What must it be like to be in the inner circles of this government, watching the economy bounce from crisis to crisis? Shortages mount, while livestock that suddenly cannot be put into the food chain is slaughtered and sent to rendering plants. Ships are diverted from UK ports because no drivers can be found to transport their cargo once it is offloaded. In response to ministers’ threats to suspend the trading arrangements for Northern Ireland – that we are now told the government never believed in to start with – there is reportedly pressure within the EU to begin preparations for a trade war.
The prime minister goes off to Marbella, where he pretends to paint pictures; the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, is said to be pinning his hopes for an easing of the current energy crisis on a “wet, windy and mild” winter. Yet the Conservative party is still ahead in the polls, apparently shored up by the weakness of the Labour party and the clear, optimistic narrative that Boris Johnson has so far managed to project on to events. And I wonder: in cabinet meetings and ministerial get-togethers, do they laugh at the apparent absurdity of it all, or anxiously exchange estimates of when the roof might finally start to fall in?