for ever more.
Not the most likely of victors, sure; but the Home Secretary is conniving, sneaky, and ruthless. While your Wallaces and Raabs fight for primacy, Priti doesn’t play by the rules. She didn’t when she went to Israel in 2018, and she certainly wouldn’t while marooned on a tiny island off the coast of South Korea. Long may she reign for, while many ministers have fallen, it is ultimately Priti Patel who is victorious in this cephalopodan struggle.
Image Description: the Squid Game Red Light Green Light girl, with Theresa May’s face superimposed on it. It’s cursed.