The dog it was that tried

Buzz! Operation Operation is inoperable

Artillery Row

Boris Johnson is, depending on who you read, pinning his hopes for survival on either “Operation Save Big Dog” or “Operation Red Meat”. But The Critic can reveal that the weekend’s newspapers only scratched the surface. Westminster has more Operations stacked up than Hamleys in the first week of December. As a service to readers, we have launched Operation Operations, an attempt to compile a comprehensive guide to Political Plans That Will Definitely Work.

Operation Save Big Dog

The prime minister’s attempt to rescue his reputation by sacking his entire staff, whom he holds responsible for his behaviour. Three separate versions are being worked up by principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, and director of communications Jack Doyle. Each is working in secret, and each has been assured that he will be allowed to keep his job so long as he provides sufficiently compelling reasons for sacking the other two. 

Operation Red Meat

Phase two of Johnson’s plan to revitalise his premiership involves announcing lots of popular things in the hope that people will be distracted. The prime minister has spent recent days taking soundings from key Tory figures about what the public really wants, resulting in the following list:

  • Peerage for Owen Paterson
  • Larger desk for Michael Gove
  • Statue of Iain Duncan Smith in Parliament Square
  • Royal Navy to turn offshore wind turbines into really big fans that can blow migrant boats back to France
  • Bigger sausage rolls in the MPs’ canteen
  • BBC required by law to make a TV series out of Nadine Dorries’s “Four Streets” saga, starring either Meryl Streep or Kate Winslet
  • Northerners to be allowed one annual trip each to the South, in order to raise their aspirations

Operation Keith

In an effort to discredit the Labour Party and create the impression that all politicians have been breaking lockdown rules, Jack Doyle is placing damaging stories about its senior figures with supportive press. These include a blurry photo that apparently shows Keir Starmer eating an entire sharing pack of Tangfastics on his own, and a rumour that Angela Rayner put her recycling out on the wrong day over Christmas.

Operation Shag Big Dog

A private project being masterminded by the prime minister himself, this one has few specifics, but anyone interested in getting involved should drop him a WhatsApp, or simply pop into his study while other people are busy doing their tremendously important jobs and/or childcare elsewhere. 

Operation Massive Legend 

A mysterious file found in Downing Street describing how Deano and Tinker are going to lead a posse to Tiger’s to get blistered for Jango’s stag. The Metropolitan Police, fearing that this is a coded message describing a future attack on the United Kingdom, have asked GCHQ to urgently assess it. 

The work of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s office, this aims to remind the prime minister that you can’t spell “operation” without “OE”

Operation Big Dog Goes To Live On A Farm

A top secret project that is the subject of intense discussion among a number of members of the Cabinet, at least until the Culture Secretary comes within earshot.

Operation Atlantic Profile 

A Treasury plan to persuade an international magazine to commission an 8,000-word piece about how the world’s smartest countries are choosing to be led by tiny millionaires.

Operation Gardiner

The details of this one are hazy, but sources in MI5 say it’s run from one of the rooms in the Chinese embassy that even their best Chinese-made microphones can’t reach.

Operation Floreat Etona

The work of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s office, this aims to remind the prime minister that you can’t spell “operation” without “OE”.

Operation Volvo 

The codename given by Labour officials to their efforts to remind the country that there’s more to life than being fun and interesting. Privately those involved agree that the current slogan – “Settle For Starmer” – needs work.

Operation Baker’s Dozen 

Coordinated by the government whips office, this will see thirteen troublesome MPs told that they’ve been selected for a secret mission that involves being dropped from a plane over Germany. It is unclear whether they’ll be given parachutes.

Operations Fizz for Liz/Over to Gover/Fun in the Sun-ak/Take a Punt on Hunt

Why don’t you pop in for a drink, no special reason, just a chance to hear your views on how it’s all going and where we should be, oh that’s such an interesting observation, we’ve always felt Boris missed a trick not promoting you, can I top you up?

The Mantwatting Project

More than an operation, this is Dominic Cummings’ year-long masterplan to discredit the prime minister by revealing that all the things he previously denied about him are true. Run from a NASA-style Mission Control that Cummings has built out of cornflake boxes and Lee Kuan Yew biographies in the corner of his bedroom, its main ammunition is screenshots of outrageous messages that Cummings courageously took during his time in Downing Street, heroically saying nothing at all about them until the desire for revenge became overwhelming. An interesting point of overlap between Cummings and Johnson is that both men insist that if they attended something, it stopped being fun and wasn’t a party.

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