The Telegraph have published a fascinating account of how the Conservative gladiator games played out in relation to Boris, but I suspect, from the passing glimpses I saw, it is not entirely true.
What is clear is that there has been a lot of manipulation, a complete disregard for the public, and a lot of lying. David Cameron became paranoid, as all long term leaders do, and started playing games, so what follows is what I suspect really happened:
David Cameron: I don’t like the look of UKIP, they have four million voters. What can we do about it, Giddypants?
George Osborne: I don’t think you have much to worry about, Piggy, they don’t have many MPs.
David Cameron: I think we should have a referendum. The Scots seemed to like it, and it certainly shut them up for a while, didn’t it?
George Osborne: Is that a good idea, piggy?
David Cameron: Yes, of course it is, it will keep us in the news for weeks. Nobody will bother finding out what we are doing as long as they are concentrating on a massive spectacle like a referendum.
George Osborne: What if we don’t win, Piggy?
David Cameron: Of course we’ll win. Who shall we pick to run against? Who can we bury with those annoying kippers?
George Osborne: What about Boris?
David Cameron: Boris! What a good idea, but he likes Europe, how can we get him to do it, Giddypants?
George Osborne: Govey is a friend of his, I shall see if I can get him to swing it for us, Piggy
George Osborne: Govey, I have a job for you, I’ll swing by your place on Thursday and run it by you.
Michael Gove: Super Mr George Sir, I will make poussin au citron, just the way you like it. Should I wear heels?
George Osborne: So, Govey, how would you like a great job in the cabinet?
Michael Gove: Oh not me, sir, I am not equipped. Would you care for some more Claret with your plum pudding?
George Osborne: All you have to do is persuade Boris to lead this pesky Leave campaign. You need to make sure he loses it. I’m sure the fuck-up can manage that all by himself, but you know, help him along a bit. We can get rid of this UKIP rubbish and Boris at the same time. Piggy would be ever so grateful.
Michael Gove: How would I go about that, sir?
George Osborne: You know Boris, all you have to do is persuade him that he is the best man for the job. Flatter him a bit. Give him a nice glass of the good stuff.
Michael Gove: Yes, sir, of course sir. I will report back to you next Thursday.
Michael Gove: Piggy needs a favour. He needs you to head up the Leave campaign in the referendum.
Boris Johnson: What? I can’t do that. Everybody knows I think we should be in Europe.
Michael Gove: He’s picked you to lose it for him. You’re so honoured, I am a tad jealous. He trusts you. I will hang around and give you all the information you need, so all you have to do is make all the speeches sound like a joke.
Boris Johnson: Oh right, so that nobody takes it seriously. That might be fun. I could impersonate Trump, hahahahahahaha. Pass the Port, Govey.
Boris Johnson: Where did they get that 350 million figure on the bus?
Michael Gove: Oh, I think some assistant put it there. Farage mentioned it I think.
Boris Johnson: That figure isn’t right. It’s only 160 million. I can’t say that.
Michael Gove: Does it matter? You’re supposed to lose the referendum anyway.
Boris Johnson: No, I don’t suppose it does. Will everybody hate me for doing this?
Michael Gove: I’m sure you will be fine, Boris, just keep on messing up those speeches.
David Cameron: (by telephone) You utter fucktard, Boris, you were supposed to lose. Get out of bed at once!
Boris Johnson: Piggy? We didn’t win, did we? Dear God, I’m sorry, Piggy.
David Cameron: Now I’ll have to resign. I’ll get you back for this, you mark my words. You never get it right, you utter cockwomble.
Boris Johnson: Shit, maybe I should go away for a few days.
Michael Gove: Well done, Boris. Now you should run for PM.
Boris Johnson: What? I don’t really want to be PM. I can’t afford the pay cut, and the hours are terrible.
Michael Gove: Of course you should run for PM. The people love you. There’s no way they actually had an opinion regardless of what you did or said, they are way too stupid.
Boris Johnson: I don’t want anything more to do with this, Govey.
Michael Gove: I’ll be your campaign manager and make all the calls. Don’t worry about a thing.
Boris Johnson: Oh God, what have I done?
Michael Gove: Everyone says they want me to run, I am so lovely and grey and the public hate me.
Mrs Gove: How about I do a nice leak to the press for you?
Michael Gove: You are the most adorable woman I have ever met, strumpetlips.
Mrs Gove: I know. Fetch the riding crop and my boots.
George Osborne: You are a sharp operator Govey. I like it.
Michael Gove: Thank you sir. May I lick your boots?
George Osborne: You may, and kindly fetch the cane. You deserve a treat.
Remember kids, politics IS a popularity contest. Labour and Conservative have both forgotten. The two most popular politicians of the last four decades are being crucified right in front of us.