David Cameron was the 19th old-Etonian to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Boris Johnson the twentieth - the Eton tie that hangs between them must seem increasingly like a noose to our mate Dave, who has never looked completely slippery enough to slide out of the growing Greensill scandal.
Boris is well-known for buses; there was the one famously adorned with huge lies about the amount the NHS would receive once we parted company with the EU, and now there is the one that he has thrown his old-school mate under. Downing Street announced this week that Nigel Boardman, a former senior partner at the law firm Slaughter & May, will lead an independent review of the way representations were made to the Government by Greensill Capital and the former prime minister, and how contracts were awarded. Boris has said that Nigel can ask any questions he wants of anyone and Nigel, being a former Magic Circle lawyer, will have any number of them.
BJ called the information we need, "supply chain finance stuff", but it goes deeper than that. Even the squeaky clean 00 Sunak has been drawn into the headlines on this one. It seems the more dodgy invoices Grant Thornton uncover, the more questions get added to Nigel Boardman's list. He is absolutely not an ex-Etonian, he went to Ampleforth, the strict Catholic boarding school in Yorkshire and emerged to be called 'self-contained' and 'enigmatic', two epithets which will never be applied to our current Prime Minister.
You will know this already, but Billy had to look it up in the NTI newsroom's dictionary; 'supply chain financing' involves a lender offering to pay a supplier rapidly on behalf of a buyer, from whom it later collects the sum owed plus a fee. The challenge is that such invoices really need to exist and to be reasonably accurate in order to make it work.
Our mate slippery Dave started to work for Lex Greensill in 2018, just two years after he ceased being premier of the UK. Working for a person who sounds like a Batman villain isn't that different from facing Ed Milliband across the dispatch box, except that one of the two can eat a sandwich with dignity. In March the NTI newsroom reported that Dave had directly lobbied Rishi Sunak to include Greensill in the Government’s Covid-19 loan scheme. Do you recall when Cameron said that the next big Commons' scandal would be one about lobbying? Does it count when you make your own predictions come true?
Anneliese Dodds took two nursery school kids off her knee, so angry was she about the whole business, and was granted an urgent question about Greensill. However, her opposite number, none other than our own dear Rishi, was absent from the Commons on urgent 'not-being-in-the-Commons' business and Government sources said that the question of why Greensill was chosen as a lender by the British Business Bank was one for the business department. Anneliese shook her mane of hair in fury, and three Lego bricks fell out.
BJ has turned down Labour insistence for an independent enquiry into the whole messy matter, using Nigel Boardman as a human shield. The main opposition party know that to cry "anti-sleaze" grabs the attention of the red-tops and when you add a current toff and former Prime Minister into the mix, especially one who admits that he didn't act in the spirit of the rules he helped to make, you have a story ...
... that will run and run.