Culture secretary Nadine Dorries, the most ardent of Boris Johnson stans, obligingly threw the deadest of cats on to the table at the weekend to distract from the woes of her beleaguered boss. She announced a two-year freeze on the BBC licence fee and dangled the prospect of scrapping it entirely.
Dorries must be well aware that any threat to the BBC always results in a Furies’ chorus of anger, horror and prophecies of woe, coming from precisely those people the Tory grassroots are likely to detest. And up they obligingly popped – Polly Toynbee, Nish Kumar, Gary Lineker, all present and correct. This wasn’t so much political theatre as a pantomime with stock phrases and responses. She’s behind you!